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Hotel Fire: 1963

Hotel Fire: 1963

"Sherry Biltmore fire, Boston, 1963." Aftermath of the five-alarm blaze that killed four on March 29, 1963. 35mm negative, photographer unknown. View full size.


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"La fille aux yeux d'or"

Is that theater called the Fenway? It must have been an "Art House" cinema, as it was showing a rather obscure French film from 1961.

Eight O'Clock Coffee

is still around, although the name was bought by another company. I shopped at A&P. It was a "Great" place.


The initial newspaper stories about the fire highlighted one group of hotel guests that night - adults and children in the tour company for "The Sound of Music" (starring Barbara Meister as Maria). One week later, UPI reported that an 8-year-old son of an actress in the touring company and a Viennese opera singer had been accused of setting the fatal fire while playing with matches. The April 6, 1963 account added that "in recent months there have been fires in other hotels where the cast stayed in Minneapolis and Baltimore."

'56 DeSoto

That tailfinned beauty in front of J.J. Newberry is a 1956 DeSoto. My late father had one during my childhood. It was our first experience with power windows and pushbutton gears.

Plaid Stamps

On the eve of the demise of The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, it is pleasantly nostalgic to be reminded of The A&P's Plaid Stamps trading stamps.

My mother collected both Plaid Stamps from the A&P and Blue Stamps from the Grand Union. I can remember helping her to paste them into the redemption booklets.

There was a walk-in redemption center for the Blue Stamps at the county seat. Perhaps some other Shorpy contributor can remind me of how the Plaid Stamps were redeemed.

I can hardly believe that the A&P has come to the end of the road. Will Jane Parker. Ann Page and Sultana find employment elsewhere, or will they go into retirement?

They shoulda "Biltmore" like it.

Because it's still standing.

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