Saturday, August 06, 2011

Fire At Victor Opera House

As a follow up to my previous post about the fire at the Victor, Colorado opera house and my paternal great-granduncle, William Clifford LeMASTER's involvement, I received the following email information:

Dear Travis,
   I apologize for the delay in responding to your inquiry regarding the fire that burned down the Victor Opera House in 1920.  I have been out of town.
   I was able to locate two newspaper articles written about the fire. 
   According to the first article published in the September 27 edition of the Cripple Creek Times (the local evening paper at the time), the fire started around noon.  No one was in the building at the time, although Mr. Le Master and the janitor John Kimberling had been in the building around 9:30 that morning.  Authorities believed that the fire was started when a boiler burst.  Eyewitness' said they heard the explosion.The article did state that an investigation would take place.
   W. C. Le Master's personal loss was estimated at $3,600.  Additional losses included the organ valued at $7,000 and the film library valued at $1,000.
   The property itself was owned by E.H. Hall of Denver.  His loss was initially estimated at $100K.
   A second short article ran on September 28 in the Cripple Creek Times stated the Mr. Le Master was unsure if he would be seeking a new location to reopen the theater.
   I continued through the newspapers for about a month following the fire, but did not locate any further information regarding the investigation or if Mr. LeMaster did reopen the theater in a different location.
I also checked both the US Census and our District Directories and did not find any record of W. C. Le Master or William C. Le Master residing in the Cripple Creek/Victor area past 1920.
   I hope this information is helpful to you.  If there is anything further that I may do for you, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Melissa Trenary
Archives and Research
Cripple Creek District Museum
500 E. Bennett Avenue ~ P.O. Box 1210
Cripple Creek, Colorado  80813
719-689-2634 ~ 719-689-9540
 I am thankful for their research help, and need to send off a donation.  This gives me more leads to follow, perhaps I can locate the newspapers through interlibrary loan.

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