The Howard Lumber Wagon

After Tom P. Howard bought the lumber yard on 42nd and Hubbard Avenue North back in 1913, the Howard Lumber wagon became a frequent site in Robbinsdale. The company’s teamster, Peter Kimball lived about a block from the yard. Kimball was fond of children and riding his horse was a common experience for Robbinsdale kids. On Sunday May 4th, 1941 a terrible fire reduced the yard to ashes. Kimball discovered the blaze when he saw the flames from the front porch of his home. He ran to save his team but the fire, fueled by paint cans and partially filled oil drums spread to fast and flames lept 50 to 60 feet in the air. Thousands of spectators gathered and the Minneapolis Fire Department sent out two pumpers to aid the Robbinsdale volunteers. The Minneapolis Star reported that dozens of children watching the fire cried when they learned Kimball’s Horses had died in the blaze. On the Thursday before a feed store nearby burned and Robbinsdale Patrolman, Jack Bloberger investigated both scenes too see if the fires and been set, but found no evidence of arson. Howard’s wife, Alma K. Howard always believed the blaze was the work of a firebug.

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