EACO Flour Mill Fire in Waseca

  • March 26, 2015

This photo from 1900 shows Loon Lake and the town of Waseca in the distance. On the left are the newly reconstructed buildings of the Everett, Aughenbaugh and Company (EACO) flour mill. The original EACO mill burned to the ground in 1896. Here is a historical account of the events of August 25, 1896:

At about twenty minutes after 3 o’clock Tuesday morning, Aug. 25, 1896, the fire alarm and mill whistle aroused our citizens and it was soon discovered that the old and long-vacant coffin factory, on the west side of the M. & St. L. railroad track, nearly opposite the flour mill of Everett, Aughenbaugh & Co., was on fire. It made a terribly hot fire, but soon burned to the ground, and the people were just congratulating one another that the fire was no worse, when the cry went forth that the flour and bran house on the south of the mill was on fire.

Undoubtedly the heat upon the sheet iron covering had set the woodwork inside on fire. Every effort was made by the fire department to keep down the flames, but the high wind and the bursting of a water main in the south part of the city at that time, reducing the pressure, combined to aid the flames which were carried directly into the windows of the mill. It was short work for the consuming element to destroy one of the best mills in the state, the accumulation of years of industry, economy, and safe business management. Two cars loaded with flour were also consumed. The total loss of the EACO Milling Company was estimated at $70,000, and the property of the mill was insured for $45,000. The old coffin factory was of little value and had been, for a long time, the tramps’ paradise. There is no doubt that the fire was either the work of incendiarism or the carelessness of tramps. The mills were at once rebuilt on a more elaborate plan than before.

Photo courtesy of the Waseca County Historical Society

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