The newspaper article below was published in the Mount Kisco Record on December 20, 1890. It tells an interesting story how Chappaqua residents banded together to prevent a conflagration that could have destroyed their town. A fire that started at Mr Alexander Yerk’s store quickly spread and challenged the residents of Chappaqua to save their town as there was no “Chappaqua Fire Department ” until 1910. The story gets even more interesting when you look through the newspaper and gather related articles. Prior to the fire, Mr Alexander Yerks was a well respected and generous member of the community. In the five years leading up to the fire, he was also known for making the “Alexander Yerks Hall” available to the community for social events. Countless community organizations including church groups utilized the space.
From the Mount Kisco Recorder:
- 18 Mar 1887 – Alexander Yerks hosts a “Japanese Surprise Social”
- 27 Jan1888 – Alexander Yerks and the Chappaqua Baptist Church hosts a “Donkey Socialable”
- 11 Jan 1889 – The Mount Kisco Recorder calls for his recognition of service to his Country. He spent three years fighting for the North during the Civil War.
- 21 Jan 1889 – Cassius Yerks, Alexander’s son, left the Chappaqua Shoe Factory and took a position with a shoe Factory in Lynn, Massachusetts.
- 18 Jan 1889 – Alexander Yerks made signifiant improvements to his property, formally used as a Wheelwright Shop.
- 19 Apr 1889 – Alexander Yerks opens his new Grocery Store.
- 5 Dec 1890 – Just 15 days before the fire, the I.O.G.T (possibly the International Order of Good Templars) voted to change Yerks’ Hall into a “Lodge Room”.