Ashworth Hotel Burned

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The Hamptons Union, Thursday, November 20, 1913

Ashworth Hotel ca. 1912
The Ashworth Hotel, 1912-1913
[Photo not in original newspaper article.]

Good hydrant streams and little or no wind prevented a conflagration from sweeping over Hampton Beach early Wednesday morning, when fire broke out in the Ashworth Hotel, a four-story wooden structure, erected a year ago last summer. As it was, the hostelry was entirely destroyed, entailing a loss of about $20,000, while several smaller buildings in close proximity were badly scorched and damaged by water. The blaze is believed to be of incendiary origin.

Shortly before midnight Mr. O'Dea, who lives near the hotel was awakened by the light of flames shining in his bedroom window. On looking out he discovered that the exterior of the cook room in the rear of the hotel was all ablaze.

The alarm was quickly given and soon the winter residents of the Beach were manning the fire apparatus and several streams of water were being played onto the flames. The fire, however, had made such a headway before being discovered that it was found impossible to save the hotel and efforts were directed by the firefighters on the buildings nearby.

At one time it was thought that nothing could stay the progress of the blaze toward Hampton Casino, but determined efforts on the part of the volunteer crew, augmented by Capt. Charles and members of the Salisbury Beach Life Saving Station, who were rushed to the scene in an automobile when the light of the fire was discovered, kept the blaze in check and the all out signal was given about 1:15 o'clock.

Mr. Ashworth, the proprietor, reached the scene soon after the fire started. From him it was learned that nobody has been living in the building for a number of weeks, and from the fact that the fire was first discovered burning from outside, leads belief that the blaze was set.

Three other houses, one of them owned by Mr. Ashworth, adjoining the burned property, caught afire several times, but steady streams of water prevented their destruction. The houses, however, were badly damaged by the flames and the large quantity of water thrown into them.

"The Breezes," owned by E. Janvrin was damaged to the extent of $500.

The building, with its white pillars, was one of the finest hotels on the Beach. It was situated a short distance to the north of the Casino.

The light of the fire lighted up the whole northeastern sky and was plainly seen from Newburyport.

At one time it was thought that the whole Beach was doomed.

It is uncertain as to whether Mr. Ashworth will rebuild. His loss is a heavy one, amounting to more than $10,000 in excess of his insurance.

Editor's note: The Ashworth was rebuilt for the next season but it, too, fell victim to the flames in the big Hampton Beach conflagration of 1915. A third Ashworth was promptly constructed and still stands to this day. [2005]

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