FIRE! Shaping Ottumwa's Landscape 1847-1999


In the 170 years of its history, the city of Ottumwa, Iowa has experienced more than 50 disastrous fires and the loss of four firefighters in the line of duty. From leveling downtown blocks to destroying an entire college campus, fire has shaped the landscape of this river town, destroying landmarks but also paving the way for new development. Fires, and the firemen who fought them, are a crucial piece of the city’s story.

Doug Potter is an Ottumwa historian. Leigh Michaels is the author of more than 100 books, including local history.

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