'World's Largest Stove,' Built For Chicago's 1893 World's Fair, Destroyed In Detroit Fire

08/15/2011 09:38 pm ET | Updated Oct 15, 2011

A Saturday night fire on the Detroit grounds of the Michigan State Fair resulted in devastating damage to a large wooden replica of a stove originally created for Chicago's World's Fair in 1893.

The stove, known as the "World's Largest Stove" and originally built by the Michigan Stove Co., has become a bit of a Detroit landmark, though the festival in its honor was shut down due to state funding cuts in 2009. A lightning strike likely sparked the blaze, AP reports.

The Detroit News reports that the fate of the 15-ton, 25-by-30-foot-long oak stove replica, painted to look like metal, is now up in the air since the summer storm reduced it to only a frame of its former self.

Michigan photographer and historical photo enthusiast Jan Kaulins described the stove to the Detroit Free Press as "one of the major icons, I think, kind of like the big tire out on I-94 … Just a bit of our history, something that'll never be replaced. No one’s going to build another 'World’s Biggest Stove.'"

Before it gained the title of the nation's Motor City, Detroit was formerly known as "the Stove Capital of the World," according to MSNBC. The Midwestern city was, at a time, home to five major stove-making companies.

The same line of storms that destroyed the stove replica, of course, had a more deadly impact on festivities at the Indiana State Fair grounds, when five, including well-known Chicago LGBT advocate Christina Santiago, were killed and many more were injured after a stage collapsed on fairgoers.

Photo by femaletrumpet02 via Flickr.

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