When you donate to the non-profit Friends of Niagara organization, you help fulfill a dream of the original, dedicated volunteers and the Town of Millis that made the meticulous restoration of this historic firehouse possible. All funds go to supporting the concert programming, education and community outreach that takes place here. Many call the Niagara Firehouse our crown jewel, as it has grown into a visible symbol of Millis and a valuable community asset.
Since the restoration, many public and private events have been held and with the advent of the Niagara Coffee Haus series in March 2022 (sponsored by Middlesex Savings Bank and the Millis Cultural Council), the “little firehouse that could” staked its claim in the Metrowest entertainment scene. The Coffee Haus has brought in some the finest acts in the region as both musicians and the audience love the atmosphere and acoustics that our upstairs performance space provides. Special benefit concerts have also graced the NCH schedule, helping to raise funds for local homeless agencies, women’s shelters and food banks. Our monthly Open Mic Night also provides a great community service to further the local arts scene offering residents,
story tellers and musicians the chance to hone their skills in front of an appreciative crowd. We offer a special shout out to Nirvana Tea House & Cafe and Napper Tandy’s for participating in our Feed the Musicians’ program, affording our road weary concert acts the opportunity to enjoy a complimentary meal before their performance. As always, continuous volunteer effort and financial support is needed to keep our operation afloat.
Other Massachusetts towns have restored their abandoned firehouses and turned them into a performance/event or historical museum space, but the Niagara is the only one to do both. Along with our beautifully restored upstairs murals, we have the Millis Firefighters Museum on the
first floor showcasing two vintage fire pump trucks and a wide array of historic firefighting equipment and memorabilia. The Niagara also houses an array of museum display cases dedicated to Millis town history. Financial support will help improve outreach to schools and organizations to raise the profile of these educational resources to be utilized by the public.
The walls of our stairway and foyer have been transformed into the Niagara Coffee Haus Stairway Gallery. The inaugural exhibit Trail Blazers: Icons of the Folk Era features fifteen
exquisite B&W photos showing the many streams of historic and contemporary sources that fed into the mighty river of American folk music from the 1950’s through the 70’s. In every NCH newsletter we provide biographies to highlight the achievements of each of the eighteen figures in this exhibition. We have also highlighted our framed Currier & Ives prints depicting “The Life of a Fireman.” During restoration, a set of six original 1886 lithograph prints were discovered
that once hung in the firehouse. Those prints are now in safe storage, but high-quality reproductions now hang in their place for patrons to enjoy.
“When we started the Niagara Coffee Haus, our goal was to create a place for singer-songwriters to showcase their craft and let their true originality shine,” says founder and local resident, Rob Zammarchi. “It’s nice to see it working for the generous and appreciative patrons we have met, as we build our local culture in community.” We have found all of our musical guests to be incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be play here and honored to host these
creative forces and genuine souls, as we look forward to a healthy future of our music series. Kudos and special thanks to our primary sponsor, Middlesex Savings Bank and members of the Millis Cultural Council for supporting our vision, the Millis Historical Commission for
providing this beautiful location and Friends of Niagara for being valued partners and resources.”
We invite you to become a valuable partner and resource of the Niagara Coffee Haus and Friends of Niagara. Please consider a donation, large or small. Thank you for your generosity!
Niagara Education Director