Sunday, January 16, 2011

For Binghamton Fire, It's "Deja Vu All Over Again"

Yogi Berra couldn't have said it better. The actual headline was "Will the Strong survive?

I had blogged about the fire in December that could have taken out three historic buildings in downtown Binghamton.  The fire started in something called the "Midtown Mall" which originally was called the Strong building.

Someone, right after the fire, had promised me some historic photos of downtown that I could post on this website, including at least two pictures of other historic downtown fires.  I still don't have the promised photos, but the newspaper article has a picture of a 1919 fire (a fire with similarities to the December fire) next to a photo of last month's fire.

Similar?  Well, both fires apparently started in similar areas of the building.  Both fires didn't involve injuries (thankfully) but the fire fighters of 1919 and 2011 had to use heroic measures to save the buildings.

In 1919 the "phoenix rose from the ashes", so to speak, and the department store that occupied part of the building stayed in business, and even expanded, until the 1970's and the move to suburban mall shopping killed it.

There had also been a masonic temple, and that was rebuilt on Main Street in Binghamton in 1922.  That Main Street building has had a bit of an interesting history but today stands majestic, but empty.  Its renovation ended, partly done, over 20 years ago.

Let's hope the same doesn't happen for the Strong building.  Downtown Binghamton deserves better.

(And let's hope I can get hold of those photos.  I'd love to post them!)

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