November 24, 2013 in City

Jim Kershner’s this day in history

By The Spokesman-Review

From our archives, 100 years ago

When people in Coeur d’Alene first saw flames on the shoreline across the lake, they assumed it was merely a big bonfire at a merry Thanksgiving house party.

Instead, it was the lavish Peyton family lake house, known as “Washington Place,” burning to the ground.

Mrs. Peyton, widow of Col. Isaac N. Peyton, barely escaped from the burning log structure. Her nurse, three servants and a caretaker also made it out with their lives.

Yet it was a close call. Mrs. Peyton was awakened by the sound of breaking glass and opened her door to a wall of flame. She woke up her nurse, and they roused two servant girls in a nearby room. They all made their way outside through “smoke and flame which almost engulfed them.” One of the servant girls suffered a deep gash on her arm, all the way to the bone. The nurse used a sheet to make a tourniquet.

Then the women went to the adjoining cabin, which was also ablaze, and awakened a male servant and a caretaker. They tried to extinguish the blaze, but no water came from the hydrant. The pipes had already burst.

The $30,000 home and cabin were a total loss. Art collected by Col. and Mrs. Peyton over 30 years was also destroyed.

The fire started around a fireplace in which logs had been burning continuously for 72 hours.

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