As Lake Charles marks its 150-year anniversary, one of the most significant moments in the city's history is remembered.
The Fire of 1910 burned through downtown Lake Charles.It started on April 23 among the outhouses behind the old opera house. Strong winds fanned the flames that torched an area two blocks wide and a half-mile long.
The fire spread quickly, engulfing block after block, causing $750,000 (in 1910 currency) in property damage as it consumed more than 100 buildings.
But the fire destroyed more than just buildings - it also destroyed key genealogical records, as Linda Gill, librarian, explained during a special presentation on Tuesday at the Carnegie Memorial Library.
"And besides some buildings - some commercial buildings on Pujo, and North Court Street - the courthouse caught fire, the Catholic church, it's convent, and St. Charles Academy. And the city had a brand-new city hall - just a few years old - and a brand-new fire station; they caught fire so all of the records and almost all of the records that were in the Calcasieu Courthouse and the Calcasieu City Hall were lost," she said.
Back then, Lake Charles had a paid fire chief, and just six paid firefighters. About one hundred volunteers joined them battling the flames.