Collapse
Quad River News--Dec 19, 1984
By Bill Glastone

The accompanying picture shows the northwest corner of the square in Grant City as it looked on the morning of October 30, 1902. During the night before two buildings had collapsed, leaving one person dead and thousands of dollars of damage.
At that time all of the buildings on the north half of the west side of the square were two story buildings. The fronts of all five of the buildings had the same façade. The second story of the Times Tribune building looks very much the same as it did then.
M.F. (Mort) Smith operated a store in the end building on the northwest corner. He had been in business in Grant City many years. In the account of the fire that destroyed all of the business houses on the south side of the square in 1882 it mentions that his store had been saved from the fire. In 1885 Smith had moved his business to the location on the west side of the square.
In the summer of 1900, Smith, who owned the building in which he had his store, rented the building adjoining him to the south from R.H. Deihl, Columbus Junction, Ia. and cut two archways through the adjoining wall to expand his clothing business. It was generally agreed that the weakening of this wall let to the collapse of the two buildings some two years later.
The second floor of the corner building was occupied by Dr. Ernest Ewing. In addition to his office space he also had his living quarters. When the building collapsed Dr. Ewing and his wife were in bed in the front part of the building and they were not harmed. In a bed in the rear of the building were two young men in their late teens; Argus Brown from near Allendale who was staying with Dr. Ewing and taking treatments from him and Lester Showalter who was a brother of the doctor's wife. Showalter was from Leon, Ia., and was staying in Grant City to attend school. Both boys were covered with bricks and debris in the basement. Rescuers were able to save Brown but were unable to get Showalter uncovered in time to save his life.
Smith salvaged what he could out of the collapsed buildings and moved his store to the northeast corner of the square. He immediately began the ordeal of cleaning up and then rebuilt. By the end of July of 1903 he was back in business on the northwest corner of the square in a new one story building.
At the time of the collapse of the buildings B. Prugh operated a hardware store in the building just to the south of the Deihl building. Fearing that the north wall of his building had been weakened, he moved out of that building and proceeded to remove the second story from his building. Shortly after, Prugh purchased an old livery stable on the north side of the square, razed it, and built the building presently occupied by the hardware store.
The Pixie Shop is now (1984) located where the Smith, Deihl and Prugh buildings were in 1902.