This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V23", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
A church adjoining Horticultural Hall, took fire on Feb. 1st, and burnt out some $170,000. The roof of Horticultural Hall took fire, and the whole upper floor was destroyed. Some $50,000 of damage was done. The valuable library of the Society was not removed, but escaped injury, except a little from water. Mr. W. L. Schaffer, the President of the Society, who, as our readers know, now owns the hall, has not yet decided to rebuild it immediately.
The church fire originated after the same old story. The iron of the heater had but one course of bricks between it and the floor joists. It is amazing that bodies of men associated together in churches and such like, to make people better and wiser, do not see that knowledge of earthly things is as important to human beings as things spiritual. We will venture to say that if any one interested in the management of this church had been a careful reader of a $2 horticultural magazine, the body would not now be under the necessity of raising $170,000 to repair damages, nor would the Horticultural Hall have met with its misfortune. Our readers know that it does not require wood to be in contact with fire to burn in time. It may not burn this year or next; but it chars gradually, though the charring work is not seen; and further, it should be known that heat confined is always more dangerous to adjacent woodwork than when the air has a chance to circulate about it.
This beautiful hall is an illustration of the old adage, "Give a dog a bad name, &o." About the time it was building a scurrilous sheet was refused some advertising which it demanded. It at once set forth that the building was "unsafe," that its "acoustics were bad," that it was "unfortunate." Respectable papers not perfectly understanding the real situation followed in the cry, and the result has been that while the building was in every respect as great a success as such buildings generally are, it came to be looked on as really having something weak about it, with the natural result of financial misfortune. It is indeed singular how long a fictitious character of this kind can be made to stick. The daily papers of the best class, in their "Obituaries" of the burnt building, had well-meant notices of its "failures." It is no encouragement to its owner to rebuild under these circumstances, and if Philadelphia does not in future have its fine hall for public meetings and so forth to boast of, it will only be from the ill-advised course of its respectable newspaper press, which has been led unwittingly into a false track.