Although the Tyler Courier-Times had burned to the ground in the early morning hours of Nov. 14, 1910, in a downtown fire, the staff published an 8 1/2-by-11-inch edition of the newspaper to be delivered to customers’ homes by 7 a.m.
The newspaper offices were at 215 N. Broadway Ave. then. A mere five hours after the fire started at 2 a.m., a special edition of the paper was on its way to readers after it was printed at the Byrne Printing Co., according to information from “The Back Step,” a quarterly publication of the East Texas Historical Fire Society.
Information about the details of that fire, which caused about $90,000 worth of damage in downtown Tyler, is hard to obtain.
“There are skips in the information we have before 1905 because it was all lost in the fire — most of our information came from out-of-town newspapers in Galveston, Dallas and Marshall,” said David Crim, editor of “The Back Step” and secretary of the East Texas Historical Fire Society.
The 1910 fire started in a small storage building behind the large Parker & Pinkerton store next door to the Tyler newspaper. The two buildings were joined and the fire then spread north, to the large, all-wood I.H. Crutcher & Sons feed, grain and coal business, according to the “The Back Step.”
The fire soon spread to the east, involving a new warehouse and stables, owned by George R. Phillips. Twenty-five mules and horses were let out and later recovered, the newsletter stated.
“The volunteer firefighters came from home on horseback to where the fire was downtown, and the paid firefighters arrived from the fire station (on West Locust Street),” Crim said. According to the Fire Society newsletter, the firemen came by horse-drawn carriage carrying two 35-gallon chemical extinguishers and other equipment and two hose wagons.
The fire department had two phone lines to report fires and the volunteer fire department consisted of 25 men, paid $2 each per fire, the Fire Society newsletter stated.
Water to extinguish that fire in November 1910 was pumped in from Victory Lake, about 1 mile southeast of the downtown square by two steam-powered pumps on the northern portion of present-day Rowland Drive. In the event of major fires, water could be pumped directly into the water main running down South Broadway, according to the Fire Society newsletter.
S.A. Lindsay, president of the Courier-Times Publishing Co., asked newspaper readers to “bear with a few days while the paper is being issued from its temporary headquarters, as the press of the Byrne Printing office is not of sufficient size to enable us to get out our full-size six-column paper,” the Fire Society newsletter stated.
T.B. Butler & Associates purchased the Courier-Times on Nov. 18, 1910, and rebuilt the newspaper building at 220 N. Broadway, with the printing facility being located at 212 1/2 N. Broadway Ave.