Almost exactly 110 years later, local historian Tracy Reinhardt will revisit the harrowing Night the Churches Burned at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., Thursday, September 20, at the Fond du Lac Public Library. The programs are free; no registration required.
Reinhardt will tell the story of the fateful night – September 25, 1908 – when a fire that started at Crescent Garage on the corner of Marr and Second streets spread and destroyed St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and the Congregational Church, and severely damaged Grant School, St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, Salem Evangelical Church and several homes.
Reinhardt literally wrote the book, The Night the Churches Burned, copies of which will be available for sale and signing. She was born and raised in Fond du Lac County and has been collecting stories of family and early Fond du Lac history for more than 40 years. She is library director/archivist for the Fond du Lac County Historical Society.
The program is a part of the library's monthly local and state history stories program, History at Home, at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. every third Thursday of the month (no program in December). Many History at Home programs are captured on video and shared on the library's YouTube channel.
In the photo: The notorious fire of 1908 destroyed seven buildings, including St. Joseph's Church, Crescent Garage and Grant School. Photo courtesy Tracy Reinhardt.