Clark Court House Furnace Explodes

Evidence obtained in the robbery of the Abbotsford bank in 1909 suddenly asserted itself Tuesday afternoon at the Clark County courthouse where it did an instantaneous job of cleaning the furnace of all combustibles and ashes.

Mrs. Eilene Steuerwald, assistant clerk in the clerk of court office had been "cleaning house" in the office all day Tuesday and among the articles tossed into the waste basket was a two ounce bottle of 24 year old nitroglycerin, which she mistook for a harmless liquid.

Oluf Olson in due time carried the basket to the basement and threw the contents into the furnace.  He had scarcely got the door closed and taken a few steps when a blast occurred that sounded like an old fashioned 4th of July celebration.  Both doors of the furnace few open and all the ashes in the neighborhood came out into the room.

Oluf turned three double handsprings and when he stopped to see where he was discovered himself on the East Side of the standpipe.

W. J. Landry, county agent, Harry Fladstol and Elmer Huske, maple syrup buyer of Minneapolis, were near the milk testing room back of the furnace making a deal for 50 gallons of Clark county maple syrup when the earthquake struck.  They hurriedly put on their hats and coats and were two blocks away before the last echo of the explosion had subsided.

Had that amount of nitroglycerin been of its original power the blast undoubtedly would have removed all traces of the court house.--Neillsville Press (1913)





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