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Historic building in flames | Turning Back the Pages

One Hundred Years Ago May, 1914

Historic building in flames

Aiden Lair Lodge, Michael F. Cronin’s famous resort for sportsmen, located near Hewitt Lake, midway between Minerva and Newcomb, was destroyed by fire Saturday afternoon, May 16, 1914. The loss is estimated at $12,000 with an insurance of only $4,000. Nothing was saved from the building and a large quantity of new furniture valued at $1,000 which had just been received and was lying unpacked on the veranda was also destroyed.

Mr. Cronin suffered a nervous breakdown several weeks ago and his mind became so seriously affected that he was committed to the state hospital for the insane at Ogdensburg. He is reported to be in a hopeless condition and is said to be failing so rapidly that his death is expected soon.

After her husband’s departure, Mrs. Cronin assumed the management of the hotel and conducted it successfully with the assistance of her son, Arthur and maiden daughter, Rose. On Saturday, she had ten guests but all were away fishing at the time of the fire, which was discovered about 2 o’clock by the small children of the family who were playing in the yard. They saw smoke issuing from the roof and ran into the house and told their mother. She ran up the stairs and found the second and third floors of the building in flames. Through the suffocating smoke she managed to reach the telephone and summon help from Minerva, seven miles away. An auto truck carrying fifty men started as soon as possible for that place but when they arrived the hotel was doomed and all they could do was protect the nearby buildings. A large ice house had caught fire before their arrival and was also totally destroyed.

The fire is believed to have started from an overheated stove in the barroom. It had gained considerable headway when discovered and the heat quickly became so intense that it was impossible to approach the building to save any of its contents. The trunks and clothing of the guests were destroyed in their rooms.

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