Sunday, May 05, 2013
On Jan. 12, 1867, fire struck the Warder, Mitchell & Company's reaper and mower plant in Springfield.
The New York Times published a short dispatch entitled "Destructive Fire in a Manufactory" on Jan. 15 (sent via telegraph from Cincinatti on Jan. 14.)
Damage was estimated at $40,000. The property was insured for half that amount.
At that time, Springfield was protected by a paid fire department composed of full-time drivers and hosemen and on-call "minute men" drawn from the old volunteer companies.
The first paid men were hired in 1865.
In the early 1850s, Benjamin Warder co-founded Warder, Brokaw & Child Company to acquire patent rights to "The Champion," a combined reaper and mower. In 1866, the company was reorganized as Warder, Mitchell & Company. Springfield was nicknamed "The Champion City" due to the popularity of the machinery.