August 1971 - Firefighters Tony "Moonman" Melillo, Howie Hurlburt, Sr., and Walt Macdowall mugging it up during foam drill at the new Public Works building on Shepard Avenue. (Photo by Ed Doiron, Sr.)
Snow Removal - Station 3's Roof!
New Tower 1 Under Construction
Very Scary Times The Cold War Comes to Hamden
For those who could afford them, fallout shelters were below-ground backyard sanctuaries designed to protect the family from radioactive fallout following a nuclear exchange.
Chief V. Paul Leddy and State Civil Defense Director William Schatzman are pictured inside the fence at this 1961 fallout shelter display at the Hamden Plaza. Fire Marshal Albert Purce (back to the camera) is seen in the foreground. The fire officer on the right appears to be from another department, perhaps New Haven.
Four weeks after this photo was taken, the Soviet Union tested a 58 megaton hydrogen bomb in the atmosphere, which only escalated the fears of an already worried populace. Fortunately, the questionable efficacy of fallout shelters was never put to the test in a real wartime situation. But we came very close one year later in what became known as the Cuban Missile Crisis. It was a very scary time, indeed.
October 4, 1961 - Hamden Plaza (CLICK to enlarge - Photo by I.A. Sneiderman)
A year earlier, then-CD Director Leddy, inspects another fallout shelter (CLICK to enlarge)
CLICK to enlarge
JOE WAS THERE!
February 17, 2011 - We want to thank regular website visitor, Sgt. Joe Murray (Hamden Police Dept, Ret.), who immediately recognized the 1961 Hamden Plaza fallout shelter photo. He was there! Joe, only five years old at the time, is pictured in the lower left with his mom, Jean Murray (in the white coat).
Jean Murray was a Hamden school crossing guard from 1960 until 1979. But most Hamden fire retirees probably remember her as the really nice lady who was Hamden's Animal Control Officer from 1979 until her retirement in 2006. Joe, who was also well known to most Hamden firefighters, joined the Hamden Police Department in 1979 and served for 27 years.
In his email to the website, Joe noted that right above his mom's head in the photo is the Murray family car, a red 1961 Chevrolet Bel-Air. Nice! Even though he was only five at the time, Joe says he thinks he remembers that day. Like many other kids who grew up in Hamden, Joe spent a lot of time in the Plaza and remembers many of the earlier stores that were located there.
Zemel Brothers, in the larger photo above, sold household appliances. The Union & New Haven Trust Co. bank is pictured at the end of the northern wing of the Plaza. It became Union Trust in 1970, and is now Wachovia Bank. The old brick building seen across Dixwell Avenue was the W.I. Clark Co., which specialized in heavy construction equipment. A 1974 fire did extensive damage to some of the equipment stored there.
Jean Murray is well and still lives in Hamden. From 1998 until his retirement in 2006, Sgt. Joe Murray was in charge of Central Communications.
October 11, 1945 - Ives Street Fire Demonstration with New Haven Fire Department
NHFD & HFD Drill on Ives Street
Two 5th Graders (and Future BCs) Were There!
On October 11, 1945, in a joint demonstration by the New Haven and Hamden Fire Departments, this 2 1/2 story wood frame house on Ives Street was torched to demonstrate the effectiveness of fog on Class A fires.
CLICK below to read the results, and about the two future Hamden battalion chiefs, both in 5th grade at the time, who played hookey to see this unique cooperative demonstration. Find out what happened to them.
Several other photos taken at the time were reprinted in a 1948 Fire Engineering article. See also a New Haven Evening Register article from the following day.
- once a landmark Hamden hotel - The news articles on this page were donated by G. Donald Steele
$15,000 was the estimated loss when fire gutted the 111-year old Malavolti building at the corner of Whitney and Dixwell Avenues on the night of February 18, 1941. The fire in the two-and-a-half story combination commercial-residential wood frame building was believed to have started when faulty electrical wiring led to an exploding gas meter.
Ten residents of the second floor apartments escaped without injuries. Hamden firefighters worked through the night to contain the blaze to the building of origin. The Hamden branch of the American Red Cross assisted the ten individuals who were displaced by the fire.
The building was condemned and razed, leaving a vacant lot on which local kids played softball until the Malavolti family built the Brown Stone House Restaurant on the site in 1949. We are grateful to G. Donald Steele for the newspaper articles and photos that are posted below.
What was to later become known as the Malavolti Building, started out as a hotel in the early 19th century. From an article published years ago in The Hamden Chronicle, "The former Centerville House, also known as the Sackett Hotel, was located on Whitney Avenue near the intersectrion with Dixwell Avenue. Built in 1830, the inn also had a popular tavern."