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Los Angeles herald. [volume] (Los Angeles [Calif.]) 1890-1893, February 08, 1892, Image 1

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VOL. 37.—N0. HO
Details of the New York
The Hotel Royal Burned to
the Ground.
No Time for the Guests to Make
Their Escape.
Some Leaped From Windows
and Were Dashed to Pieces.
Five Dead Bodies Recovered- Many
Others Buried iii the Rains.
A Hundred at the Inmates Unaccounted
For—Thrilling; Experiences and Hair
breadth Escapes — The Financial
l.i>«B a Quarter of a Million.
Associated Press Dispatches.
New York, Feb. 7.—A disaster, ap
palling in horror, bringing to mind the
terrible occurrence in Park Place, still
fresh in the public mind, occurred in
this city early this morning. The Hotel
Royal, that well-known land-mark which
had stood for more than a quarter of a
century at the southeast corner of Sixth
avenue and Fortieth street, was burned
to the ground arid a large number at
people burned, suffocated and crushed
in the ruins.
At the time of the disaster there were
nearly 150 guests in the house. The
hotel employees, all told, numbered
fifty-five. Of this number of people five
have thus far been found dead, sir are
in the hospital and sixty-three have
been reported alive. One hundred are
still missing. The number of dead will
probably not exceed thirty.
The scenes were heartrending and ap
palled even the firemen and policemen,
who are used to terrible sights.
Soon after the fire broke out ambu
lances arrived from various hospitals.
Many physicians whose residences were
in the neighborhood were quickly on the
scene and did all they could to relieve
the injured.
Nearly every one of the 124 rooms
which the hotel had on its five floors
' was occupied last night by guests, many
of them transient. In fact, all the rooms,
save four, had been taken at 1 o'clock
this morning, when Richard Meareß, the
proprietor, went to bed.
When the flames burst forth from
some unknown origin near the elevator
shaft the entire building was instantly
ihvelpped in flames.
Tbre dead, missing and injured are re
ported as follows:
An unknown woman, 40 years old ;
fractured Bkull and burned about the
An unknown woman, about 28, good
lookiug, light complexion, abundance
of jewelry.
An unknown man, about 35 years old,
dark brown hair; jumped from window,
head smashed in pieces.
An unknown man, good looking,
about 42 years old, evidently a Hebrew.
Henry C. Levy of New York.
Clarence VV. Kern, 39 years old, law
yer, Hazleton, Pa.
Walter L. Yates, CO years old, cloth
ier, Philadelphia.
Mrs. Isabella Meares, wife of the pro
Herbert Harding, engineer of the ho
tel ; fatally burned while trying to res
cue a woman.
William.E. Armstrong.
Thomas Kennedy.
Charles Cloße.
W. G. Buchanan, C. S. Soney, Rupert
Lamont, C. Kramea.E.B. Reynolds and
wife, C. C. Cockburh, O. Sepler, C.
White, E. G. Harding, W. H. Scott and
wife, Langdon Smith, G. S. McGee,
James E. Corey, Mrs. J. Titus, Mrs. S.
Krap of Chicago. All of these escaped
from the burning building and were
taken to the Gedney house.
P. Taylor, H. P.Tompkins and W. C.
Pearce w*ere rescued and taken to the
Hotel Metropole.
At 3.05 o'clock Mrs. Isabella Meares,
wife of the proprietor of the hote"l,
awakened her husband, telling him the
house was on lire. She heard the
crackling of the flames and saw smoke
coming through the crevices of the
bedroom door. Meares had only re
tired at 1 o'clock and was awakened
with difficulty. He sprang out of bed
and ran iuto the hallway. Volumes of
smoke filled the halls and flames wero
making their way rapidly up the ele
vator shaft. Their apartments were on
the third floor and forty feet from the
stairway. One glance at the situation
was enough to tell him all. He ran
back to his wife's room and shouted:
"Now you follow me;" snatched up a
coat and again ran into the hallway.
