Fire in Union Square

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What was it like in Milford 101 years ago in 1919?  With the end of World War I in November of 1918, Milford's veterans were returning home.  Those veterans oranized an American Legion post here in town and named it the Ricciardi-Hartshorn Post #23.  It was named for two of the young men from Milford that lost their lives fighting the war, Rosario Ricciardi (Sarooch's Uncle) and Louis Hartshorn.  

Automobiles were beginning to replace the traditional horse-drawn wagons that had ruled the roads for decades prior.  

An awful fire took place on May 4 of 1919 right in the heart of Milford on the West side of Union Square.  Alarms came into the fire department at 2:45 in the AM and indicated that the John T. Smith block on the West side of Union Square was burning.  A mutual aid call was made to the Nashua Fire Department.  They responded within an hour with a large pumping engine and 20 men and Milford and Nashua departments made headway against the stubborn blaze.  When they thought the fire was nearing control, it spread to the neighboring brick Flanagan block and burned further into the AM.  

There was significant loss to both of the strucutres but both were repaired and remain part of our downtown area today.  The brick Flanagan building today houses La Medina Restaurant and has housed many business over the years.  The Smith block to the North and next to the stone bridge is where the fire started.  According to the Milford Cabinet from May 8th, it started in a resaurant space on the street level of this building.


If you want to hear many stories of Milford fires and the many brave firemen of Milford, join us at Town Hall on Wednesday evening, March 4th at 7pm for a program by former Milford fireman Harold 'Pip' Adams.  He'll be treating us to decades worth of stories from both his and his father's experiences on the Milford Fire Department.  For more information on our program click on the link below.  We hope you can join us!

Thanks to Polly Cote for the image of back side of the burned buildings.  It was taken by her family members that lived in the home that sat where our Post Office is today.

March 2020 Program