, Derry, New Hampshire


October 25, 2012

Column: On a bitterly cold night, fire took Derry’s Adams Building


A week after the fire, a poem on the fire appeared in the Derry News by Mrs. J. H. Ross; it was titled “Faithful Firemen”:

It was late in the night,

And most all were in bed;

When the fire alarmed sounded

And the horse carriage sped.

Straight down Broadway,

The crowd was turning,

And the cry went forth,

“Memorial is burning.”

The firemen worked hard,

As do men of their class,

And sent stream after stream

On the burning mass.

Tho it wasn’t much use,

And they saw it must go,

It wasn’t because

Derry’s firemen were slow.

T’was a bitter cold night,

More than twenty below;

Not a man left his post,

Until told he might go.

Were there more like the firemen

In this little town,

Derry would soon

Be a place of renown.

Now we are grateful to Manchester

And all the others

Who stood by our men

As if they were brothers.

And we hope they will call us

If ever an need;

God bless the brave firemen,

May they ever succeed.

Well I suppose we all can’t be a Robert Frost! The sentiment is nice though. The Adams Memorial Building would burn again in 1927. It has been on the National Register of Historical Places since 1982.


Rick Holmes is the official town historian of Derry and plans to hold office hours at the municipal center. He is the former chairman of the Derry Heritage Commission. Several of his books on local history are available at Mack’s Apples and Derry’s libraries.

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