Andy Peddycord with his dappled greys and the Salem Button steamer

Andy Peddycord with his dappled grays and the Salem Button steamer

1892 was a good year for the town of Winston, NC. Two important buildings, a new Town Hall, and  the most luxurious hotel in North Carolina, the Zinzendorf, had opened for business. The West End Hotel & Land Company had plans for more. But shortly after midnight on Monday, November 14, 1892, the fire bell in the new town hall began tolling. Before the next midnight, it would toll twice more and the better part of three city blocks would be gone, the worst single day in city fire history. You can read that story here:
https://northcarolinaroom.wordpress.com/2015/04/14/the-phoenix-rises-from-the-ashes/

leapyearparty

Just four days later, the single young women of the town hosted a Leap Year party for the young, and not so young, bachelors at the splendid new hotel. It was an upbeat occasion and there was a lot of talk about how the hotel was turning Winston into a tourist attraction. The following Thursday was Thanksgiving Day. Early that morning, R.J. Reynolds and John Cameron Buxton, a lawyer and the chairman of the school board, went hunting near what is now Hanes Park. On the way home, they dropped off some turkeys and geese with the hotel chef to be cooked for their Thanksgiving dinner.

Architects & Builders Magazine, 1891

Architects & Builders Magazine, 1891

Public area of the Zinzendorf Hotel, 1892

Public area of the Zinzendorf Hotel, 1892

Shortly after 11:00 AM, someone noticed smoke coming from the hotel laundry room and used one of the new fangled telephones to call the Town Hall. The bell in the town hall began tolling. Winston’s ten year old La France steam pumper was dragged a few yards up the Fourth Street hill, connected to a street car and began its three quarter mile run to the hotel site. In Salem, whose bell was also tolling, Andy Peddycord, who worked as a teamster for both the town of Salem and the Wachovia Mill, unhitched his magnificent pair of dappled gray Percherons and led them to the Salem fire station on Liberty at the foot of Cemetery Street. They were soon racing northward toward Fourth Street towing Salem’s Button steamer.

The Winston Fire Department occupied the are where the two arched doors are beyond the awning on Fourth Street

The Winston Fire Department occupied the area where the two arched doors are beyond the awning on Fourth Street

Winston's 1882 La France steamer

Winston’s 1882 La France steamer

As he turned onto Fourth, Peddycord could see the Winston steamer crossing Cherry Street, two blocks away. He gave the reins a shake and urged his charges to pick up speed. It became a race, street car versus horse. Peddycord never touched his whip, but the horses were gaining steadily. Hundreds of people stopped on the sidewalks to watch. As they passed the Walker Brothers Tobacco Factory in the 600 block of West Fourth, the Salem horses caught and passed the streetcar and cruised up to the hotel hydrant with thirty yards to spare.

racemap

ppstory

Unfortunately, it did not matter who won the race, because when the hoses were connected, there was insufficient water pressure to fight the fire. A good sized crowd gathered to watch the magnificent new hotel burn to the ground. The hotel’s $100,000 insurance policy fell at least $25,000 short of covering the loss, but the owners announced that they would rebuild immediately. The Panic of 1893, which rolled on to 1897 put an end to that idea and the West End became a residential development.

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Andy Peddycord later told a reporter that when he first spotted the Winston steamer, the streetcar was running at “seven notches”, but that he put on seventeen notches. And John Cameron Buxton cracked to another reporter “Well, my goose sure got cooked.”

Salem's Rough & Ready crew, c 1890. Names read left to right. Andy peddycord is sixth from left. Captain Pfohl is holding a speaking trumpet.

Salem’s Rough & Ready crew, c 1890. Names read left to right. Andy Peddycord is sixth from left. Captain Pfohl is holding a speaking trumpet.

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