Fun historical read on 1936 Gophers' hotel fire: Downtown fire in '36 threw scare into American sports scene

BleedGopher

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per Kim:

So it was that the spectacular downtown fire, the second to level the Florence Hotel since A.B. Hammond built the first in 1888-89 and named it after his wife, made front-page news here and across the nation.

The fire started in the basement of the Public Drug Co. store on street level of the four-story building. Kohn’s Jewelry store, Garden City Floral, a barber shop, a beauty shop, a millinery and the Corner Cigar store were destroyed, as was the high-rise hotel.

A St. Paul sportswriter named Ed Shave had been the first to smell smoke. Legends are built on smaller tales, but one had it that Shave was just in from a night in Missoula's red-light district when he detected smoke. He rushed to the front desk to tell the clerk on duty. Phil Brown cast a wary eye on the messenger. Shave admitted he was drunk but insisted “we gotta get the Gophers out of here.”

There were more than 100 rooms to evacuate from Missoula’s showpiece hotel. The football players, in rooms on all three hotel floors, helped Brown and the lone bellhop on duty spread the word. Another story has it that some players considered jumping to safety.

“If you are subs, go ahead and jump,” Bierman allegedly told them. “Regulars, use the fire escape.”

“The loss of personal property was heavy,” the Missoulian reported. “A few of the Gophers lost everything in their rooms except pants which they hastily pulled on as they were aroused, and two did not even get that much, departing pajama-clad for the outdoors.”


Go Gophers!!
 

Taji34

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“If you are subs, go ahead and jump,” Bierman allegedly told them. “Regulars, use the fire escape.”

WOW, really confident the starters wouldn't get knocked out of the game, haha.
 
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