With a Starbucks opening up last year across 101A from the local McDonalds, Milford’s strip sprawl status continues to grow. Clustered along Nashua Street near the Amherst border along with those two ubiquitous chains are also a Burger King, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Shaw’s, Dollar Tree, Ocean State, Subway — basically the usual selection of chain brand stores that seem to pop up in every town of a reasonable size. In a Rambling Reporter column in 2002, the Cabinet’s venerable Bill Ferguson marveled at all the new fast food in town: “How many hamburgers and chicken wings can 12,000 people eat?” he wondered.
But there was a time not so long ago when the only thing one could buy along the strip heading into Amherst was lumber. Above we see the photograph that graced the cover of Milford’s 1967 Annual Report — an aerial shot of Lorden Lumber, the business which occupied the space on both sides of Nashua Street where nearly a score of stores now do business.
Denny Lorden started in the lumber business in 1919 doing odd jobs here and there with a portable saw and eventually settled down near Osgood Pond to cut chestnut poles and railroad ties. As the company grew and sons followed father, Lorden Lumber moved to the south side of Nashua Street in 1933, directly across from another lumber company — a bigger fish — Langdell Lumber. After enjoying a friendly rivalry for some years, Lorden eventually bought out Langdell in 1948 and occupied both sides of the street for nearly the next four decades.
Today, arriving back in Milford along 101A, one’s thoughts might turn to a Big Mac or Frappuccino, but for many generations it was the smell of freshly cut wood that signaled a return home.
Lorden Lumber in the 1980s.