He fought his way straight to
the staircase, supposing his wifo close
behind him. The passageway was
choked with dense smoke, which almost
strangled him. Then, throwing his
overeat over his head to prevent hie
suffocation, bent his head low and
groped his way to the balusters, on
which he placed his left hand. Flames
were shooting up from below. His
hand, which was on the railing, waß
burned and his hair singed. His situa
tion was perilous. To run down stairs
for two flights meant death, and so he,
swinging himself over the hand-rail,
dropped twenty feet to the ground floor.
He landed on his feet without a broken
bone, and made his way to the street.
Meares was among the first to leave
the burning building, and when he
made his exit not a fire engine had ar
rived. But even in those few minutes
the flames had gotten a grip on the
fated structure and flames were shooting
from all the windows of the upper
When Mearea reached safety in the
street, then he realized that his wife
was not with him. At that moment a
hook and ladder company arrived. A
ladder was quickly placed in position to
the window which he said was of his
wife's room. Up the ladder Policeman
Merritt ran. The window selected was
not the right room. In it was an un
known woman, who quickly stepped
onto the ladder and was carried down
in safety.
Then the ladder was placed against
the window of Mrs. Meares's room. A
young man ran nimbly up to the
woman, who had already stepped upon
the ladder. Meares ran up the ladder
too, and stopped off to the roof of the
veranda, over the entrance to the office,
to steady his wife when she came down.
She was very nervous, and in making
the descent slipped, fell to the sidewalk,
and was picked up with a sprained ankle
and several bruises.
In the meantime Policeman Gallagher
rang an alarm, which was followed by
two calls for an ambulance.
The scenes at the fire before the fire
companies arrived were heartrending.
One man, name not known, sprang
from a third-story window and was
dashed to death on the ground below.
People turned their faces away, horri
fied at the sight. This was on the Sixth
avenue side of the building. A mo
ment later another man leaped from a
window on the Fortieth-street side and
was instantly killed. Shortly afterward
two women leaped from windows on
Sixth avenue, and were dead when
picked up. Their bodies were taken to
the Thirtieth-street station house, and
afterwards, unidentified, removed to
the morgue.
At that hour the known dead num
bered four. Several others dropped
from windows or slid down ropes, with
which every room in the hotel waß pro
vided, and escaped severe burns, while
many more weie injured in going down
the fire escapes, and were in the hands
of the ambulance surgeons from the
Bellevue and New York hospitals. The
surgeons had their hands full in taking
care of the injured and maimed.
All this time the fire was raging
fiercely, and it was evident that the
building was doomed. The structure
burned like tinder.
The work of rescuing the guests Btill
went on, and many were taken from
windows by firemen and policemen.
Sergeant Ward 'and Patrolman Philips
of fire patrol No. 2, went on the fourth
floor front and rescued Walter H.
Phelps and wife, taking them down a
ladder safely. They also succeeded in
saving Mrs". Samuel Kniff, who waß
about to leap from one of the windows
of the third floor.
Mr. Frederick Uhlman had been a
guest at the hotel for years, and lived
with his brother Simon and mother.
The two latter yesterday went to their
country residence, at Lakewood, N. J.
Mr. Ulhman had gone to bed shortly
after 1 o'clock, and was Bleeping
sdmndly when he was awakened by the
cry sf fire and the screams and shouts
for help of the inmates of the house. He
ran from his room on the second floor,
directly over the office, into the hall,
found it filled with treoke and was
forced back into his room. Again he
made the attempt, and falling over some
obstacle in the passage way, succeeded
in making his way down stairs. He es
caped with only hia overcoat to cover
his nakedness. Mr. Uhlmann lost
everything in his room, including $12,
--000 in cash; general checks, notes and
other valuable business documents were
lost. Despite his loss, however, Mr.
Uhlmann was cheerful today, for he
said: "If mother and brother had not
gone away Saturday, they would have
been burned."
Among the narrow escapes was that
of H. C. Tompkins, of this city, who
was a transient guest at the hotel. He
was awakened from his slumbers by a
cry of fire. He got up and went into
the hallway, but escape down the stairs
was impossible. Collecting his valua
bles, he escaped out of the window down
a rope. In descending, the flames from
a second-story window burned his hands
and scorched Ids hair.
