Hinckley Posts

The Fiercest Fires in Minnesota History

This new Twin Cities Public Television documentary explores the state’s worst natural disasters. Host Mary Lahammer, along with historian Hy Berman, meteorologist Paul Douglas, and climatologist Mark Seeley tell the story of the deadly blazes that have taken more than a thousand lives in Minnesota.

Carrying Root From the Cab at Skunk Lake

Train Wreck

This 1909 drawing by Jay Hambridge depicts a train that attempted to outrun the Great Hinckley Fire of 1894. Engineer James Root chugged his St. Paul and Duluth Railroad locomotive into the burning city, where it was quickly stampeded by people trying to board and escape the disaster. The fire raged forward and the train ignited.

Root reversed the engine and raced six miles north to Skunk Lake. Within minutes of its arrival the train was engulfed as passengers dove into the mud and water. Root was pulled from the train and counted among the lucky survivors. Over 400 people died that day.