Damn the Old Tinderbox!
Damn the Old Tinderbox!
Author: Matthew J. Prigge
305 pages. 41 b&w photos and illustrations. 5.5 x 8.5
ISBN: 978-0-87020-881-2
Publication Date: March, 2019
Published by Wisconsin Historical Society Press

For Library, Trade, and Wholesale
Price: $19.95
Product Details
Damn the Old Tinderbox: Milwaukee's Palace of the West and the Fire that Defined an Era
By Matthew J. Prigge

In the dead of an unassuming January night in 1883, Milwaukee's Newhall House hotel was set on fire. Two hours later, the building -- once among the tallest in the nation -- lay in ruins and over seventy people were dead. It was a tragedy that brought global notice to Milwaukee, with daring escapes and rescues and heart-wrenching tales of victims burned to death or killed as they jumped from the burning building. From the great horror emerged an even greater string of mysteries: Who had set the fire and who was to blame for the staggering loss of life? The Newhall's hard-luck barkeeper? A gentleman arsonist? What of the many other unexplained fires at the hotel? Had the Newhall's management neglected fire safety to boost their profits?

Damn the Old Tinderbox! is the gripping tale of one of the Gilded Age's forgotten calamities, a fire that remains among the deadliest unsolved arsons in American history, and a significant chapter in both the history of Milwaukee and the Midwest.

MatthewJ. Prigge is a freelance author and historian from Milwaukee and the host of the radio program What Made Milwaukee Famous. His work has beenfeatured in both local and national publications and has won multiple awards, including the 2013 William Best Hesseltine Award from the Wisconsin Historical Society Press and the 2017 Gambrinus Prize from the Milwaukee County Historical Society. He is the author of the Society Press book Milwaukee Mayhem and Outlaws, Rebels, & Vixens: Motion Picture Censorship in Milwaukee, 1914-1971

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