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FIRE OF 1893

Site 23

Near site where fire of 1893 was brought under control


The last site on the tour marks a pivotal event in Saginaw’s history and one that profoundly shaped the residential district south of Hoyt Street.


Fire of 1893On the afternoon of May 20, 1893 a fire started in an abandoned sawmill on the middle grounds - today it is known as Ojibway Island, a city park.  A strong wind from the southwest quickly spread the fire to the east bank of the river into the residential district.  By the time the fire was brought under control along the south side of Hoyt Avenue, more than 257 buildings had been destroyed.   On the morning after the fire, the view to the South from the intersection of Hoyt and South Jefferson Avenues was one of desolation.


Within the burned area, the only major building to survive was Saint Mary’s Hospital.  Although no portion of the current Hospital building dates from the time of the 1893 fire, the Birdseye view drawing of the fire of 1893central part of the current facility is located on the site of the original buildings.  A State Historic Marker near the front entrance details the history of the hospital and the fire.


Fifty years after the fire The Saginaw News stated:  “That immediate rebuilding was recorded before the ground had cooled, gave promise that an even stronger and more vital community would rise out of the ashes of misfortune.  In full measure Saginaw has justified that confidence.”






Rollover map of Historic South Jefferson Walking Tour 100 South Jefferson Avenue 403 South Jefferson - Dow House (This is connected to the First Congregational Church) Jeffers Park 403 South Jefferson - First Congregational Church 600 Federal Avenue 500 Federal Avenue - Castle Museum 505 Janes Avenue - Hoyt Library 303 Jefferson Avenue 310 South Jefferson Avenue 321 South Jefferson Avenue 523 Hayden 411 Hayden 505 Millard 503 South Jeffferson 508 South Jefferson 523 South Jefferson 505 Thompson 518 Thompson 604 South Jefferson 614 South Jefferson 615 South Jefferson St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral South Jefferson and Hoyt - Location of the fire of 1893



“The Worst Baptism of Fire Saginaw Ever Had.”  The Saginaw Courier-Herald. 21 May 1893. 1.

The Detroit Free Press. 21 May 1893. 1.

The Saginaw News. 20 May 1943. 1 & 12.