The Shrine- 1900s Antique Postcard- St. Johns Institutue of Deaf Mutes- St. Francis, Wisconsin- Fire Disaster Memorial- E C Kropp


(3 1/2 x 5 1/2 In) This is an original antique E. C. Kropp Co. postcard from the 1900s. It shows a group of Edwardian children paying their respects at "The Shrine" memorial for the lives lost during the devastating fire that destroyed the St. Johns Institute of Deaf Mutes in St. Francis, Wisconsin. Here is an account of the disaster from a Racine newspaper:

"Milwaukee, Wis., Aug. 1. -- St. John's Institute for Deaf Mutes at St. Francis was partially destroyed by fire which broke out in the roof of the building at 3:45 o'clock yesterday afternoon.
Loss on the building is estimated at $35,000, with insurance of about $25,000. The cause of the fire has not been ascertained. The entire south wing of the building was burned to the ground, while the west wing was damaged. The wast wing was partially damaged by fire and water, and the north wing sustained a heavy loss from water. The fire finally was extinguished by a detail of two companies of the Milwaukee fire department dispatched by Chief THOMAS A. CLANCY.
Two persons were overcome by smoke during the fire. They were:
Truckman NELSON KLEM, truck company No. 6; overcome by smoke and fell from a ladder twenty feet to the ground; escaped with slight bruises.
ROGER GEREND, Sheboygan, Wis., brother of the institute's head; overcome by smoke while assisting in fighting the fire; recovered.
Only ten girls and two sisters were in the building when the fire started. All left quietly before the flames gathered headway. The department was seriously handicpped by lack of water in its work, but managed to get the blaze under control shortly after 5:30 o'clock.
"We were lucky in having the fire occur as it did," the REV. STEPHEN KLOPFER, assistant to the REV. GEREND, said last night. "Usually there are about seventy-five children in the institute. During the summer, most of them are away on vacations, and there are only about twenty boys and ten girls here now. The younger children had been dismissed for the day. Only a few of the larger girls were in the building when the fire started. Had it originated during school hours or at night, when the dormatories are filled, there might have been a serious loss of life."
But one death resulted from the fire. That was a parrot, kept in the dining room in the basement of the south wing. When the firemen entered after the flames had been extinguished, they found the bird, singed and blackened, dead on the bottom of its cage. The body was not charred, and it was thought the poor bird suffocated." - Racine Daily Journal Wisconsin 1907-08-01

There is a name written on the back. The postcard is in GOOD condition, wear at the edges, blunted corner tips, a few minor stains and creases.

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