Steamboat Building in Elizabeth, PA

A Journal of daily activities at the Elizabeth Marine Ways 1898 to 1925 

Fires at The Ways

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There are various entries in the Journals of JW Lynch that document fires that occurred at the Elizabeth Marine Ways. This page lists those fires in sequence.

 To view a larger image click on that particular image


Sunday evening July 11th 1869 ............ The first fire that JW writes about is at the location of the Ways when it was the Elizabeth Planning Mill in 1869.   I do not know when he wrote this entry as in 1869 he was only seven years old.  He wrote that "the Marine Ways Saw Mill in the 1860s was the S. P. and I. N. Large Planning Mill, it burnt down Sunday evening July 11, 1869.  My mother took me with her out on the hill where the O'Neil houses now stand and we watched from their. The Elizabeth cemetery was littered with charred boards."  On this page he also wrote that the Joseph Walton Sawmill burnt down in 1874.  Below are two old photos showing wood working mills before the Elizabeth Marine Ways was formed.


March 9, 1900  has the Blacksmith Shop fire caused by a workman lighting his pipe.

November 22, 1902 ....the Sawmill partly burns for a loss of $8,000

February 9, 1908 has a big fire at the Ways on a Sunday

January 11, 1911 the Blacksmith Shop burns early in the morning

March 4, 1913  JW sees the Sawmill burn for the fourth time

November 17, 1913 the Boiler House burns and then a flood hits the Ways

March 27, 1939 many of the building JW saw burn are being torn down


The photos below are from the collection of the Elizabeth Township Historical Society showing after a fire at the Elizabeth Marine Ways.  The date of the fire shown is unknown other than it was during the early 1900's which means any of the above dates would be possible.   Many of the photos are blurred which could mean that either the camera or the people or both were moving when the photo was taken. It is unknown if all of the photos were taken on the same day or even after the same fire.  The only clues to the possible dates is that some of the photos appear to have snow or ice on the ground and people are dressed for cooler temperatures.  The fire appears to be smoldering in several of the photos as it gives the impression of being smoky.  My best guess is that these pictures are of the fire of February 9, 1908 as JW wrote that this was a big fire with many buildings burning and these photos appear to show such a fire.  Of note is that JW's journal entries indicate that work on the boats continued the next day after the fire of February 9, 1908.



The man on the left has a strong resemblance to JW Lynch.  If it is then it could be that the two children near him are his oldest son Percy and his son Will.  Maybe....Maybe Not.       



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