Mrs. F. Knapp of Chicago had a room
on the fifth floor. She had presence of
mind enough to wrap a wet towel
around her head to prevent being suffo
cated, went to a window and waited
until rescued by a burly policeman.
Mrs. Kueper and daughter of Flera
ington, N. J., occupied a room on the
third floor front. They were taken
from their room down a ladder. They
lost all their clothing save the night
dtesses which they had on, and were
cared for by Mrs. S. Knight of West
Fortieth street. Mrs. Kneper suffered
from the shock, and Miss Kneper's long
black hair was singed by the flames
which burst over her head as Bhe
steppod on the ladder. Mrs. Knight
tendered temporary hospitality, and
had no less than nine homeless people
there at ono time. Among those who
accepted her hospitality was a young
man named Levy, who slid down a rope,
tearing the flesh to the one.
These escapes occurred before the
walls of the building fell, while the fire
men were doing their utmost to stop the
progress of the flames, which threatened
to envelop the adjoining buildings.
When the walls fell, people were seen at
several windows on the top floor crying
for help, but they fell back and were
soon buried in the ruins.
The flames of the burning building
illuminated the sky for miles around
and drew to the scene an immense
throng of people. Fire lines were strictly
drawn and maintained daring the entire
day, and none, save persons authorized
to enter by reason of official position,
were allowed within the boundaries.
The news of the disaster spread through
the length and breadth of the city, and
the friends of those who lived in the
hotel hurried to the spot in fear and
One of the most thrilling escapes was
that of a young man named J. Noonan,
of Jersey City. Noonan recently mar
ried and had*just returned from an ex
tended wedding trip. He came to the
city yesterday to celebrate the event
with his friends, and after a night of it,
went to the Hotel Royal and took a room
on the fourth floor. Noonan, awakened
by shouts of fire, looked about for a way
to escape. Flames filled the halls and
he went to a window, swinging himself
from the sill to the window below, and
from one window to another until he
reached the ground.
The hotel was' built over twenty-five
years ago. In 1882 it was remodeled and
an addition built on the south side. The
house waß the home of many persons in
the theatrical profession, and was pa
tronized chiefly by tourists. Many
families, however, made it their perma
nent place of residence.
After the fire was sufficiently cooled,
the search made for the dead was at
once rewarded by the finding of a
charred body almost burned to a crisp.
It was identified as that of Henry J.
Levy. The walls were in a dangerous
condition, and it was deemed necessary
to pull them down before continuing the
search for the dead.
A force of 100 men will be put to work
tomorrow morning clearing away the
debris. The loss on the hotel and fur
niture is estimated at $250,000. The
building was owned by Hyman Israel, a
furniture dealer on the Bowery.
At the morgue thejscenes that charac
terized |the Park place disaster were re
enacted. At 8 o'clock the iirst dead
wagon arrived from the scsne of the
holocaust, bringing four unknown
bodies. At 10:15 the body of H. J.
Levy, a traveHngsalesman, was brought.
Miss Mamie Flaherty came with two of
her friends to inquire after Kate Riley,
a chambermaid who, she said, was
without doubt dead. Eliza Brady, of
No. 40 Chambers street, came to inquire
for her sister Ann, employed atthe+io
tel. She failed to find her, and went
away weeping bitterly. Several persons
called to see if a Mrs. Van Norden was
among those whose bodies were recov
ered. She was the wife of a traveling
Richard Meares, the proprietor of the
Hotel Royal, said today, he went to the
clerk's desk about 12:30 and ascertained
that all but four of the 110 rooms and
suites in the house were taken. He
estimated that there were about 130 or
140 people in the house, all told, at that
hour. He learned later, he said, that
the other four rooms were taken before
la. m. He told his experience, as al
ready related, and also various incidents
connected with the flre. Mr. Meares
says when he reached the street in 2
half-dazed condition, he realized for the
first time that his wife waa still in her
room and ran frantically up and down
the street. No one was in sight. Over
head the flames were leaping from the
elevator cupola in great sheets. Hur
riedly engines began to dash up and
then the air was filled with shouts and
cries of distress. The inmates of the
buildjng had suddenly awakened to
the sense of their danger. Heads
appeared at every window, quickly fol
lowed by volumes of smoke and
tongues of flame. Amid the babel of
voices, Meares detected a familiar cry.
