“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Kettle River in Carlton County, Minnesota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)

The 1918 Fire

The 1918 Fire Marker image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, September 28, 2007
1. The 1918 Fire Marker
Inscription. On October 12, 1918, a massive forest fire raced through northeastern Minnesota from Sturgeon Lake to the shores of Lake Superior north of Duluth. When it was over, this region had suffered through one of Minnesotaís worst disasters.

Weather conditions on October l2, 1918, were right for the tragedy which ensued. Hot, dry weather had prevailed for several months. Railroads were determined to have started the fires as sparks from the engines ignited dry brush along the tracks. On this day, extremely high winds fanned the flames and sent them roaring through the forests and lumber mills of the region.

The 1918 Cloquet - Moose Lake Fire destroyed 38 communities in northeastern Minnesota. At feast 450 people were killed in the blaze, and over 52,000 people were either injured or displaced by the fire. Property damage was valued at over $73 million.

There was great loss in all areas ravaged by the flames. However, no area suffered more than the Moose Lake - Kettle River area. Of the 453 persons killed, over one-half perished within ten miles of Kettle River.

One site more than any other represents the tragedy of the 1918 fire. Several vehicles attempting to flee the flames were unable to navigate a sharp turn on a stretch of present day Minnesota Highway 73 just south of Kettle River, now known as
The 1918 Fire Marker image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, September 28, 2007
2. The 1918 Fire Marker
Dead Manís Curve. At first 15 cars went off the road, causing a series of crashes that resulted in nearly 25 people perishing in the smoke and flames.
Location. 45° 29.241′ N, 92° 52.647′ W. Marker is in Kettle River, Minnesota, in Carlton County. Marker is on Main Street (State Highway 73) north of 1st Avenue South, on the right when traveling north. Click for map. Marker is between Soo Line Road and 1st Avenue South, in front of the Kettle River Area Veterans Building. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3960 Main Street, Kettle River MN 55757, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 7 other markers are within 15 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Minnesota's Arrowhead Region: A Tourist Mecca (approx. 9.6 miles away); Osceola (approx. 14.3 miles away in Wisconsin); Cascade Falls (approx. 14.3 miles away in Wisconsin); The Mills (approx. 14.3 miles away in Wisconsin); Geiger Brewery (approx. 14.3 miles away in Wisconsin); Osceola Bluff (approx. 14.3 miles away in Wisconsin); Osceola "Soo" Depot (approx. 14.3 miles away in Wisconsin).
Also see . . .  Pine Journal - Fire of 1918. The railroad area was temporarily out of the path of the fire, and the loading of people into railroad cars began. There were four or five passenger cars including the coaches from the northbound train which had been halted during the afternoon. These heated cars gave protection to as many of the sick, women with children, and the very old, as could be crowded into them; the rest of the people had to find transportation in open gondola type freight cars. Before morning the temperature approached the freezing mark, adding the misery of cold to the terror of the night. The influenza epidemic was at its 1918 height and this added to the critical situation. (Submitted on October 18, 2007, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.) 
Additional keywords. The Great 1918 Fire
Categories. Notable Events
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 2,789 times since then and 84 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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