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The million-dollar Gay Street fire

On April 8, 1897, a small fire began in back of a hotel in Gay Street's business district and quickly spread through the expensive establishments that were the pride of the city. The fire claimed five lives and a million dollars' worth of property. Citizens criticized the city council for spending money on a new market house and Centennial celebrations rather than spending more on the newly-established professional fire department. Ordinances regulating fire escapes and shared walls found new support, as well.

About the Podcast

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Knox Pods
Podcasts of Knox County Public Library

About your hosts

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Melissa Brenneman

Melissa listens to hours of podcasts on most days. She started the habit with the intention of taking long walks, but podcasts proved to be more addicting than exercise. She records, edits and mixes podcasts for the library.
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Alan May

Alan May works as a reference librarian at Lawson McGhee Library. In his spare time, he reads and writes poetry. May's most recent books are Dead Letters (2008) and More Unknowns (2014). His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The New York Quarterly, The Hollins Critic, New Orleans Review, Plume, and others.