Burned building was historically significant
The building destroyed by fire at 164 Main St. in Woodstock last week was on a historic site, according to Lemuel Hancock, Woodstock’s urban designer and town planner.
The location is the birthplace of 1st Lt. Charles Bare Gatewood, of the 6th U.S. Cavalry. Gatewood was the son of John Gatewood, the publisher of the Shenandoah Herald.
Charles Gatewood, a graduate of West Point Military Academy, was assigned to Fort Wingate in New Mexico as well as Forts Bowie and Apache in the Arizona territory. He was instrumental in the arrangement of the surrender of hostile Apaches under the leadership of Naiche, son of Cochise.
The historical marker placed at the site was removed during the fire and will be reinstalled at a later date.
“I think that there was some cultural significance to the property,” Hancock said. “(It’s important to) the story of the town. … It’s all part of the story of Woodstock, the cultural importance of which we didn’t want to lose.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, the rubble and debris from the razed building was still at the location. Hancock said it will remain until insurance adjusters can come to assess the situation. Hancock said adjusters were coming from Arizona.
The fire was determined to be caused by a malfunctioning extension cord, said Dave Ferguson, Shenandoah County fire marshal.
“That investigation led to an accidental fire caused by an extension cord that had overheated,” Ferguson said. “The occupant was in bed using a heating blanket and the blanket shut off and he went to investigate. He found the extension cord on fire in the stairwell.”
Ferguson explained that the extension cord was plugged in on the lower floor and the electric blanket was being used upstairs.
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