"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
envelopes 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
A pair of Indianapolis men
in the retail shoe business were in Chicago the
afternoon of December 30, 1903 and happened down
Dearborn street when people were jumping from the
fire exits at the back of the Iroquois theater.
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.