Front page headlines for the “Kissimmee Valley Gazette”, Friday, March 9, 1917 issue reported:
“Kissimmee’s Historic Landmark Destroyed By Fire Last Sunday, Old Brandow Opera House, Owned by W.B. Makinson, Is a Total Loss”
“Kissimmee witnessed a thrilling scene Sunday morning when the fire laddies fought for hours (it seemed) to extinguish the conflagration which started in the three-story Makinson building next [to] his hardware store on Broadway and spread to the adjoining buildings.
About 2 o’clock the sleeping people were awakened by a series of pistol shots, and close upon the heels of the many queries ‘what was that?’ came the terrifying siren, the one blast telling all listeners that somewhere in the business section of the city, property was in danger. The whole sky seemed ablaze with light; great clouds of black smoke boiled up from the burning building and eddied out of the zone of light; long tongues of flame darted up into the sky and broke into a shower of sparks, which were carried blocks away on the light night breeze; while more terrifying than all else was the continuous roar of the red demon as it rapidly ate its way into the heart of the building and meniced [sic] all adjoining property.
By this time the frame building was one great blazing bonfire and the people began carrying household goods from the Park Hotel just across the street. A spark ignited the Aultman residence, but was extinguished by a bucket brigade.
It is uncertain what the loss is as the building is almost thirty-three years old, having been built in the fall of 1884 by the Brandow Brothers, who were photographers, and has been known as the Brandow opera house. For the past six or eight years it has been the property of W.B. Makinson and used to house the overflow stock from his hardware store and contained some $5,000 worth of stock the night of the fire.”
Source: “Kissimmee Valley Gazette”, Friday, March 9, 1917
Photo Courtesy: Osceola County The First 100 Years by Aldus M. and Robert S. Cody