Collapse of a Building

It was Fall of 1866.  The War was over and the focus was on the future.  There was much enthusiasm over the Village of Hillsdale having its own business college, right on Howell Street, across from the old Court House.  So enthused were the local business men, that they banded together to pledge a thousand dollars toward operation of the school.

A reading room was to be established in connection with the college, “to be open to citizens on the same condition as to student.”  Calkins, Griffin & Co. had already established a similar “Union Business Institute” in downtown Oberlin, Ohio, which had been a huge success.  An additional advantage was that the reading room would be located in the room which had previously housed Mr. Sampson’s “Billiard Saloon.”

A large three story brick building was put up by Ira Card and William Allen, with the commercial business school taking possession just in time for their Fall opening.  Local advertising for the opening of the new business school had been extensive. 

On Friday morning, September 28, 1866, at 4:00 a.m., the building came crashing down on the brick faced Dudley grocery store and dwelling to the north, burying the Dudley family in the ruins.  D.O. Dudley, his wife and 20 year old son were killed immediately, while another son died later.  Other children, asleep in the back of the grocery store, were not injured.  

The cause was attributed to a defective foundation partition wall between the new block and the one year old Sampson block to the south. 

The Dudley grocery store property, belonging to a William Porter, was sold to William Russell. 

After being rebuilt, the building was sold to James Fisher in 1874 to form a Bank, and resulting in "a solid block of brick buildings from what is known as Mott's corner to the Western Hotel."  

Carol A. Lackey