Shed fire sparks dynamite; windows broken

In 1936, there were several cases of scarlet fever in Dayton, and families had to be quarantined. A teacher had to be brought to town from Fernley because the Dayton school teacher was one of the victims, according to the diary of Emma Nevada Loftus.

Dayton wasn't without its excitement in Emma's time. Following, in her words (at times without punctuation or correct grammar) are two of the exciting times she wrote about:

Wednesday, January 22, 1936:

"24 degrees this morning; cold all forenoon ... We were excited tonight when a fire broke out over at Bugbee's he had dynamite in a shed and was burning trash in the back yard it burned the shed exploded the dynamite blew out all of the windows and doors in all the neighbors houses over there."

Thursday, January 23, 1936:

"26 degrees on the porch this A M. It has been a nice day. I went to see Mrs. Johnson, Mrs. McLeod and Marketti this afternoon. All the Marketti windows were broken from the exploding of Bugbee's dynamite last evening. Mrs. McLeods back windows all broke and doors blew off their hinges. All the windows in the Grammar [school] [now, the Dayton Museum] and at the high school [the Dayton Valley Community Center on Pike St.] is broken out.

This is the most terrible thing that has happened in Dayton. Bugbee and McLeod's place is a wreck. All of Mrs. Rammulkamps windows on the south and west side of her house are broken."

Well, that was some incident, but it wasn't too long before Ben Lathrop and Charley Bailey were putting windows back in the schoolhouses. You can see from Emma's report that there was concern for the community.

Emma worked hard every day as a homemaker. I couldn't even imagine trying to keep up with her daily activities. She puts my housekeeping to shame, and I might add that in 1936, she was 62 years old. She was bored on Sundays and said so in her accounts.

I'm still reading and will pick up more interesting events.

The Dayton Museum is on Shady Lane and Logan Street in Old Town Dayton. It's also the location of the Dayton Chamber office. It is open during the week at random hours from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays and from 1-4 p.m. Sundays. Check out Group tours are available. Call 246-5543, 246-0462 or 246-0441.

n Ruby McFarland is a Dayton resident, a board member of the Dayton Historical Society and a docent at the museum.


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