Three men died from smoke inhalation when a blaze swept through the former Hayes Hotel on Depot Square in the early morning hours of August 24, 1969. The fire started in a wing on the left of the building and spread throughout the old brick building. Fire roomers and two firefighters were hospitalized. Most of the 27 roomers were elderly people of limited income, renting rooms at $15.00 /week. They lost all of their belongings.  Fighting the fire that morning were 125 firemen from Ipswich and eight other communities. 

The Hayes Hotel the morning after the fire which killed three men, August 24, 1969
The Hayes Hotel the morning after the fire which killed three men, August 24, 1969

The Hayes Hotel was constructed in 1842 by James Peatfield and Sandford Peatfield as a factory for the manufacture of woolen goods, hosiery and underclothing. The Peatfield brothers had been employed at the Lower Mill on County Street, knitting shirts and drawers upon a warp frame, invented by James. Encouraged by their success, they obtained financing through George W. Heard, bought this location in 1840, and built the brick factory. Mr. Heard declared bankruptcy a few years later, and the Peatfield brothers lost their building and business for a time, but recovered in a few years. Read more about the Ipswich hosiery industry

The County Street mill was owned by the Heards and is where James Peatfield developed machinery for the production of woolen goods before they built the mill that became the Hayes Hotel.

When Sanford Peatfield retired and sold his share of the building and land,  James Peatfield began the manufacture of the nets that were then in vogue for women’s wear, and continued it profitably for years. He retired in 1877, and John W. Hayes purchased the building in 1885. He established the Hayes Tavern, and subsequent owner Thomas Broderick renamed it the Hayes Hotel. By the middle of the 20th Century the building still had the hotel sign, but was being used as a rooming house. A new building was constructed after the fire, and is the location of the Georgia’s Pizza and Spice Thai restaurant.

The Hayes Hotel building was constructed by the Peatfield brothers in 1865 as a manufacturing  facility for woolen goods.
The Hayes Hotel building was constructed by the Peatfield brothers in 1842 as a manufacturing facility for woolen goods.
Peatfield brothers article in the Ipswich Chronicle
Peatfield brothers article in the Ipswich Chronicle
Portrayal of James and Sanford Peatfield on the Riverwalk Mural
The Hayes Hotel on Depot Square in better days.
The Hayes Hotel on Depot Square in better days.
The Hayes Hotel is the red building in this postcard of the Ipswich Depot around the beginning of the 20th Century.
The Hayes Hotel is the red building in this postcard of the Ipswich Depot around the beginning of the 20th Century.

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