Windham Life and Times – July 21, 2017

100 Years Ago—Summer of 1917

John E Cochran’s home on North Lowell Road as it appeared before it burned to the ground in the summer of 1917.

Tragedy, Accidents and Fires during the Summer of ‘17

“June 27, 1917: Monday night shortly before midnight , the house of Town Clerk and Selectman John E. Cochran near the center of town was destroyed by fire with most of its contents. The barn and connected sheds were saved, and from the house the town records and a small amount of clothing  and furniture. It was a narrow escape from a still more serious catastrophe, as Mrs. Cochran had retired later than usual and had not fallen asleep  when she was startled by the smell of smoke and discovered the roof of the ell near the kitchen stove was all ablaze. Mr. Cochran and son, Olin, were quickly aroused from slumber , and if help had been near the flames could probably have been extinguished. Attempts to reach neighbors by means of a telephone failed and before help arrived it was impossible to rescue much of the house. The origin of the fire is mysterious. As the chimney from which it must have caught was a new one, built only a few years ago, and there had been only a small fire in the kitchen stove early in the morning. The house was a fine old mansion built by James Park many years ago and occupied since 1871 by the Cochran family. It was filled with furnishings, many of which money cannot replace. Every kindness has been shown by the neighbors to the afflicted family, who have found temporary house-keeping quarters in the parsonage nearby.”

“July 10, 1917: A shocking accident occurred just below the Center on the Lowell Road one evening last week. Eben Tallant, of Pelham, was going toward home, riding one horse and leading another, when he saw the light of a motorcycle on which Mark Haskell and Carroll Webber, two young men of the West Windham Road, were approaching at rapid speed. The cycle crashed into the horse that Mr. Tallant was riding and a general mix-up resulted. All were considerably injured; the horse had to be killed; it is not yet known whether Mark Haskell will recover fully or whether injury to his spine will be permanent. It was a very unfortunate occurrence, and all concerned have the sympathy of the community.”

“July 24, 1917: A second terrible motorcycle accident occurred in town Friday evening about 10 o’clock, which caused the death of one of our best and most esteemed young men. Oscar F. Low and Miss Sadie Bloomfield, the latter a nurse at Tower Hall in Derry, were returning from a ride on the former’s motorcycle, and when near the witch hazel factory in the east part of town, (Rt. 28,) collided with an auto truck which it is said had only one head-light lighted, thus deceiving the driver of the cycle. Miss Bloomfield escaped with minor injuries and was taken to Tower Hall. Mr. Low was terribly injured and died while being taken to the Lawrence hospital without gaining consciousness.”

“August 7, 2017: Another serious calamity is to be recorded. The buildings of Eugene K. Gross, situated mid-way between the Center and the Junction were struck by lightning in the hard shower of Thursday August 2, and burned down. The bolt struck the barn, in which was a large quantity of last year’s hay and so much of the present crop as had been harvested. Mr. Gross was taking a nap in the house at the time and was the only occupant of the premises, his wife being on a visit in Westboro Mass. Workman on a neighboring farm saw the smoke and roused Mr. gross. Nothing was saved from the barn or the shed connecting the barn and house, the losses including a horse and calf, all farming tools and a complete set of carpenter’s tools. From the house practically everything was saved except the kitchen stove. The former house of Mr. Gross, on the same farm but not the same location, was struck by lightening and burned in June, 1898. The new house was made out of a long carriage house that was not burned at that time.”


Windham Life and Times – July 14, 2017


Eastern Illustrating photograph shows Mrs. Baker’s new cottage at the far right of the photograph.

Julia Baker Remodels Pavilion into a Cottage on Cobbett’s Pond

May 18, 1917: Mrs. Julia Baker has had her old pavilion on the shore of Cobbett’s Pond (at the lower end) transformed by carpenter W.A. Kimball into a handsome and commodious cottage. We hear she will occupy this herself for the summer and rent her spacious farm mansion. This Eastern Illustrating photograph shows the pavilion after it was remodeled into a cottage. The picture below shows Mrs. Baker’s home on Range Road with a Cadillac in the front yard. The cottage is at the far right.


Windham Life and Times – July 7, 2017

Club Mirimar at Bella Vista

The famed Bella Vista dance pavilion, with its big bands and crowds was destroyed by fire in 1931. It was soon replaced by a smaller hall  pictured here.  Rural Oasis states, “For a short time during prohibition this building was considered the hottest place in town. It was known as the Club Mariana [sic] (Mirimar). A password was not really needed for entry, but Rene Dubois who ran the club did not want any revenue men in by mistake. Most people who filled the dimly lit hall enjoyed themselves. Dancing and food were advertised on the sign outside, but after you were allowed in you could buy a drink and watch the burlesque show. Before long the reputation of the Club Mirimar reached the authorities and the club was closed forever.”

The new Club Mirimar hall at Bella Vista


Windham Life and Times – June 15, 2017


Dinsmore Cottages, Cobbett’s Pond, Windham NH

An original, real photo postcard, of this view sold on e-bay last week for $102.50. Does that seem a little over the top to you?  My grandfather rented cottages and later tent platforms which paid his taxes and put extra cash in his pocket. The people who spent their summers here have fond memories of their time on these shores.  In fact, a gentleman stopped by our office just last week to say hello and reminisce about the summers he spent here with his family in one of the tents as a child. Of course this was my stomping grounds as a child. I remember after school ended for summer,  I rarely had shoes on my feet and spent the warm, happy days barefoot. Much of the time was spent in the water and we all liked to swim out to the giant rock that sits just under the water, where we could stand up and show-off.


Windham Life and Times – June 8, 2017


The Head of the Pond

This photograph shows the “Head of the Pond.” The three cottages in the center were constructed very early.  “Methuen Cottage” was built in 1896 and “May’s Cottage” was built in 1898. Searles Castle can be clearly seen on the crest of the hill in the background. At the time of this photograph was taken neither Dunkan Beach or Armstrong Beach are not yet in operation and the land where they would eventually open is still marsh and woodlands