The History of Seward by Hotel Seward: The 1941 Fire

Jan 24, 2018

Historic Hotel Seward, Alaska’s premiere boutique hotel, is proud to be located in the quaint seaside town of Seward, Alaska, the gateway to Resurrection Bay and Kenai Fjords National Park. The history of our town is full of fascinating stories and we’re honored to share photos from our vast collection that is on display in the common spaces of our historic building.

The 1941 Fire

On November 23, 1941, a devastating fire tore through downtown Seward. Around eleven-thirty that evening, the proprietor of the Second Chance Barber Shop on Fourth Avenue tried to light his oil stove. Some fuel spilled on the floor and it ignited when he lit the match. Fort Raymond sent hundreds of soldiers to assist in the operation to put the fire down. The soldiers wanted to try out a fire-fighting technique that they’d learned in fire-fighting school. They decided that they would put the blaze out by dynamiting it. The results were mixed. In one case, the explosion blew burning embers across Fourth Street onto the three-story Arcade Building, starting a fire that gutted the place. In the end, two entire business blocks were destroyed.

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