Posted: Monday August 28, 2017
St. Mark’s Church Fire – 1957
Since St. Mark’s Church held its first service on Sunday, December 7 1890, the building has endured its share of hardship. A fire could have destroyed the church in 1912 after one of Reverend Dr. John Henry Houghton’s pet tortoises knocked over a lantern while being kept in a wooden box.
Four decades later, a severe wind storm came along and was so strong that it downed the telephone and electrical wires, broke windows, hurtled signs through the air, and brought down hundreds of pounds of stone from St. Mark’s church’s tower.
In 1957, fire struck the church again. This time it was blamed on arson. It took fire fighters over an hour to battle a blaze that caused $5,000 damage to the interior of the Chapel of the Holy Comforter on the northeast corner of St. Mark’s Church. The fire was contained to the chapel but there was heavy damage to another chapel in the basement.
St. Mark’s wasn’t the only church hit by arson or theft at the time. After two church fires were blamed on arson, some local churches began locking their doors when the churches weren’t in use. Loyola Church, for example, locked all but one of its doors and kept watch on that one door.