The above image is one of my favorites from our Historical Photos collection. It depicts the May 4, 1930 Crown Hill Fire. This photo is also published in “The Nashua Experience: History in the Making” along with the following information about the Crown Hill Fire:
… many Nashuans were suddenly made homeless by a fire which started on the Sunday afternoon of May 4, 1930. The blaze began in a trestle of the Boston and Main Railroad, where it spanned the Nashua River off Temple Street. A high wind from the northwest carried embers to the roof of a factory building. Soon the fire spread across Temple Street, down Spruce and across East Hollis Street to the Crown Hill residential area. Within hours flames swept from one building to the next, as frantic residents helped battle the blaze with bucket brigades, shovels of dirt, and even blankets. Fire apparatus came from surrounding towns and as far away as Boston to battle the conflagration. As the day and evening wore on, almost four hundred homes were destroyed. The area was reduced to a wasteland of ashes with only a few chimneys and skeletons of trees left standing. The total loss was set at well over two million dollars. Most of the homeowners, having little or no insurance, were devastated by the catastrophe. The National Red Cross aided at the scene while temporary shelter was set up in the National Guard Armory. Most victims salvaged only a few belongings and moved in with friends and relatives. Meanwhile, a local committee organized by the Mayor began raising a relief fund which soon totaled about eighty thousand dollars, to provide financial help.
Civic groups such as the Good Cheer Society helped the many homeless people. An untold number helped directly with clearing the ashes and debris, and relocating and sheltering hundreds. The local relief effort demonstrated once again the fortitude and generosity of the community in helping one another overcome sudden calamity.
We also have this photo as part of a small collection of Historical Photos available on our website! – You can look at pictures from the Crown Hill Fire, the fire that knocked out the Main Street Bridge in 1925, a fire in 1947, a fire from 1872, etc. Oh, but it’s not all destruction, we also have a picture of the Indian Head Coffee House which used to be where the First Congregationalist Church now is. There’s a picture of the Old City Hall. The old Power Station is there (that’s the building that is now Margarita’s). A picture of the aftermath of the hurricane of 1938 (ok, so there are a few more pictures of destruction… ) – you can have a look at the online photos here.