He appealed to the foreman of the lad
der truck, and in an instant the top of
the ladder rested upon the window
ledge. Pushing aside the firemen, the
landlord scaled the ladder himself. He
found he had mistaken the window,
but saved a life, for he took down a half
senseless, whiterobed figure, and then
turned a ladder till it stood beneath his
wile's window. This time a slender
young man was too quick for him, beat
ing him to the window by half a length
of the ladder. Half-way down the lad
der either the young man missed his
footing, or his strength gave out, for he
dropped Mrs. Meares.
Half-crazed, the husband says he does
not know whether he fell or whether he
clambered down the ladder, but he
started to find his wife, when a big po
liceman with a heavy, black beard,
whose name he says he would give a
considerable sum to ascertain, stopped
him and'demanded to know his busi
'•I am proprietor of the hotel," he
said., "and am looking for my wife."
At this, he said, the officer shouted to
a fellow policeman : "Here's the owner
of the building. Don't you think he'd
better look after his house instead of his
At this they laughed, and, despite his
urgent entreaties, he was not permitted
to follow Mrs. Mearee, and it was not
till an hour later that he learned her
Meares said ihe spectacle for twenty
minutes after he reached the street
was beyond his powers of portrayal,
men and women in upper windo /a,
clothed only in robes de nuit, shrieked
and gesticulated frantically, and were
only prevented from jumping by fire
men who shouted encouragement to
them, but the flames waxed fiercer, and
presently a human form plunged from
the fourth story and struck the stieet
head foremost, while his blood and
brains splashed upon the by-standers.
Another and another shot "downward
until three bodies lay bleeding and mo
tionless. Mr. Meares said he could
stand no more, and got away from the
horrible spot as quickly as possible.
Aside from severe burns he was not
badly injured.
When the fire waa finally gotten un
der control there was a general inquiry
as to who had taken lodgings at the ho
tel and who got out in safety. The pro
prietor and the attaches could give the
names of but a few of their personal
acquaintances. Then a call was natur
ally made for the hotel register; it could
not be found, although it was apparent
it had not been destroyed. A search
was instituted and an enterprising news
paper man was found making off with
it, thinking thereby, doubtless, to se
cure a "scoop" for his paper by print
ing an exclusive list of the names, but
he was despoiled of bis priz 3 . and may
have to answer to the charge of larceny
in the bargain.
Not all the persons who engaged rooma
at the hotel last night registered, nor
did all who registered put down their
true names, for reasons best known to
themeelves. A few of the names as writ
ten are : H. D. Soulin, city; E. I. Leon
ard and wife, Philadelphia; E. F. Leon
loka, Ontario; W. Trafford and wife,
New Rochelle; F. E. Clark and wife,
Boston ; J. C. Price and wife, city; L. C.
and Mrs. Taylor, Newark, N. J.; F. Les
ter, Boston; K. Smith and wife, Spring
field, Mass,; John Parkerson and wife,
Great Neck, L. I.; Mr. McK.ee and wife,
New Haven; C. M. White and wife,
Nyack, N. V.; J. C. Williams and wife,
Albany ; H. O. Warren and wife, Nyack ;
R. Marrong and wife, Boston; John
Thompson and wife, Boston; Thomas
Gould, city; F. Lufel and wife, city;
Mr. White and wife, Chicago; L. R.
Faulkner, wife and daughter, Connecti
Those known to be dead,whose bodies
were recovered, were not all identified.
In fact, only one was identified with
any degree of positiveness; this is be
lieved to be 11. C. Levy. It is feared
search of the vast smoking pile of debris
in the celler will reveal many ghastly
finds. Reports at a late hour tonight
are that no less than 100 persons are
Btill unaccounted for.
