A flour mill fire in Superior caused more than $2.6 million in damage on Nov. 9, 1907 — 115 years ago today. The Duluth News Tribune referred to it as “the most disastrous fire in point of property loss, and probably the most spectacular blaze ever seen at the Head of the Lakes.”
The postcard shown above was mailed nine days after the fire. It was sent by someone named Frank to Master A. Pearson of Spokane, Wash. The photo apparently shows the smoldering remains of the Freeman Flour Mills and Elevator — Franks wrote “Fremon Mill” on the back of the card.
The message on the back reads:
This is a picture of the Fremon Mill and Elevator burning. I will send you a paper so that you can read about the fire. It happened about 7:30 o’clock. This is all I have to say. Frank.
The postcard came into the possession of the Perfect Duluth Day archive in 2019, acquired from Carr’s Hobby for $1.
The Duluth News Tribune reported that the Freeman mill had not been in use prior to the fire, but was valued at $300,000 and was a total loss. “It’s elevator, valued at $50,000, was also completely wiped out by the flames,” the paper noted.
Another postcard of smoldering remains, with the same caption on the front, was at one time for sale on eBay. It’s not clear if it’s also showing the Freeman Mill, later at night, or if it’s a different mill.
This card was mailed on Nov. 23 with the simple message, “Hello. Here is another.”
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