Greetings from historic Easton! The annual multi-church Sunrise Service (6 a.m.!) at Sheep Pasture (former estate of Oliver Ames at Main and Washington Streets, now the NRT) was beautiful as I overlooked the grounds from the "foundation" of the former home. The view from there looks out over a rolling meadow through which the brook gently flows. The area abounds with wildlife and all kinds of birds. It must have been wonderful to wake each morning in the mansion and see such natural beauty.
I want to bring to your attention a book that has recently been published about the Strand Theatre fire. The Strand, originally opened in March 1916, was the largest of several well known Brockton theatres, seating more than 1600 people. Many people, including Eastoners, travelled by trolley or coach to Brockton to take in a movie or two, or perhaps a Vaudeville show!
The Strand was re-modelled in 1937 and continued to provide the area with great entertainment. However, early in the morning of March 10, 1941, fire broke out in the theatre. A number of things happened very quickly, but during the fire part of the building collapsed killing 13 Brockton firemen and injuring more than 20 other firemen. It was a tragedy that shook the city. My father and my grandfather would speak about that fire and how tragic it was.
Now, a book has been published to tell the story of the Strand fire. The Strand Theatre Fire: The 1941 Brockton Tragedy and the Fallen Thirteen by Jim Benson and Nicole Casper tells the story of the fire, and the community's heroes and resilience following the tragedy. The book is published by Arcadia Publishing. Jim Benson has authored several books on the history of this area. Nicole Casper is the Director of Archives and Historical Collections at Stonehill College. The book is priced at $22 and is available through Stonehill College or Amazon. Proceeds from the book will provide for the ongoing preservation of the Bauman Collection at Stonehill. If you want something special, some autographed copies are available at Stonehill. Nicole supplied the attached release about the book.
I hope you will all enjoy a "safe" week.
"On March 10, 1941, at 12:38 a.m., the Brockton
Fire Department responded to Fire Alarm Box
1311, which was pulled for a fire at the Strand
Theatre. Fire Alarm dispatched the deputy chief,
three engine companies, a ladder company and
Squad A. Within six minutes, a second alarm was
struck. Less than one hour after the first alarm,
the roof of the Strand collapsed, and what
appeared to be a routine fire turned into a
disaster that killed thirteen firefighters and
injured more than twenty others. The disaster
marks one of the largest losses of life to
firefighters from a burning building collapse in
the United States. Jim Benson and Nicole Casper
chronicle this devastating tragedy and celebrate
the community's heroes and resilience in the face