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Old Kenyon dormitory fire of 1949...

Item # 569761

February 28, 1949

THE DETROIT FREE PRESS, Michigan, February 28, 1949

* Detroit, Michigan 
* Dorm Fire

This 26 page newspaper has a nice banner headline on the front page: "COLLEGE DORM BURNS; 2 DIE" with subheads and photo of the building on fire. (see)

Tells of the 'Old Kenyon' dormitory fire at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. This site is famous for many ghost sightings of the students killed in the fire.

Other news of the day throughout. Some small binding holes along the spine with a small library stamp near the top, otherwise in good condition. Nice for display !

wikipedia notes: On Sunday, February 27, 1949, Old Kenyon dormitory was destroyed in a blaze that took the lives of nine Kenyon undergraduates. All that was left of the building after the fire was its stone outer shell.

There was a persistent legend about the fireplaces in Old Kenyon: everyone knew about them, but no one knew where they were. They were hidden from sight until Sunday, February 27, 1949. There were four chimneys that rose from the center of Middle Kenyon that had long been out of use--except for the one flue which was connected to the relatively new fireplace in the old Middle Kenyon Parlor.

On Saturday, February 26 the men of Middle Kenyon had a small fire going in that fireplace. By 9PM it had burned down to embers--some waste paper was burned in a quick flame that subsided. At about 10PM the students began going to bed. Some came in later, returning from the Sophomore Dance in Rosse Hall Annex, and brought their dates with them. By 2:30AM the girls and their dates had left the parlor and headed to their rooms.

Watchman Emerson Billman went into the east door of Middle Kenyon, saw a few students sitting in the west parlor, and went up to the third floor. He punched his time clock at 3:35AM. He continued to the basement and to his next station in the West Wing where he punched in at 3:40AM. The last four students who were still up left the parlor at 3:45AM and went up through the third floor hall. By 4:00AM everyone in Middle Kenyon was in bed. Billman continued his rounds through Hanna Hall and Mather Hall. He punched his clock in Mather Hall at 4:10AM, came out on Middle Path, and looked back toward Old Kenyon: the center hallway, second and third floors, was in flames.

Category: The 20th Century