"I have been
unable to do 10 cents worth of work since I came
back home early this morning. The sight
was awful and will remain with me as long as I live.
Mr. Kingsbury and myself passed the alley in the
rear of the theater just as the flames burst through
the windows behind the stage. A moment later the
fire escapes were packed with women and children, to
say nothing of men and boys, all eager and crowding
to get to the ground. Suddenly a tongue of flame
burst out of the rear of the building and as it
enveloped the people on the fire escapes we could
see them drop to the ground. People continued to
crowd out on the fire escapes only to be burned
alive or pushed off to certain death by others who
were coming after them. This was before the fire
department arrived and it was the most horrifying
scene I ever witnessed. Mr. Kingsbury and myself
talked to several of the people who were burned, but
who were fortunate enough to be alive, and among
them was the first man who made his escape by the
fire ladder. His face and hands were terribly burned
and his hair was singed completely off, but he was
alive and he thanked God for that."
Arthur G. Brown
Arthur G. Brown (1868-) worked for the George Marott
shoe store and Samuel D. Kingsbury (1865- ) for the
Manufacturer's Shoe Company.
By 1922 George Marott boasted that his seven-story
facility on East Washington street in Indianapolis
was Indiana's largest shoe store. Arthur Brown had
been promoted from clerking to managing by then and
Samuel D. Kingsbury had joined the staff as
advertising manager after the Manufacturer's Shoe
company was dissolved in October, 1917.
To his retail holdings, George J. Marott eventually
added a department store and hotel. Marott had came
to America with his parents from England in 1875.
George started his business with $176 in 1881.
Discrepancies and addendum
Indianapolis newspaper initially reported Samuel
Kingsbury's name as "A. D. Kingsbury." This
was one of many errors the paper published,
including large photos claimed to be of the Iroquois
interior that were of an altogether different
theater and a picture said to be of the cast on
stage when the fire started that was an altogether
different scene in the play.