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A Place in History: Miller Manufacturing Co. • Monroe
MONROE - A fire in the Monroe business district destroyed a four-story building, several automobiles, two homes and damaged the telephone company, the YMCA building, the Universalist Church and the Ludlow House.

The date: Jan. 14, 1914

In 1909, Fred W. Miller, built an imposing four-story building at Ninth Street and 16th Avenue.

According to "Pictorial History of Monroe, Wisconsin," Miller was a carriage maker. The building was eventually sold to Brink and Wood from Pierre S.D., and housed the Karlen and May automobile garage.

According to the "Monroe Evening Times" Jan. 15 edition, the fire began at about 10:30 p.m. on Jan. 13.

"The fire originated in the northeast corner of the garage room on the ground floor of the north side," the Monroe Evening Times reported.

Within a short time the fire was breaking through the windows and the garage doors. Only the cash register and typewriter were removed from the building. Everything else was lost in the fire.

Within a half hour, the paper reported, the wall on the northeast corner fell out. In 45 minutes the west wall went over into the street and the south wall fell. Shortly before midnight the east wall caved in

"The automobile tanks in the garage kept exploding and the flames feeding on the combustibles such as gasoline and grease raged with great fury," the paper reported. "The explosions threw great masses of burning particles far above the flames and the lurid glare illuminated the heavens so that the fire was seen many miles away.

Thirty automobiles were destroyed in the fire, including show lines of Hudsons, Studebakers and Buicks.

Hundreds of people came out to see the fire from a safe distance. They were kept far away from the fire because of the explosions. Firefighters tried to get as close as they could to the massive building but the heat prevented them from getting too close.

No one was injured in the blaze.

The next morning, amidst the smoldering ruins, workers began to clean up the area and assess the damage.

After the fire the Monroe Evening Times reported that the automobiles "are sorry sights in contrast to expense and comfort represented before the fire, each being reduced to a melted mass that could be carried off in a wheelbarrow."

The building once stood on the site where Stop-N-Go is now located.