Fire destroys much of Quincy, Grant County, on July 13, 1917.

  • By Kit Oldham
  • Posted 3/04/2003
  • Essay 5362
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On July 13, 1917, hot grease catches fire in a butcher shop and the ensuing blaze nearly wipes out Quincy, a railroad town in western Grant County near the Columbia River. Six buildings are destroyed within an hour.

The butcher, Warren Platt, was out of town that day. Late in the afternoon, an assistant was rendering lard in Platt's shop when hot grease caught fire. There was a strong northwest wind and flames spread rapidly. The butcher shop, Johnny Dormaier's general store, Axel Jonson's law office, Fred Renz's novelty store, the post office, and a vacant restaurant building were all destroyed. Total damage was estimated at $12,000 to $15,000.

Several of the merchants left town after the fire. Dormaier moved to Portland. Platt opened a new meat market in Ephrata. Jonson moved into another building but left the city the following year. The post office reopened in a brick bank building down the street.


Faye Morris, They Claimed a Desert (Fairfield: Ye Galleon Press, 1976), 340-41.

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