Wilton, NH Fire, Dec 1874


The Business Portion of the Place Destroyed--List of Losses--Energy of the Citizens.

MILFORD, Dec. 2. 1874. All business part of Wilton was destroyed this morning. The fire was discovered in Wallace's block, at five o'clock. The only fire engine in the place was frozen up and useless. The street was narrow and the flames quickly caught the Whiting House, a large hotel, kept by Dr. W. Jones, and burned it to the ground. The stores of Frank Kent, confectionery; D. B. Needham, drygoods; W. J. Bradbury, druggist; George Wallace, clothing store; Dr. Trevett, druggist and N. D. Foster, stoves, were destroyed. Whitting's stable was burned, but the horses and carriages were saved. W. K. Jaques' dry goods, Smith's barber shop and Taggart's boot and shoe store, under the Whiting House, were burned out. The residence of Mr. Barrett was the only dwelling house burned. The savings bank preserved all its books, but the interior of the building was burned out. The fire company from Milford was sent for and reached Wilton at eight o'clock. Through their efforts Baldwin's block was saved and the fire checked. A steamer from Nashua arrived at a later hour and assisted in putting out the fire.


The village was a flourishing one on the Boston Lowell and Greenfield road, but has suffered severely recently. A flood swept away one of its mills; a fire destroyed another, and a recent defalcation had borne heavily on its business men. The loss of al the best business houses now nearly cripples the place--only four stores remaining. Some of the losers show commendable pluck. While the fire still raged D. B. Needham engaged a room for his goods, and will resume business. The first express out bore an order for new Post Office boxes from W. S. Bradbury, postmaster. He will again open his store, though on a smaller scale. Cinders from the conflagration reached Milford, five miles away.

New York Herald, New York, NY 3 Dec 1874



Wilton has suffered a terrible calamity from fire, by which the business centre of the village was swept away. On Wednesday morning at about 5 o'clock fire was discovered in a vacant room in Wallace's building, and before it was under control enveloped and destroyed the adjoining building, Post Office and Lynch's stable, crossing the street and destroying the Whiting House and cottage of Samuel Barrett.--When the alarm was given it was not known where the hand engine of the town was located, and when it was found it took fifty minutes to thaw it out. In the meantime a messenger was dispatched to Milford; and the Souhegan Company of that place made haste in reaching the conflagration and rendered good service in saving a portion of the town. The Peterborough Railroad sent a locomotive to Nashua, and Niagara Steam fire engine came to the rescue, and performed good service in preventing a spread of the fire. The streets and garden patches were stored with furniture and merchandise of every description, and altogether the winter outlook is dubious. The aggregate loss is in the neighborhood of one hundred thousand dollars, and falls principally to the Home Insurance Company of New York, Hartford and Phoenix of Hartford, and the New Hampshire Company. The Whiting House was built in 1866 by David Whiting. It was four stories on the main street and three on the back street, had fifty-one sleeping rooms, and was 187 feet long and 40 feet wide. The first story on the main street was occupied for mercantile purposes. The hotel was a well-known summer resort. The walls of the bank building only are left standing. The contents of the Bank vault were removed to a place of safety, and about one-third of the books in the Public Library were saved; also the greater part of the mail matter. The Masonic fraternity lost everything. The lodge had no insurance. The Chapter had one thousand dollars.