February 8 - 1942: Huge fire at Camp Edwards destroys 125 vehicles

2006: JFK Jr.'s last radio comments were routine. Sovereign Bank closes two offices here
Today's Mass. Military Reservation on the Upper Cape looked like this during World War II.

1942: Wartime blaze at garage on Camp Edwards destroys 125 vehicles

Blaze occurred two months after the World War II began

On this day in 1942, as reported by the long gone International News Service -

"One hundred and twenty-five vehicles, including 40 new cars, with their tires and tubes too, were destroyed today in a fire that swept the largest garage on Cape Cod."

No injuries were reported in the fire of uncertain origin, which caused an estimated $250,000 in damages.

"Soldiers from Camp Edwards saved six automobiles by pushing them through a plate glass window," the INS reported.

The blaze occurred two months after the US entry into World War II following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and seven years after construction began of the military base on the Upper Cape.

About Camp Edwards

From 1935, when Gov. James Michael Curley signed a bill to appropriate funding for land and to establish a Military Reservation Commission, to 1940, the state and federal governments constructed 63 buildings and two 500-foot turf runways at the base.

In 1938, Curley's successor, Gov. Charles Hurley, dedicated Camp Edwards, the Army's portion of the MMR. The camp was named after Major General Clarence Edwards, former commander of the 26th Yankee Division. Otis Field at the base was named after 1st Lt. Frank J. Otis, a Yankee Division pilot killed on a cross-country training flight.

The initial construction effort "represented the largest WPA (Works Project Administration) project in the state, employing more than 600 workers," according to a website on the history of the MMR. "Peak of construction occurred in November 1940 with 18,343 employees working three shifts, a weekly payroll in excess of $1 million, and completion of 30 buildings a day."

In 1941, the 101st Observation Squadron of the Massachusetts National Guard, stationed at Jeffries Field in East Boston (known today as Logan International Airport), was inducted into federal service and moved to Otis Field. The airfield's first concrete runways were built in 1942, the same year as the devastating fire at the base garage. The runways were widened and lengthened the following year in response to the use of larger and more powerful military aircraft.

(Above photo: The history of Massachusetts National Guard training on Upper Cape Cod extends back to 1908, when soldiers conducted weekend and annual training in the woods to the south and west of present-day MMR. This photo is from about 1942.)

2006: John F. Kennedy Jr.'s last radio comments were routine

Dies with wife and sister in law on flight to Martha's Vineyard


The last radio contact from John F. Kennedy Jr. before he died when the plane he was flying crashed into the Atlantic in July 1999 was a routine 'thanks' to air controllers in New Jersey for runway clearance, newly released documents showed on Wednesday.

The air traffic transcripts give no additional clues on what caused the crash off the southern New England coast that killed Kennedy, the son of the slain 35th U.S. president, his wife and sister-in-law.

'Caldwell ground, Saratoga niner two five three November, ready to taxi with mike at airbound right turnout northeastbound,' Kennedy told ground controllers at the Essex County, New Jersey, airport where he began an ill-fated flight to Cape Cod in Massachusetts. He was headed to his family's storied compound for a wedding.

See the NOAA search report on the attempts to recover the plane here.

2006: Sovereign Bank to close 11 branches in MA, two on Cape

Sovereign plans to shutter eleven Massachusetts branches this year as part of a 100 million-dollar cost-saving plan....The Quincy Patriot Ledger reports that Sovereign will close former Compass Bank branches in Harwich and Barnstable on Cape Cod.

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