Destruction of The Boar's Head House
Destruction of The Boar's Head House
Great Loss to the Owner and the Public
The Boar's Head House at Hampton, one of the most conspicuous landmarks along the New England coast and the oldest beach hostelry east of Boston, was burned to the ground on Monday morning.
The fire caught from some defect in the laundry chimney, where on Saturday, employes engaged in putting the house in order for its winter closing had been burning refuse, and, smouldering for two nights and a day, escaped discovery until it had gathered resistless strength. All Sunday, a smell of burning soot had been noticed, but the most careful investigations by the steward and others, as late as Sunday evening, revealed no signs of danger.
About 9 o'clock on Monday morning, Col. Dumas was informed by gunners and others on the Head that smoke was pouring from the rear of the building, and going up stairs, he quickly found it of overpowering volume. Descending and hastening around the hotel, he found the flames beginning to burst forth, and the entire structure was speedily ablaze.
The beach, and the town for that matter, possesses no means of fighting fire, and nothing could be done to avert the destruction of the hotel and its cottage. Before noon, both had been levelled to the ground. The annex for billiards and bowling uses was saved by shielding the exposed end with wet coverings, and the rain and the direction of the wind averted the destruction of buildings otherwise in most imminent danger. Considerable furniture was saved, and the personal effects of the proprietor and employes, who were to depart during the day; had previously been removed.
The fire presented spectacles of surpassing beauty and grandeur, and attracted to the Head numerous spectators. Many more viewed it from localities quite remote and from trains crossing the Hampton marshes.
The Boar's Head House was built in 1826 by David Nudd, of whose heirs Col. Stebbins H. Dumas purchased it in 1866. As enlarged it was a four-story wooden structure of 80 by 40 feet, with a 35-foot ell, and contained 63 sleeping rooms, some of which were double. It could accommodate more than 150 guests. The cottage connected with the hotel was of two stories and 30 by 28 feet.
Upon the hotel and contents, Col. Dumas had insurance of $10,000 and until quite recently had carried twice as much. The building could not be replaced for $25,000. Upon the cottage and its furniture was $500 insurance each.
The fire comes as a crushing blow to Col. Dumas and is likely to bring to a close his long career as a hotel manager. This began in 1846 at Concord, where for 21 years she managed the Phoenix House and for a portion of the period the Eagle also. He assumed the management of the Boar's Head House in 1867, and for about three years following also controlled the Squamscott House in Exeter. He will not rebuild, but Boar's Head will not long lack a hotel. That it has lost had entertained guests of national reputation, and had been the scene of many important events and gatherings.
Hampton Beach has previously lost heavily by fire. In 1885 the Ocean, Atlantic and Sea View Houses and upwards of a dozen cottages were swept away, and in 1854 the Winnecumet House was burned.
Famous Hotel Gone
The Boar's Head Destroyed by Fire
The destruction by fire on Monday forenoon of the famous old Boar's Head hotel at Boar's Head, Hampton beach, will be a severe blow to that charming summer resort, for the house had been very closely identified with the history and the life of that beach since 1826, the year it was built.
The flames were discovered about 9 o'clock, and it is presumed that the fire originated from a defective chimney in the laundry, and had been smouldering in the partitions for several days.
A high northeast wind was blowing at the time and all efforts to save the structure were futile, for in less than two hours and a half, the large hotel, together with the cottage adjoining, were a mass of ruins.