Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

February 8, 2014

Appanoose County History


The Daily Iowegian

CENTERVILLE — Feb. 8, 1924: All the people of Centerville were tuned to their radios this night to hear their own “Whistling Girl” — Esther Campbell. She was in Los Angeles developing her talent and was about to whistle her way to fame as the whistler in Walt Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” Soon they’d hear her again when the movie arrived at the Majestic. (296)

Feb. 9, 1893: Between 4 and 5 a.m. a furnace overheated in the basement of Centerville’s Continental Hotel. Dense smoke and flames rapidly spread. Guests struggled along the landings and balcony but, disoriented on the last stairs, piled dangerously into each other. Town people, now in force in the snow and ice outside, rushed the survivors (many shoe-less) to the warmth of neighboring buildings. And they watched as the escape routes of two occupants failed. Samuel Lewis of Greeley was seen and heard at a third floor window. People motioned for him to go east in the direction of the least fire. He disappeared, threw out his coat and then fell back into the flames. Mrs. Susannah McKee — the proprietress, manager and Centerville’s first business woman — was trapped on the third floor after repeatedly checking that her workers were safe. She jumped. The 40 foot fall was too great. Unconscious, she was rushed to the home of her daughter, Jennu Lloyd Lane where she died the same day. (111-113)