Disastrous fire — burning of the Richmond Theatre.
-- Yesterday morning, at quarter before 4 o'clock, some person passing the Richmond Theatre
, on the corner of Seventh and Broad streets, saw flames issuing from that building and gave the alarm of fire.
In a very short time the whole structure was enveloped in a sheet of flame, and when the engines arrived upon the ground it was found impossible to do much else than endeavor to save the adjoining property.
The fire speedily communicated to the block of buildings on the east, the first of which, occupied by David A. Brown
, saddler and harness maker, and by Mrs. Jackson
, mantua maker, was entirely destroyed; Wm. H. Davidson's Hotel, the next tenement, was partially burnt, and the clothing store of N. W. Nelson
, adjoining, somewhat damaged.
The roof of the brick building on Grace street, below 7th, owned by Dr. C. Thomas
, and occupied by Thomas Lawson
and John M. Lindsay
, took fire, and the furniture was moved out. No great damages was done here, except by water, and breakage.
, who was sick in his house, was removed to the residence of Dr. Bolton
; in the neighborhood.
The rear wall of the theatre fell and crushed two small frame buildings, owned by Green
, one of which was occupied by Wm. Wildt
, manufacturer of military buttons
, and the other, we believe, as a paint shop.
This property was not very valuable.
Mr. J. H. Hewitt
, and Mr. R. Ogden
, one of the actors, were asleep in the office on the second floor, front, of the theatre, when the fire broke out, and did not awake until it was close upon them.
They rushed down stairs with such clothing as they could hastily secure, but returned again to save a sum of money (about $300) which Mr. Hewitt
had locked up in an escritoire.
They could not accomplish this, however, and had a narrow escape themselves through the flames, both having their hair singed, and Mr. H. being severely burnt on the face and hands.
The escritoire was afterwards taken out through the window, which was reached by means of a ladder, and was about the only article saved from the building.
The theatre was undoubtedly set fire to on the stage, and perhaps in several places at the same time — at least this is a reasonable inference from the rapidity with which it was consumed.
There were no fires made in the stoves on the previous night.
It is true there were some discharges of musketry in one of the plays, (the Leg Fort
,) but Mr. Dalton
, the stage manager, remained in the green-room for an hour and a half after the performance closed, and had there been any fire resulting from that cause, it would have developed itself before he left.
While the theatre was burning, one of the members of the orchestra went into the alley below the theatre, with a view to saving some of the musical instruments
, and found a window open, which, we are assured, was closed the night previous.
It is stated that a negro man was seen to jump out of a window into this alley, but no effort was made to detain him. At 3 o'clock Mr. Crone
, of the night watch
, passed the building and found everything quiet, and nothing to indicate the approach of disaster.
In less than an hour from that time it was in flames, lighted, we doubt not, by the torch of an incendiary.
The theatre is a complete wreck — nothing left but a portion of the walls.
All the valuable scenery, painted by the elder Grain, Getz
, and Italian
artists employed by George Jones
; all the wardrobe and ‘"property,"’ including some costly furniture and decorations; rich oil paintings and steel portraits of celebrated dramatists; manuscript plays, operas, and oratorios, all are involved in the common destruction.
Miss Jennie Taylor
, the custodian of the wardrobe, lost about $1,200 worth individually, while the whole stock wardrobe under her care, part of which belonged to Kunkel & Moxley
; and part to Mrs. McGill
, was probably worth from $1,000 to $5,000. Some members of the company lost quite heavily--Messrs. Ogden
several hundred dollars worth in books and wardrobe.
, leader, and others, of the orchestra, lost between $300 and $400 in instruments and sheet music.
The instruments destroyed were one bass viol, three violins, two French horns, and two drums.--Thos Halstead
, machinist, (now in service at Gloucester Point
,) and Frank Ellers
, stage carpenter, each lose $300 to $400 in tools, &c.
Mrs. Elizabeth McGill
, the last owner, purchased the theatre in May, 1855, for $25,000, when property, particularly of that description, would not command its value at public sale.
Since that period, many costly improvements have been made upon it, and we suppose that $50,000 would not more than make good her loss.
Her insurance is $25,000; divided among five offices, as follows: Albemarle
, $5,000; Jefferson
, $5,000; Lynchburg Hose Company, $5,000; Merchants; $4,000; Richmond Fire Association, $6,000.
The theatre was built in 1818 or '19, by Major Christopher Tompkins
, for a joint stock company, under whose control it remained until 1838, when it was purchased by Col. S. S. Myers
It was known, until recently, as the ‘"Marshall Theatre."’ The season lately inaugurated bid fair to be the most profitable in its history, but its cancer has been suddenly brought to a disastrous termination.
We learn, however, that it is the purpose of the owner to rebuild, as soon as circumstances will allow.
The building occupied by Mr. Brown
, on the east, was owned by Mrs. James Rawlings
The loss is about $5,000, probably insured.
, we are informed, saved the larger portion of his stock Mrs. Jackson
's loss may be $300.
J. M. Lyneman
, the owner of the building occupied by W. H. Davidson
, is insured for $4,000 in the Mutual office
, which will probably cover his loss.
loses about $2,000, on which there is a small insurance.
N. W. Nelson's house is insured for $6,000 in the Mutual, and his stock for $5,000 each in the Marine
He loses but little from fire or water, though in moving, a good many articles were stolen.
The kitchen, worth about $250, was burnt.
His loss may be set down at $750.
Bitzer & Hanser
, and other occupants of tenements on 7th street, suffered some damage by the removal of their stock and furniture.
The only lives lost by the conflagration were three dogs, tied in the yard in the rear of Brown
A vast number of persons assembled yesterday to view the ruins, and except in a few uncharitable instances, there was a general expression of regret at the loss of that ‘"popular institution,"’ the theatre.