Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Haffenreffer House Burns

Boston Daily Globe April 29, 1918

Three Firemen Hurt At $50,000 Jamaica Plain Fire

Three firemen were hurt at the fire that destroyed the residence of Rudolph F. Haffenreffer on Mt Walley av, Jamaica Plain, near Pond st, at the Brookline line, at 4 a.m. yesterday. Because the residence, one of the landmarks of the district, stood on the top of a hill slightly higher than the water level in the Brookline Resevoir, from which the water supply had to be taken, the firemen were unable to get any water. But for the chemical streams the fire would have had its own way. When the pressure failed, Engine 45 was called upon by the members of Engine 28 to act as a relay pumping station, but even this extra work was without avail.

Ladderman Gillespie of 10 and Griffon of 30 were overcome, but revived. Ladderman Schiedel of 10 sprained an ankle and was taken away in an automobile.

The fire started in the rear of the second story near the chimney flue and quickly worked into the attic and through the roof. The cause is unknown.

Mr Haffenreffer, who discovered the fire, after summoning the aid of the other six occupants, attempted to extinguish the flames with a hand extinguisher, but seeing the fire spreading, sent a still alarm, which was followed by a box alarm from box 2492. The damage was set by the police at $50,000.

Liberty Bond Escapes In Jamaica Plain

After the fire at the Rudolph F. Haffenreffer home in Jamaica Plain yesterday morning had been extinguished, the only article of value found intact was a Liberty Bond of the third loan, bought by Mr Haffenreffer a few days ago. While the bond was soaked in bicarbonate solution, the markings on it were plainly recognizable.

Firemen said that the bond must have had a charmed existence to withstand the tremendous heat,and are at a loss to explain how it escaped.


The first map below shows Mr Walley avenue at the bottom left, straddling the Boston-Brookline border. At the upper left of this 1914 map, you'll see the Haffenreffer house, sitting just inside the Boston/Brookline border. That area, between Moss Hill and Allandale street is the forgotten Jamaica Plain. Out of sight, out of mind. The lower map shows the original Haffenreffer house on the corner of Brookside avenue and Germania street. I'd say Rudolph moved up in the world.

The original Haffenreffer house on Brookside avenue.

Walker, G.H., 1927 (BPL)

Richards, L.J., 1899 (copyright © 2000 by Cartography Associates)
David Rumsey Collection

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