Destruction of St. Charles’ College.
Fire, which started at 1:30 p. m. on March 16 and burned practically unchecked for two hours, almost entirely destroyed St. Carles’ College, a preparatory institution of the Sulpician order for the Catholic priesthood, about 20 miles west of Baltimore, Md. The loss is estimated at $250,000, fully covered by insurance. The fire started in the furnace room in the main building and when the flames burst through the flooring of the first story strong winds swept them to every part of the edifice. The Ellicott City fire department, 5 miles distant, was called upon, but by the time it had completed the uphill climb the fire had burned itself out. The only water to be had was from a lake 800 feet distant. It was a holiday and the students were scattered about the grounds and in the recreation hall. A rush was made to their rooms, but many of them were unable to save their clothing and books. The college library of 15,000 volumes is almost a complete loss. Rev. F. X. McKenny, president of the college, announced that the college would be rebuilt and be hoped it would be ready for occupancy in October.
It was a historic old place, the ground for which was given to the Sulpician fathers, who have always been in charge of it, by Charles Carroll, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Mr. Carroll turned over to the founders, who under the charter secured by Mr. Carroll were to be members of the Sulpician order, a lot of land of 253 acres, which for years previous had been known as “Mary’s lot.” At the same time Mr. Carroll gave to the project a sum of more than $5,000 with which to begin the work of construction. Though the corner stone of St. Charles’ College was blessed in 1831, the growth of the college did not assume decided proportions until about the middle of the last century, since which time it had been the educational home for hundreds of young men preparing for the priesthood from all parts of the United States. At present there is said to be about 250 students at the college.