South Dakota: Looking Back at The Great Murdo Fire of 1910

  • Source: South Dakota Public Broadcasting
  • Published: 11/23/2021 12:00 AM

PHOTOS: Murdo, South Dakota had only just gotten started as a town when disaster struck on a cold February night in 1910. A fire that was likely started by a hot stovepipe in a printing business on Main Street quickly spread to nearby buildings and destroyed an entire block of businesses before it finally burned itself out. Wayne Esmay owns an electrical contracting business in Murdo and today owns one of the buildings erected on Main Street after the fire. Esmay is also an amateur historian and has studied the story of the fire and its aftermath. "Nobody knows for sure how it started, but they think it was the wood burning stove in the print shop. The editor of the paper, he started the fire and went up to his residence on the upper floor. In a couple hours there was smoke and he raised the alarm. It was pretty devastating. It was the most devastating fire that Murdo has ever had."


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