This Week in Concord History

July 11, 1824: Dr. Asa McFarland, Concord’s Congregationalist minister, writes to the town requesting that the contract obliging the town to pay him as a town officer be terminated. At their 1825 town meeting, Concord voters will honor this request. From this time forward, according to an 1850 town report, “no money has ever been raised by the town, in the capacity of a parish, or for the support of preaching.”


July 11, 1973: The Concord City Council agrees to spend $1.6 million on a new police station and district court and extensive city hall renovations on Green Street.


July 11, 2000: Like their counterparts around the country, local booksellers say they’ve sold all their copies of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. In Concord alone, more than 1,000 copies were bought on the day of the book’s release.


July 11, 2003: Concord officials announce the disappearance of Sarah Gehring, 14, and Philip Gehring, 11, in a hastily called press conference. Six days after the brother and sister left the Concord fireworks display following a public argument with their father, the police arrested the father, Manuel A. Gehring, on child custody charges in California.


July 12, 1854: On a tip, the Concord police raid a Pearl Street paint shop and break up a gambling den. Six men and boys are arrested and fined $5.


July 12, 1927: Mayor Fred Marden says he has received a telegram informing him that Col. Charles A. Lindbergh will soon fly to Concord in the Spirit of St. Louis.


July 12, 1976: Twenty-eight Taiwanese athletes, who have been refused permission to enter Canada for the Olympics because of their refusal not to compete under the name Republic of China, meet in Concord with their biggest local supporter: Gov. Mel Thomson.


July 12, 2002: Rents in Concord continue to rise, the Monitor reports. But compared with points south, the city remains a relative bargain.


July 12, 2003: Concord has a tentative plan to fill the site of the former Sears building with offices, retail stores, a restaurant, luxury condominiums, an independent movie theater, a supper club and a parking garage, the Monitor reports. The city council still has to approve the project, but, if things go as planned, developer Michael Simchik will buy the parcel for $1 and spend $10.9 million to build a six-story, 75,000-square-foot building. Concord will spend about $5.4 million to erect a parking garage with at least 330 spaces.


July 13, 1860: The grounds of the city’s new cemetery on Blossom Hill are consecrated. The site is a favorite picnic and party spot, but with population having grown from 4,903 in 1840 to 10,896 in 1860, the city is running out of cemetery space. It buys the 30 acres for $4,500.


July 13, 1987: The New York Yankees trade pitcher Bob Tewksbury of Concord and two other players to the Chicago Cubs for pitcher Steve Trout.


July 13, 1987: Consultants urge the Concord City Council to widen Fisherville Road to four lanes to ease traffic. “Some of the improvement we are recommending should be done as soon as possible,” the consultants say. Stay tuned.


July 13, 2002: Eight Republicans are scrambling to take John Sununu’s place in the First Congressional District, selling issues wherever they can find a listener, the Monitor reports. But for all the talk of taxes to cut and federal departments to shrink, the primary won’t hinge on issues, according to several political observers. “This is hand-to-hand combat. This is identifying votes and turning them out,” said Tom Rath, a Republican strategist and a Concord lawyer.


July 13, 2003: Authorities continue their search for Sarah and Philip Gehring of Concord in the Midwest. The 14- and 11-year-old were last seen with their father, 44-year-old Manuel A. Gehring of Concord, at the Memorial Field fireworks on July 4. FBI agents and local authorities scour highways and open land for the bodies of the two missing children by air and by ground, but do not find them.


July 14, 2002: A fire destroys a Maple Street home in Concord. Nobody is hurt.


July 15, 1822: The hail that falls in Concord today is “of a sufficient size to break glass and cut down the corn,” according to a local history.


July 15, 1832: Six convicts escape from the state prison in Concord by splitting a stone in the roofing of their cell and letting themselves down the wall by their blankets. Four are captured in Hopkinton, one in Grantham. One is never found.


July 15, 1863: Aware that draft riots have occurred in New York and Boston, the city of Concord appropriates $1,460 to buy 100 revolvers and ammunition for self-defense. It also authorizes Mayor Benjamin F. Gale to appoint 100 special police officers. No draft riots will occur in Concord.


July 15, 1965: A 50-foot section of the second story of Concord’s new federal building at Pleasant and South streets collapses under the weight of freshly-poured concrete. No one is hurt.


July 15, 2000: Concord’s Bob Mielcarz wins his ninth State Amateur Golf Championship, the most anyone has ever won.


July 16, 1821: Mary Baker Eddy is born in Bow. In February 1866, she will write of healing herself from what a doctor diagnosed as a fatal fall on the ice. Out of this experience is born Christian Science. Eddy will found the Church of Christ, Scientist, in 1879.


July 16, 1864: A year after the Legislature announced that “any city or town” might bid to build a new State House, legislators vote to keep Concord as state capital. The price: The city must build a street on the south side of State House grounds (Capitol Street) and rebuild the cramped 44-year-old State House. It will do so by the following year at a staggering cost of $347,000, including $189,000 interest.


July 17, 1941: Playing at Cleveland, Yankee third baseman Red Rolfe of Penacook doubles and singles to help the Yanks beat the Indians 4-3. But the big news is that Cleveland and its good-fielding third baseman, Ken Keltner, stop Joe DiMaggio’s hitting streak at 56 games. During the streak, Rolfe, hitting second in the Yankee lineup, batted .306 and scored 49 runs.


July 17, 1967: A four-member investigating committee of Concord’s Board of Alderman charges Mayor J. Herbert Quinn with gross misconduct and recommends his removal from office. The committee finds that Quinn attempted to trap Monitor Editor James M. Langley on a drunken driving charge.


July 17, 2003: Speaking at the Page Belting factory in Concord, Florida Sen. Bob Graham fields questions about the White House’s use of unsubstantiated evidence to justify war in Iraq. “I believe he is being deceitful,” Graham says of President Bush. “There has been a pattern of withholding information from the American people.”

Author: Insider Staff

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