NEW YORK FOLKLORE QUARTERLY
Vol. XX, No. 4, December, 1964
WHISKEY AND CARPETING - FIREFIGHTERS
Harold Van Dusen
ALCOHOL burns — but it helped to extinguished three
disastrous fires in Corning in the fiery 1850’s.
So did carpeting and salt.
It is an unusual story of how one city did battle against the
flames that in six years destroyed 197 buildings, including hotels,
the bank, department stores, a newspaper office, Masonic and Odd
Fellows lodge halls, as well as many other important centers and
scores of modest homes.
The first big blaze was in May, 1850. A total of 132 businesses
and families were burned out when 79 buildings, some of them
large three-story business blocks, were lost.
Seventy-eight buildings burned on June 30, 1856, and ten days
later, on July 10, 1856, 40 more structures were destroyed by the
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