The origin of the fire in unknown. It
Btrrted in the basement near the eleva
tor shaft, which was located in the mid
dle of the building. The flames were
first seen pouring out of the cupalo on
the roof, directly over the elevator shaft,
by the engineer of a Sixth avenue ele
vatdd train, who stopped hia engine di
rectly in front of the hotel and blew the
locomotive whistle loud and continuous
ly. This unusual sound awoke many
sleeping people and brought policemen
to the scene, who at once sent in a fire
The guest who probably had the most
narrow, and at the same time the most
miraculous, escape was M. L. Harman,
a traveling salesman for a St. Louis
wholesale grocery house. He registered
at the hotel Saturday night with his
wife. "I had a, room on the sixth floor,"
said Harman, "and was aroused from
sleep by a loud cracking noise and the
Bound of a whistle, which I think was
from one of the engines on the elevated
road. I opened my door, and found the
stairway leading to the lower floors in a
blaze. I then went to a window and
opened it, and there seemed to be as
much smoke on the outside as in the
hallway, for the room was soon filled.
Both my wife and I would have been
suffocated in the room had we not taken
two towels which were soaked with
water. These we ÜBed to keep the
smoke out of our lungs, by holding
them over our mouths and nostrils. I
tried to find a fire escape near the win
. dow, but there was none, and I thought
at one time we should never get out of
the room alive. It was certain death to
jump six stories, and it waa
that or burn to death. I said
to my wife: 'Mattie, I am go
ing to shoot you and kill myself.'
I concluded it would be better to die
that way than be burned to death, and
as I always sleep with a revolver under
my pillow, I hurried to the bed to get it.
By this time the flames were coming up
through the cracks in the floor and
through the cracks of the door. Just as
I was about to shoot my wife, the floor
fell with a crash, and we went down
probably two stories. The flooring
stepped opposite a window, and my wife
jumped out and landed on a portico be
neath. A rope was hanging out of this
window, and with this assistance I man
aged to get down another story, but
there I slipped and fell to the portico,
beside my wife. I picked her up, but
was unable to carry her, and was almost
suffocated, and the fall had injured me.
I was endeavoring to reach a ladder,
when two firemen took her from me.
How I reached the street I do not
Harman is confined to bed at the
Gedney house; his hands and chest are
severely burned, and his hair and eye
brows are singed. He was told today
that his wife was being cared for at one
of the hospitals, and that she is not fa
tally injured. It is believed, however,
she is one of the dead.
There waß not even a rope fire escape
in the room on the second floor which
Felix Kraemer, a salesman for Steinway
& Sons of New York, occupied, and had
it not been for Kraemer's experience at
hotel fires, and an umbrella, he wouid
probably be numbered among the vic
tims. "Had I not had a strong um
brella, I should either have been burned
or killed by jumping," said Mr. Krae
mer. "I have been burned out at ho
tels three times now. At a fire at War
rensburg, Mo., a guest escaped by using
an open umbrella to ease his flight from
an upper story window. 1 never forgot
it, and since have always been provided
with a strong umbrella for an emergency.
As soon as I reached a window I opened
my strong umbrella quickly, and put a
shawl strap over it po as to prevent it
from turning inside out. Then I made
a leap. I did not go sailing gracefully
out into the air and land lightly on the
ground beneath, but I landed without
any broken limbs and am all right now.
The umbrella partially turned inside
out just before I got to the ground, and
I got something of a jar; but I should
think myself lucky if I had escaped
with a broken leg,fori never before saw
a fire burn so fiercely as the one which
consumed the hotel. I ran iuto the
office as soon as I reached the ground.
"I was the first person to get out of
the hotel, and I cannot imagine how
any guests got out alive. I saw Meares
and the night clerk in the office. 'For
God's sake,' I cried, 'why don't you
turn in a fire alarm ?' I went to the
Gedney house, registered, secured a
suit of clothes which did not fit me,
and returned to the fire. Even at that
time the fire department had not ar
rived, and men, women and children
were at the windows, screaming for
some one to save them. I saw two
or three people jump from windows. It
Store Talk.
