Posted with Permission of gendisasters.com
December 12, 1883The Windsor Theatre, In New York, Burned New York, November 29. -- A fire broke out in the Windsor theatre shortly before 12 o'clock tonight. The flames spread radidly, in a few minutes after the alarm was sounded the whole structure was in a mass of flames. All efforts of the fire department were unavailing to check the conflagration and the building was totally destroyed. The flames communicated with several adjoining buildings. The fire originated between the first floor and basement, under the main stairway, and was discovered by the policeman at that post. Besides the theatre, the building contained two small hotels kept by HARTMAN and LOEHL, and were situated on either side of the main entrance of the theatre. There were forty guests in HARMAN'S and a smaller number in LOEHL'S, all of whom escaped without difficulty. No one was in the theatre at the time, the performance having closed at 10:45, nor were there any remaining at the Thalia theatre, situated directly opposite the Windsor on the Bowery. The whole fire department in the district was summoned by a general alarm, but the efforts of the firemen at first were greatly impeded by the peculiar structure of the building and the elevated railroad. THe fire had gained such headway by this time that it was useless to attempt to save the building and they turned their attention to the surrounding houses in the rear, on Christie street, are threatened. Every effort will be made to save them, but the close proximity to the theatre rendered this doubtful. The theatre building was owned by W. A. MARTIN, and was valued at $300,000. Insurance unknown. The theatre was leased two years ago by J. A. STEVENS and FRANK B. MURTHA, and at the present time the play "My Partifer" was running there. Previous to this it was known for many years as the Stadt Theatre, and had the largest seating capacity, of any theatre in the city -- 3,100. The theatre was a popular place of amusement among the poorer classed on the eastern side of the city. It was frequently crowded to repletion. The main exit was not good, and if a fire occurred during a performance the loss of life must have been appaling. It had been erected about eighteen years, was lightly constructed and not considered safe by the fire or police department.
At a late hour it was reported that the fire was still raging with unabated fury, and that in all probability the whole block would be destroyed.
Independent Helena Montana 1883-12-01