Bon Air Hotel Destroyed at Augusta
The Hotel Bon Air at Augusta, Ga., was completely destroyed by fire at an early hour on Friday, February 4. The Bon Air was one of the largest tourist hotels in the South and was erected in 1889. The building was five stories in height, of wood construction, and was 150 x 700 feet from north to south, with two wings connecting the main buildings facing the West. The hotel was situated in a beautiful park, surrounded by handsome trees and shrubbery on “The Hill,” the aristocratic residential section of Augusta, which is some 300 feet above the city proper. Two buildings were involved, the main section and the annex. There were two hundred and sixty guests registered at the hotel, and two hundred and twenty-five employees, all of whom left the burning structure in an orderly manner and no lives were lost and no one was injured. The fire originated from defective electric wiring in the dining room about 2.30 A. M. An alarm was sent in from Gamewell Box 411 at Walton Way and Hickman Road, opposite the hotel, and was quickly answered by the Augusta department. Chief Frank G. Reynolds immediately sent in a general alarm calling every piece of fire apparatus in Augusta. There were seventy-three firemen present, and the apparatus consisted of two Seagrave 900-gal. motor pumpers, one Seagrave 750-gal. pumper, one LaFrance second-size steamer. (horse-drawn), one Webb 750-gal. pumper, one Webb motor chemical, one Webb Combination wagon (motor), one American-LaFrance combination wagon (horse-drawn), and two Seagrave city service trucks (motor and horse-drawn). About eight double hydrants were in use, spaced from 300 to 1,100 feet from the fire. About twelve streams were thrown, this number being used for seven hours. There were about 8,000 feet of 2 1/2-inch cotton rubber-lined hose laid, some companies being compelled to lay lines of 1,100 feet. No wind was blowing at the time of the fire and the Augusta fire department prevented the fire spreading to adjoining residences and to the Partridge Inn Hotel, opposite the Bon Air. “The Hill” section contains some of the finest residences in this part of the country, as hundreds of northern tourists own their winter homes here. The Bon Air was the mecca for tourists from all over the country and has housed thousands of tourists for the past thirty years. Ex-President Taft and other noted guests have wintered at the famous hotel for several winters. This has been the largest fire in Augusta since the big conflagration of 1916. The entire loss was placed at $1,500,000.