Transcribed by Crist Middaugh

Belmont Dispatch, Thursday, January 17, 1946


Freddy Dailey Escapes When Shack is Burned

“Freddy” Dailey's so-called “License Plate Shack,” up Manville way, on the Phillips Creek State Road, is today but a mass of twisted yesteryear auto licenses and, strangely enough, “Freddy,” the 72-year-old, bachelor, owner-occupant of the hovel since his construction of same some 25 years ago, is still alive despite the fact that he appears to have been caught in the flaming shanty and managed to escape in his enfeebled condition. As it is, the victim is a patient in the County Infirmary at Angelica, being treated there for first degree burns of face and hands.

The story is to the effect that shortly after noon, Tuesday, Mrs. Leon Bassett, a neighbor, noticed undue smoke emerging from he not too distant Dailey place, and after turning in the alarm, hastened to the scene. Here Mrs. Bassett met up with a couple of strange passers-by, who wore also attracted to the scene by the undue smudge. Inquiry was made for the “old man” just as the object of their concern stumbled through the closed doorway, grasping a small basin of water with which he had apparently been fighting the spreading flames.

The passers-by, augmented by neighbors and firemen, quickly on the scene, induced the aged man to desist his useless efforts to save his home and a neighbor, Leo Johannes, brought him to the village for treatment.

The Dailey shack had its inception some twenty-five or six years ago, the handiwork of “Freddy,” himself, and built on the site of another fire-destroyed domicile. The auto place siding and part of the roof was the result of a gift by County Clerk William W. Bush some fifteen years ago when the state gave county clerks authority to reclaim much needed space occupied by these obsolete pieces of metal hence his strangely adorned home. Several cases of these ancient plates, never unpacked, are still on the property.

For many months past neighbors have feared some sort of a catastrophe at this now destroyed home. Conditions appeared to have warranted the outcome and the thought of a cremation was all too common-place. “Freddy’s” obstinacy, his advanced age, and his “love for his home” seemed to work adversely to his own welfare, as well as the peace of mind of his well-meaning friends. Now all is seen in Manville. The “cure” may ave been severe, but after all, “Freddy” is much, much better off where he is today.