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Holliston in 1944

by Bobby Blair
February 6, 2019

There are few that remember the war years in Holliston. Luxury items were scarce in the early 1940's and rationing coupons for butter and milk were the everyday. Most able bodied men were under arms. The selectmen in their annual report seemed to sum up the sentiments of townspeople when they wrote "The selectmen feel that a lengthy report at this time is unneccessary."

While the graduating Class of 1944 lists 27 senior students, the list also shows that eight of those students wouldn't receive a diploma in hand as they had already left for the military. The appropriation to run the school system in town that year was $51,690.00. During the year the Board of Health reported contagious diseases as follows: Chicken Pox 8, Dog Bite 3, German Measles 4, Measles 7, Mumps 64, Scarlet Fever 2, & Whooping Cough 6. One hundred and ninety cows were slaughtered in town along with 542 calves & four sheep.

The names of Holliston men & women serving in the military was tracked on a wooden honor roll in front of town hall. The high school can be seen in the upper left of the photo. In 1944 Police Chief Lewis Holbrook took home a salary of $2,013.00. Fire Chief Bert Chambers earned $100.00

Local lore says that in 1944 the hose tower at Central Fire Station was used to support a searchlight to look for enemy planes. Local teens were recruited by High School Principal Fred Miller to undertake this night time task.

Air raid warden Sebastian (Harry) Damigella would also prowl the local streets to make sure window shades were drawn during the nighttime hours and that the top portion of headlights on vehicles were darkened out so as to not protrude upwards and give enemy planes a ground fixture.

 

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Comments (1)

Thank you so much for publishing this article. Interesting and fun. I don't think my parents arrived in Holliston until 1949 or 1950, but from the air I bet the landscape (without military equipment of course) looked not that much different. The names Holbrook, Damigella and Miller were familiar. Liked the little stories of the men whose names go back and are "big" in development of Holliston.

- Karen Chellquist | 2/8/19 10:50 AM

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