MARLBOROUGH – As we get ready for this busy Christmas season, there are so many memories of Christmas in Marlborough. There are pictures by Enterprise photographer Joe Lapine taken in 1968 of the lights streaming from the monument. For many years the city draped lights across the main street in celebration of the holidays. Home for the Holidays with live nativity scenes, hayrides, music and Santa brought holiday joy to the city.
However, one of the most memorable December times for Marlborough was in 1975. Unfortunately, it was disastrous. It was Dec. 7 when the Masonic Block on Main Street was demolished by fire. Jobber’s Outlet, Risesberg’s and the Masonic Hall were the buildings completely destroyed.
There was said to have been an explosion from Riseberg’s store. The building became an inferno front and back. The First National Bank acted as a fire break, shielding Main Street East.
There were 150 to 200 firefighters that responded. Eighty-five of these were from Marlborough and the rest were from the surrounding communities that answered the call. Firefighters came from towns as far away as Wellesley, Needham and Lancaster.
It was a very cold night and ice could be seen on the tops of the firefighters helmets. Despite the frigid night over a thousand spectators stood 10 deep.
William Maroney was fire chief during this time and Edgar Gadbois was the city’s mayor. The loss was great as there were many antiques and irreplaceable items along with an organ in the Masonic Hall.
Despite the loss of property, it was a miracle that no one was hurt. At this time Marlborough should not only remember the fire, but the response in which disaster was met. Our community has much to be thankful for during this season.