Dartmouth Hall Destroyed By Fire
Today in Hanover and Dartmouth College History February 18 1904
The bell in Dartmouth Hall's tower rang out eight times in the cold February 18th morning air and the cries of "Fire" soon followed. The Dartmouth reports that the Thursday morning Chapel service was interrupted by the report of the fire. Notice throughout these pictures four fire hose lines are flowing water attempting the extinguish the fire and then protecting the neighboring buildings exposed to the fire and flying embers. Also note the absence of any fire engines! The fire hose, nozzles and ladders were brought on hosewagons or a sled and were connected directly to the recently installed water system.
The original Dartmouth Hall was built in 1784-91. This original building served as classrooms, a dormitory, a library and a museum. The original building was proposed to be brick but was instead constructed of a wood timber frame and sheathed with clapboards. Records show the massive timber frame was raised in ten days in 1786. It took until 1791 to complete the building due to struggles securing the required funds. The nearly 118 year old wooden building was destroyed by fire February 18, 1904 by faulty wiring in less than two hours.
The February 18, 1904 Fire Report Recorded by A Storrs Foreman. "At a few minutes past 8 oclock in the morning the hose company was called to Dartmouth Hall. 4 streams were quickly laid but the fire was up under the roof where it could not be hit from the outside and the smoke so thick that it could not be reached from the inside."
February 18, 1904
Attempts to extinguish the fire continued, as well as efforts save as much of the items from the Library and Museum
The Base of the Bell Tower and attic space are well involved in fire. The smoke staining that is evident along the eves foretells what is happening inside the building.
Rear of the Dartmouth Hall Looking from about South Fayerweather Hall
Rear of Dartmouth Hall. The Bell Tower is showing pretty substantial damage and has a bit of a lean to it.
This image showing a backdraft or smoke explosion from one of the concealed spaces of the heavy timber frame building and resulting running for safety of fire company and bystanders.
Look also to the left at the number of people on the roof of Thornton Hall trying to "Stamp out embers"
One of my favorite images Ever.
The Feb 18 1904 etched onto the wet glass negative records the date. These images also show flames.
The small grouping of fire and college officials as well as their stance records the feeling of frustration, defeat and knowing that a monumental task lies ahead.
Smoldering Rubble. February 18, 1904
From the road to Shattuck Observatory Thornton and Wilder alongside the smoldering ruins,
From The Northwest corner of the Green. Wentworth Hall on the Left, Thornton on the right and Fayerweather Hall visible through the smoke.
This picture from the Dartmouth Green in Spring of 1904 with the occupants of Fayerweather Hall and Culver Hall in the rear right enjoying a view of the Green. Their view would not last as the call had gone out to the Alumni and in two years Dartmouth Hall would be rebuilt and dedicated.
1904 Map Shows the "New Dartmouth Hall" Under Construction. No North or South Fayerweather Halls yet and Culver Hall one of the New Hampshire College of Agricultural and Mechanic Arts is still shown.
The dashed lines with little black circles indicate where the new water mains and fire hydrants are located
Photo Credits to Dartmouth College Rauner Library
They are open on Saturdays until 1!!
Check out the -->Rauner Library BlogSpot on the 1904 Fire