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An Eyewitness Account of the Bates House Conflagration
The following excerpt was taken from the May 11, 1874 issue
of the Union & Advertiser (a newspaper published in Rochester, New
York) and gives the account of one unidentified eyewitness who had watched the
Bates House burn down the previous night. The Bates House, on the southwest
corner of South Avenue and Main Street in the village of Unionville (later
renamed Hilton) was a hotel run by Francis B. Bates.
"About two o'clock Sunday morning our usually
quiet village (Unionville) was startled by the cry of 'Fire! Fire!'
Every man, woman and child was out of bed in a jiffy, and with all
possible speed hastened with pail in hand to the scene of the
conflagration; and never did men and women work better. The fire was
found to have originated in the rear of the harness shop of Mr. James
Goodno, located near the center of the large wooden building known as
the Bates House, the whole of which structure was soon enveloped in
flames, making it impossible to save anything... The loss was fearful -
four dwelling houses, four barns, and two shops all one sheet of flame
at the same time, and all entirely consumed, with nearly their entire
contents... Our special sympathy to Mr. F. B. Bates, who has lost all
that a man can, namely: all that he hath."