Other than the date is march 13, 1909 and it is a building fire of the Rock Island Depot we we can't offer much more information. The blurry nature of the picture is evident on the postcard itself and not a result of anything we did. The Rock Island Depot, as far as we know, has always been located on Central Avenue just south of the downtown area. The depot we are familiar with was a brick structure so it is possible it replaced this one after the fire.
A friend of our site sent us this scan of what appears to be the same fire on the same structure. It is a little clearer than our card but we don't have much other information about the incident.
These two picture postcards prompted a visitor to send us a short story about her grandparents as it related to the depot fire. We have her permission to publish it here and feel it gives some historical perspective to the event.
Your post card of the Estherville depot burning reminded me of the story my dad's family tells about Grandma Olga Vagle coming from Norway to Estherville as a young woman to meet the young man she was to marry. She spoke no English. William Vagle was a baker in Estherville and had emigrated from Norway a couple of years earlier. He sent her the fare and told her to watch for the "Estherville" depot once the train got to Iowa. Apparently, the depot had burned down between the time he sent the letter and the time she arrived. There was no "Estherville" depot, so she stayed on the train and they didn't discover the problem until the next town. There was no returning train until the next day so she waited at that station. Apparently, they figured out the problem in Estherville, and someone drove to the next town to get her. I understand they lived in Estherville for several years.
If you would like a full size scan of this card for your personal use please send e-mail and we will make it available to you. We do not honor requests for scans to be used in commercial ventures.
If you entered this page directly you can find more about our hometown of Estherville by clicking here and look for the hometown page link.