THIS WEEK IN HISTORY: The old Lafayette Club burns to the ground June 18, 1922

Following a Saturday night dance, an early morning fire burned the old Lafayette Clubhouse to the ground on June 18, 1922. A passing motorist saw the ballroom in flames and rushed to the second floor to alert the sleeping guests.

Although many guests were slow to leave, and some even tried to go back into the clubhouse to retrieve their valuables, only two guests fell victim to the fire.

Mrs. Martin B. Koon and her guest Lucy Gilbert died because of their devotion to each other, although who sacrificed themselves for the other is uncertain.

According to the June 19, 1922, edition of the Minneapolis Evening Tribune, Gilbert fainted when the lights went out in the clubhouse and Koon would not leave without her, leaving them to perish in the flames.

Another account by Bergmann Richards claims that both women had escaped, but Koon ran back for some of her belongings. In Gilbert’s attempt to save her, both women died despite attempts to rescue them.

Pictured above is the Lafayette Clubhouse in 1900.

Information and photo from “Happenings Around Wayzata” by Ellen Wilson Meyer. 1980, p. 42, 74.


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