Philomath lost a store and its post office in an 1898 fire. (Photo by Canva)

In the 19th century, firefighting had advanced from the bucket brigades of earlier generations with inventions of things like water-pumping engines, the establishment of organized fire companies and the building of municipal water systems.

Still, newspapers of the past are filled with stories about devastating fires and Philomath was no exception. This week 125 years ago, Philomath lost its post office and a store operated by John W. Ingle in a building owned by Jeremiah E. Henkle.

The following was published in the March 25, 1898 edition of the Corvallis Gazette:

“Fire this morning at 2:30 destroyed the store of J.W. Ingle and the Philomath postoffice. Nothing was saved. The buildings were owned by J.E. Henkle. The postmistress, Mrs. Keezel, had a small stook of confectionery, etc. The origin of the fire is unknown. Ingle intended moving his stock today. The mail matter was saved. Was unable to learn at this hour anything concerning insurance.”

A week later, a follow-up story on April 1, 1898, in the Gazette reported the following:

“There was no insurance on the buildings owned by J.E. Henkle, which burned down in Philomath last week. Ingle carried $5,000 on his stock of goods. The postoffice is now located in Dr. Loggan’s drug store. Mr. Henkle will doubtless rebuild shortly, for his lots are very desirable business property.”

150 years ago

Around Oregon: The receding waters of the Willamette left the Salem ferry boat high and dry on the Polk county side, last Sunday night. … The Common Council of Albany are discussing an ordinance providing for keeping chickens from running or flying at large in the city limits. … In accordance with a petition signed by forty five persons, Brig. Gen. M.V. Brown has issued an order for the organization of a Volunteer Militia Company at Yaquina Bay, Benton county. Dr. C.M. Carter, of Newton, has been designated to organize and muster in the company. (Published March 22, 1873, in the Corvallis Gazette).

125 years ago

Philomath College: The spring term of Philomath college was opened last week with a few new faces among the students. The enrollment for the year is 108. Many of the students have been obliged to leave and go to work, but nearly all are planning to come back next year and bring others with them. The prospects of the college were never better. (Published March 25, 1898, in the Corvallis Gazette).

100 years ago

School officers: The Philomath high school elected the student body officers for the second semester last Thursday morning with the following results: President, George Wood; vice-president, Justina Newton; secretary, Hazel Rea; treasurer, Carroll Newth; sergeant-at-arms, Marion Rose; pianist, Dorothy Cosgrove; chorister, Helen Mills; Yell leader, Lola Newton; critic, Prof. Olson. (Published March 26, 1923, in the Corvallis Gazette-Times).

75 years ago

Estate news: Churches, a cemetery and the Children’s Farm Home received bequests from the $60,000 estate of the late James A. Watkins of Philomath, admitted to probate court here. The will allocated $500 each to the Farm Home, the First United Brethren church of Philomath and the United Brethren (brick) church of Philomath. Two thousand dollars was willed to the Mt. Union cemetery. (Published Marc 27, 1948, in the Corvallis Gazette-Times).

50 years ago

Teacher contracts: An agreement between the Philomath School Board and Philomath Education Association was signed Tuesday night. The agreement, which culminates months of negotiation, mediation and factfinding, was signed by board Chairman Marvin Rowley and PEA negotiation team Chairman Ted Dowell. … The salary for the driver’s education teachers was increased from $4.50 to $5 per hour. The base salary for district teachers was raised to $7,250, with increments increased to $288. (Published March 28, 1973, in the Corvallis Gazette-Times).

Brad Fuqua

Brad Fuqua, Philomath News

Brad Fuqua has covered the Philomath area since 2014 as the editor of the now-closed Philomath Express and currently as publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1988 at daily and weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana and Oregon.