There are more than a handful of historic fires that changed Maynard, or at least the architecture of Maynard. These can be roughly divided into businesses and schools. All are well documented in the collection of the Maynard Historical Society, including many photographs.
The paper mill fire was reputed to be arson. At the gunpowder mill, fires caused explosions and explosions caused fires so frequently that the company had its own fire-fighting equipment. A compilation of various records show 24 explosions and 29 fatalities. The wool mill fire of 1920 meant the end of original wooden buildings from 1846.
DATE WHAT BURNED BUILT AFTER THERE NOW
1835-1940 Gunpowder mill gunpowder mill Stop & Shop; car dealers
5/14/1894 Paper mill ????? Tedeschi's/Dunkin Donuts [7-11]
11/26/12 Music Hall Tutto's Bowling Alley recently torn down buildings
9/20/16 Nason St. School
2/11/17 Naylor Block one-story storefronts Gallery Seven, Serendipity
1/25/18 Trolley building rebuilt office building
2/1/19 Bent Ice House another ice house that one burned in 1950
8/17/20 Wool mill more mill buildings Mill & Main buildings
1/29/21 Maynard Hotel Memorial Park Memorial Park
7/14/34 Riverside Block same building, fixed Gruber Bros Furniture [gone]
1/30/36 Riverside CO-OP brick building Knights of Columbus [KoC left]
12/17/52 Woodrow Wilson School Town hall and library Town hall and police station
3/13/55 Fraternal Order Eagles two story building Masciarelli Jewelry [gone]
7/29/65 Amory Maynard's house apartment building apartment building
Not listed above, but Booth's Bowling Alley burned in July 6, 1906. Suspicions at the time were that a pet monkey, which had the run of the place at night and knew how to strike matches, was responsible for the fire (the monkey suffered burns, but survived).
|Naylor Block, corner of Nassan and Main, the morning after the|
February 11, 1917 fire (courtesy Maynard Historical Society)
Amory Maynard's mansion is the only private dwelling listed here. It was built on the hill south of the mill in 1873, went up in flames in an early morning fire on July 29, 1965. The Maynard family was long-gone from town and the building divided into apartments. His son's former house still stands at 5-7 Dartmouth Street. It, too, was divided into apartments, but still provides semblance to Amory's even larger mansion. Both were capped with a Mansard roof. Copying this style became quite the vogue for well-to-do Maynard residents. See south end of Maple Street for examples.
In the modern era, the two-story building on Main Street that housed Salsalito's Restaurant and T.C. Lando's Sub & Pizzeria was consumed by flames in 1998, NAPA Auto Parts ditto in 2001, and Gruber Bros. Furniture suffered a smoky fire a handful of years ago.
To paraphrase Robert Frost, someone there is that doesn't love a school. Often a student. This is not to believe that school fires do not happen by accident. But history records five school fires (two in the table plus Nason Street School in 1879, Emerson-Fowler School in 1977 and Maynard High School in 1992) - and no record of any major church fires.
This write-up was not published in the Beacon-Villager