"Everything on the second floor is totally ashes," said
Todd, of Moselle, Mo., could see flames from four or five blocks away Sunday night when the fire broke out at about
Firefighters doused the flames, then lined up to salvage what they could from the still-smoldering rubble.
"They were absolutely wonderful," she said.
They expected the roof to collapse, so they brought out what they could, including two file cabinets and an old family Bible that was leather-bound with metal latches holding it together.
Through tears, Todd was making a mental inventory Monday morning of what had been lost in the fire:
A doctor's bag, stethoscope and pill bottles from a physician who made housecalls and delivered 5,000 babies in the early 1900s. Old schoolhouse pictures. An old hoosier cabinet and washboard. An original
Mementos from a shoe factory that was built in town in 1923. The town had raised money to build the factory. Women baked pies to auction. The original time clock and shoes from that era burned in the fire.
"It was a whole picture of everyday life from the late 1800s through 2014," Todd said. "You could walk through it and it was like walking through history. It was not a cold, rigid museum. It was a warm, loving place.
The history museum has been in the building since 1989. It was the Oddfellows building, built in 1899. Before moving into the building, the organizer spent about 20 years gathering material and going to estate sales to accumulate enough.
The museum was supported by volunteers and received no government funding. They had a trivia night to raise money. They took donations and charged for membership.
The museum was open on Saturdays from
"People from everywhere, even
Many of the families in
"I'm just crying and praying that we can get another place and rebuild," she said.
As fire investigators in
"The flames started in the attic," she said. "It burned from the top down."
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