On Dec. 28, 1900, fire destroyed Hamma Divinity Hall, a seminary, and low water pressure delayed the firefighters' assault on the flames.
According to an article in the next day's Times newspaper in Washington, D.C., firefighters rescued three students. All the others were at home for the holidays.
The blaze started in a furnace "and by the time the students noticed it the chapel on the first floor was in a blaze," the Times newpaper said. "Efforts to put it out with buckets were fruitless, as the smoke was suffocating."
Underscoring the rapid spread of the flames, the newspaper said Oliver McWilliams, of Montgomery, Pennsylvania, "tried to get out of his room, but was forced back by the smoke." John Sweeter, of Curlsville, Pennsylvania, "was rescued from a second-story window." C.A. Hackenburg, of Pittsburgh, "escaped by crawling out on the rear part, where the firemen took him down."
The seminary - located on the grounds of Wittenberg University, then called Wittenberg College - was rebuilt in 1901.