|Cows grazed in front of Comer Hall, probably in 1924.
The inside of the building was only two years old that year, having been
replaced after a fire gutted Comer in 1920. Nobody knew for sure
what started the fire that early Sunday morning in October. Nearly
sixty years later graduate Lyle Brown theorized that a still being used
to make distilled water in an overnight lab experiment had been the cause.
"In those days," he said, "it wasn't uncommon for the town water to be
cut off. When that happened, of course, the still kept running and
got so hot that it melted down and set the building afire."
Volunteers promptly laid a hose from town, but Phil Hardie, Cliff Hare?s
son-in-law, recalled that the water hose wasn't long enough to reach the
fire. The rebuilt Comer looks much the same today, but the cow pasture
lies mostly beneath an asphalt parking lot. -- Photo: AU Archives