View of the Past: What was left of the L. Allen & Sons department store after the devastating fire of May 23, 1953

(Submitted Photo)

This week’s view shows what was left of the L. Allen & Sons department store after the devastating fire of May 23, 1953 that destroyed the east half of the 100 block of West First Street in O’Fallon.  The fire, believed to have been started by burning rubbish, consumed the Shamrock Hotel and Taproom, Gene Brown’s barbershop, the Central Bowling Alleys and Allen’s store.  Interestingly, part of the brick walls shown still standing in the photo were incorporated into the new building (still there today) that replaced the store, giving it the same footprint as the old. The east wall of today’s Wood Bakery stands up against the right wall in the photo.  

(Contributed by Brian Keller, O’Fallon Historical Society)