*yyfe only sell the Good Sort of Clothes—
We have every garment made to our
Special Order by the Best Makers in the
Country—We take their Best Work and
improve on it—We insist on better linings—
an extra stay seam here and there—Silk
Itf p sewn seams—and
wm many other Httfe
/T^ details tnat few
fr pk (h Yfljjfk dea,ers know ai »y
uk w : i\ 1 fMj \ thins ab ° ut -° f
'J 'li(vKl feJ course we. have
ff C Price for this kind
| I of work—But it
I dofl,t cost you
I >r7 lit H VI- an y more than
l- ill the ordinar y kind
\ ~We chop down
- Profits a bit—for
the covert coat. the sake of Qual
ity—We want Your Confidence and Your
Continued Patronage—We try to deserve it—
You'll find a visit to our store just now
especially profitable—We're "Closing Out"
our Fall Weights for Hen, Boys and Children
for about the cost of making—A saving for
you of about $3.00 on every $10.00 you spend
with us—
213 S. SPRING ST., W
To be closed out at
Commencing Thursday Evening, Jan. 28ib,
Ard continuing EVERY AFTERNOON at 1:30
p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and HVKRY EVENING,
7 to 10 p.m.
The stock is well known and consists of a
large line oi Watches, Diamonds, Clocks, Silver
ware, Bronzes, Statuary, Opera Glasses, Jewelry
of all kinds and description, Rogers' Knives,
Spoons and Forks, Cutlery, Revolvers, Razors,
Albums, Novelties, Fancy Goods, and, in fact,
everything usually kept in a first-class jewelry
A Card to the CJltlzeni of Los Angeles
ami Vicinity.
Intending to go into the wholesale jewelry
business only, I will close out the entire stock
now in my stote AT YOUR OWN PRICES, as
times are dull, the goods will necessarily sell
low, and my old customers will do well to at
tend these sales, as no doubt they will secure
rare' bargains. I will personally guarantee
every article sold exactly as represented, and
that we will have no one to buy in goods but
every article offered will be sold to the highest
bidder. L. H. GRHKN.
Ladies are especially intitod to call in the afternoon to
avoid night crowd.
JpaF* I will guarantee these goods will
be sold to the highest bidder, and
quickly, and that by attending these
sales you will secure
Unheard-of Bargains!
Sales Every Day from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30
p.m. and 7 to 10 p.m.
Of the Celebrated COSTJKYAN
As per catalogue at 1:30 p.m.: also a Special
Sale TONIGHT at 8, at
213 S, Broadway, near Second St.,
(Potomac Block.)
gW Mr. Coatikyan, who arrived in town Sat
urday last, has the sale under his personal
supervision, 2-1-mon wedi Iri
The most successful Private Disease doctor
in the State Gonorrhea, Gleet, Stricture,
Seminal Weakness, Nervous Debility,
Syphilis, Skin and Kidney diseases and
Sexual Weakness successfully treated. Med
icines prepared 1b private laboratory. Roth
sexes consult In confidence. Dr. White has
no hired substitutes. You see the doctor ouly
Dr. White is the ;only Specialist in the State
who exclusively treats private, nervous and
chronic diseases. Cures guaranteed in all
curable cases. Don't waste time with patent
medicines. If you have any .sexual trouble,
consult fir. White. Scientific treatment.
Reasonable charges.
Special attention given to the performance of
all deuUl operations in the evening by tho use
of a special System of Electric Lights. All
work guaranteed. Prices consistent with First
class work.
Office Honrs—B a,m. to 5 pm. Evening
hours. 7 to 10 p.m.
DR. J. A. CRONKHITE Dentist,
1-20 3m Corner Fifth atreet.
We are now established corner Second aid
Real Estatk, Loans and Invistmnts.
We have some choice offerings that will pay
good Interest, and will be pleased to see our
friends and the public generally at oar new
Edwabd D. Bilint. Gkorok D. Bitts
2-2 Ira

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