January 4th 1887 South Main St Hanover NH

Today In Hanover History January 5th 1887

Submitted 2 years ago
Created by
Michael Hinsley

The citizens, businesses, Dartmouth College and town leadership faced the task of rebuilding after the most devastating fire to strike Hanover

Today in Hanover and Dartmouth College History January 5th 1887 the town and college faced the task of rebuilding after the largest most damaging fire / pretty much genuine conflagration destroyed much of the downtown business district. The fire which started in the Dartmouth Hotel spread rapidly and efforts to extinguish the fire were seriously hampered by the water available for firefighting and the recorded 30 degrees below zero temperature. A nice report of the fire is included at the end of this historical update.

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Map and Photo credit to Dartmouth College Rauner Library

East Wheelock St in 1886 showing The Currier House. The Dartmouth Hotel and Annex

South Main St in Hanover showing the Dartmouth Hotel The Carter building The Tontine and The Whitcomb Building 1886

January 4, 1887 30 below zero The fire started in the Dartmouth Hotel and quickly spread from building to building on the East side of South Main St

The Dartmouth Hotel and Main St buildings being consumed by flames January 4th 1887

The furnishings from the Dartmouth Hotel and businesses on Main St line the street after being saved from the spreading fire

South Main St Hanover NH prior to January 4, 1887 fire.Dartmouth Hotel all the way south to include the large "Tontine" building were destroyed

The height of the fire. Hanover Fire Personnel are exhausted water is frozen and the fire station located immediately behind the Tontine building is burning also. All hope rests in the arrival of Lebanon Fire

January 4th 1887 Lebanon Fire arrived and saved the Whitcomb building, today's Ledyard Bank, the Hanover Hardware of my youth(Toys in the basement!)

January 5th 1887 the smoldering remains of The Dartmouth Hotel and much of the Hanover business district

January 5th 1887 survey of losses from the fire the previous day

January 5th 1887 looking North on South Main St. The Whitcomb block trim is just visible on the right of this picture. It looks the same today. In the distance the Church of Christ at Dartmouth. This original building was also lost to a spectacular blaze. We will share that fire together soon

The downtown buildings were rebuilt with brick and mortar instead of wood. Fires, devastating fires continued to occur but fires involving multiple buildings, in the downtown district have not struck again, in the downtown.

Imagine how exhausted and utterly defeated one would feel as a firefighter or fire officer after much of your Main Street just went up in flames.

The only saving grace was all the fire equipment was in use at the time of the fire and almost none of the equipment or hose was lost in the fire because it was laying in the street and not in the Dartmouth Storehouse which was consumed by the flames.

Yeah, the storehouse was used to house the fire equipment…. Once again one of our fire stations consumed by fire.

Lebanon Fire who travelled by train from Lebanon to White River Jct then to the Lewiston station. They unloaded and pulled up the hill from Ledyard bridge and arrived just in time to halt the advancing flames and prevent more destruction.

The Hanover, Lebanon, Hartford and area Fire Departments work very closely today, as in 1887.

Our fire department's rely on each other, but never as much as we did on that cold January 4th morning of 1887!


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