INTERSECTION OF SOUTH JEFFERSON AND HOYT
FIRE OF 1893
Near site where fire of 1893 was brought under control
The last site on the tour marks a pivotal event in Saginaw’s history and one that profoundly shaped the residential district south of Hoyt Street.
On the afternoon of May 20, 1893 a fire started in an abandoned sawmill on the middle grounds - today it is known as Ojibway Island, a city park. A strong wind from the southwest quickly spread the fire to the east bank of the river into the residential district. By the time the fire was brought under control along the south side of Hoyt Avenue, more than 257 buildings had been destroyed. On the morning after the fire, the view to the South from the intersection of Hoyt and South Jefferson Avenues was one of desolation.
Within the burned area, the only major building to survive was Saint Mary’s Hospital. Although no portion of the current Hospital building dates from the time of the 1893 fire, the central part of the current facility is located on the site of the original buildings. A State Historic Marker near the front entrance details the history of the hospital and the fire.
Fifty years after the fire The Saginaw News stated: “That immediate rebuilding was recorded before the ground had cooled, gave promise that an even stronger and more vital community would rise out of the ashes of misfortune. In full measure Saginaw has justified that confidence.”
“The Worst Baptism of Fire Saginaw Ever Had.” The Saginaw Courier-Herald. 21 May 1893. 1.
The Detroit Free Press. 21 May 1893. 1.
The Saginaw News. 20 May 1943. 1 & 12.