Monadnock Moments No. 57: Great Marlow-Stoddard Fire
fire ever was about to occur in April of 1941. During that month the state had experienced the highest average temperature and lowest average rainfall of any single month in seventy years. The forests were clogged with blown down timber as a result of the 1938 hurricane. Numerous crews had set up saw mills to remove the timber.
Fred Jennings, the watchman in the lookout tower on Pitcher Mountain in Stoddard, made reports on the fire’s progress as it raged into Stoddard. He finally fled down the mountain as the lookout tower burned behind him. The village of Stoddard was saved as rowboats were placed along the road and filled with water as a means of transferring water up the road to the fire. It continued to burn into April 30th, but the wind died down and snow and rain began to fall, aiding the crews in finally extinguishing the blaze.
In just over two days many homes and 27,000 acres had burned. Forty-eight percent of Marlow’s land area, 42% of Stoddard, and smaller portions of Washington and Gilsum had been devastated. Although many were left homeless, not one person was injured in the blaze, including the 2,000 men who had converged on the towns to fight the great Marlow-Stoddard forest fire.