This week marks a fifth anniversary. On Monday evening, May 11, 2009, 22 retirees of the Hamden Fire Department met at Liberty Community Church in North Haven for the organizational meeting of what would become the Hamden Fire Retirees Association, Inc.
TO OUR WEBSITE VISITORS - In order to continue to keep our Home Page fresh and interesting for all website visitors we will continue to post previously unpublished photos and articles with each Friday website update.
In keeping with the HFRA's goal of preserving our history, and as the result of numerous positive comments and suggestions received in recent weeks from members and non-members, historic photos of various Hamden landmarks and locations will be featured more frequently.
New material is always welcome from website visitors who have old HFD or Hamden photos. Click the "Contact Us" tab on the website menu for information on how to submit material
This 1949 aerial view of Centerville is profoundly different from the way the center of Hamden looks today. CLICK to enlarge the photo. Chief Raymond C. Spencer's 1946 Pontiac can be easily seen on the ramp in front of Fire Headquarters, as it was known in those days. And there's more. Check the numbered landmarks.
Courtesy of the Hamden Historical Society (Abrams photo, dated 1949) CLICK to enlarge
(1) The last few panels of Hamden's World War II Honor Roll, on the future site of the Miller Memorial Library (1951).
2) Grace Episcopal Church in its original location. It was moved directly across the street in September 1966.
(3) Colonial Drive was just being developed. #48 and #54 are under construction.
(4) The Savoy Restaurant is on the corner of School Street, in the same building that Reilly's occupied a decade later. The Savoy suffered a serious fire in May 1944. Twenty years later, when it was Reilly's, the building was totally destroyed by fire on Christmas Day.
(5) A rambling home that once stood at the corner of Whitney Avenue and Colonial Drive. In the 1980s it was moved around the corner, (6) where it is now #42 Colonial Drive.
(7) Future site of the Brown Stone House, built later in '49. The large wood-frame building that previously occupied the property burned down in February 1941.
(8) The one and only Charlie Crook's Drug Store. Originally the home of Leverett Candee (c. 1852) "who obtained from Charles Goodyear the first license to use Goodyear's patent for producing rubber shoes."‡ The building was razed in 1981. ‡From Historic Hamden; A Guide (1976: Hamden Bicentennial Commission)
A great time and fine food & drink. Support the July 27th HVFF Hamden Independence Day fireworks display, which is supported through private donations.
May 1967 - Lt. Joe McDermott at old Station 3 (Ed Doiron, Sr. photo)
There was a time when Hamden was still a small town. And many small towns had a weekly newspaper. Our's was The Hamden Chronicle, published once a week starting in August 1946. Perusing the pages of early editions of the Chronicle, you sense that nothing ever escaped the radar of the Chronicle staff.
Every Thursday, The Hamden Chonicle featured an incredible amount of hard local news, sports, opinion pieces, as well as social news from every neighborhood in town, to name just a few categories. Every Chronicle reader knew what was going on at town hall. If someone burped - we were actually thinking of another word - it was probably reported in the Chronicle the following Thursday.
Among our favorite Chronicle features were the delightful, sometimes irreverent folksie anecdotes about local politicians, cops and firemen that were usually overheard in the Brown Stone House or Aldo's barber shop and shared weekly with Chronicle readers. Yep, there was a time when Hamden was just like Mayberry.
Hamden Chronicle - May 21, 1953
This 1953 item about a now-legendary Hamden fireman (before he was a Hamden fireman) appeared in Chronicle editor Francis "Bud" O'Connor's weekly column, "The Melting Pot." (The photo is ours.)
For several years The Hamden Chronicle was voted the best weekly in New England.
May 21, 1977
May 21, 1977 - Ff. Ralph Tomaselli, working extra on Platoon 3, awaiting the night shift in front of the station.
"Hey man, look what you did to my HAIR!"
May 21, 1977 - Firefighters Johnson, Tomaselli and Pratt out on the patio at Station 3. It was Mark's birthday. (Yeah, lots of hair here.)