Long Ago the Half Moon Bay Brewery Burned to the Ground

Partial Story from the “Coastside Advocate”

No date, probably 1890s.


“The Halfmoon Bay Brewery Burned to the Ground”

“Fire! Fire!! Fire!!! was the dread cry that went up from a score of lusty throats and was echoed and re-echoed through the streets of Halfmoon Bay last Saturday night at half-past eleven o’clock. Almost immediately the harsh clanging of bells and sharp report report of fire-arms added emphasis to the fearful alarm.

“People rushed from their homes and into the streets to seek the location of the conflagration. They had not long to seek. The southeastern portion of the town was already illuminated by long tongues of flame, hissing and roaring as they greedily consumed the dry and resinous timber.

“Schubert’s brewery was on fire! The flames were well under way and it was evident at a first glance that the building and its contents were doomed.

“The able-bodied population of town was on hand with commendable promptness and was soon fighting the relentless flames with a determination which is shown only on occasions of this kind.

“The baseball club’s dance was in full progress at the time the alarm was given and the dancers fled in a body to the fire and went to work with a will.

“As it was impossible to save the brewery the people directed their efforts toward saving the residence and barn, the former of which was almost adjoining the building now in flames. A few cool heads soon took control of the operations, dispelled the confusion and got the crowd to work systematically. Bucket brigades were formed and water was passed along to those stationed in the pathway of the fire, who, by its judicial use were enabled to extinguish the incipient flames on the rear portion of the residence as fast as they could catch.

“The scene was grand and exciting. The huge mass of flames reaching fifty feet in height, reflected back by the dense fog overhead, cast a gleam over the adjacent portion of town, illuminating every nook and cranny with a lurid glare. The excited multitude running to and fro in their frantic efforts to do what should be done; the babel of voices and roaring of the fiery vortex, all made a scene which impressed one with nervous fascination.

“Regardless of the admonition of caution and deliberation administered by the cool heads among the workers, the crowd rushed into the dwelling, smashed windows, broke furniture and upset things generally. Although working with the best intentions to save property, they did much unnecessary damage.

“The greatest drawback in the successful handling of the fire was the scarcity of water. No hydrant was available near at hand and water had to be carried from Mrs. Haffords, Quinlan’s and from the hydrant on Simmon’s corner and the creek. Time and again the back of the residence caught fire from the intense heat, but through the persevering and faithful efforts of the citizens the residence and massive [words missing] and a good portion of the town was saved.

“The fire lasted about four hours and nothing remained of the brewery but a heap of smoldering ashes and chimneys, furnace and cellar.

“Mr. Schubert estimates [his damage at] $12,000 on which he will receive insurance–$3,869 on the brewery, $280 on the residence, set by the insurers of the company in which he was insured.

“The fire was first discovered by Mr. Smith, who saw the reflected light in his room….”

[While there is more to this article, I cannot