This Week in Concord History

Aug. 8, 1861: The Democratic Standard, a Concord newspaper with Southern sympathies, refers to the Union Army as “Old Abe’s Mob.” When angry returned soldiers from the First New Hampshire Volunteers gather outside the Standard office, the paper’s frightened proprietors stand in the windows, pistols in hand. The owners fire three shots in the melee that follows, but no one is injured. The mob burns some of the Standard’s property and dumps its type cases in the street.


Aug. 8, 1974: As news of the impending resignation of President Richard Nixon sweeps the nation, the Monitor interviews people in the streets of Concord. “I feel a tremendous sense of renewal for the American system,” St. Paul’s School English teacher Richard Lederer tells a reporter. The president announces his resignation in a televised speech, and Vice President Gerald Ford assumes the presidency.


Aug. 8, 2001: The police believe an early morning robbery of the Main Street Cumberland Farms may be connected to recent holdups in Manchester, Bedford and Hooksett, investigators say. “We’re thinking that these may be related,” Manchester Police Sgt. Hames Kinney says. “There are similarities.”


Aug. 9, 1746: A band of 50 to 100 Indians invades Rumford (Concord), but the Indians will be scared off the next morning by 30 armed guards who escort church-goers back to their garrisons.


Aug. 9, 1887: A warehouse is damaged by fire in downtown Concord. “The losses were not heavy, but the fire was a memorable one from the fact that so many boys were injured in jumping from the windows,” the New Hampshire Patriot reports.


Aug. 9, 1903: Omer T. Lassonde is born in Concord. An artist, he will be federal arts director of the WPA in New Hampshire during the Depression. The subjects of his many portraits will include U.S. Sen. Styles Bridges, Gov. John Winant and the King of Samoa.


Aug. 10, 1987: Owners of the Ramada Inn on Main Street in Concord get city permission to build over Storrs Street. “The building that is there right now is, quite frankly, ugly. But what you see there now is not what you’ll get,” says lawyer Ray D’Amante. The plan never happens.


Aug. 10, 2003: The Rev. Gene Robinson returns to his home church, St. Paul’s Church in Concord, to the hugs and handshakes of hundreds of parishioners and leads the blessing there for the first time since becoming the first openly gay Episcopalian confirmed as a bishop.


Aug. 11, 1746: Thirty or 40 Indians attack a seven-man military party in Rumford (Concord) near the current site of Concord Hospital. The Indians kill five men outright – Samuel and Jonathan Bradley, Obadiah Peters, John Bean and John Lufkin – and strip and mutilate their bodies. Alexander Roberts and William Stickney are captured. The dead are brought to town in a cart and buried immediately.


Aug. 11, 2001: Monitor reports: While speculation about who will run for mayor this fall has been widespread, most people are in agreement on what key issues face Bill Veroneau’s replacement. Economic development and quality of life in Concord seem to be the words on everyone’s lips when asked what’s important to them and what they hope will be important to a new mayor.


Aug. 11, 2003: The Concord City Council strikes a deal with Portsmouth developer Michael Simchik to give both the Sears block and the Penacook tannery some much-needed TLC. Simchik will spend about $10 million to design and build a six-story building full of offices, stores and apartments on the site of the former Sears block downtown. The city will spend about $5 million on a parking garage with at least 330 spaces adjacent to the new building.


Aug. 12, 1927: In the Hall of Flags at the State House, a bronze plaque is unveiled honoring Walter Kittredge of Merrimack, who wrote one of the most popular songs of the Civil War, “Tenting Tonight on the Old Campground.” A Boston publisher originally declined to pay Kittredge $15 for the song but, to his great fortune, changed his mind. The end of the war was only the beginning of the song’s popularity. It was a staple at Grand Army of the Republic reunions well into the 20th century. Kittredge himself sang it before huge veterans’ conventions in Chicago and Philadelphia. Ironically, Kittredge was no veteran; though drafted during the war, he was unable to serve because of a disability.


Aug. 12, 1952: State officials announce that Concord will be the northern terminus for the new Central New Hampshire Turnpike, a four-lane, $26 million expressway. The road will extend 40 miles from the Massachusetts state line at Tyngsboro to Concord. It will end in a huge traffic circle just south of the city line.


Aug. 12, 2000: The 2000 Babe Ruth 16- to 18-year-old World Series gets under way before a crowd of thousands at Memorial Field in Concord. The tournament field includes two local teams, but neither of them manages a win in its opening game.


Aug. 12, 2003: Rain pours down on Penacook and Boscawen, filling storm drains and waterways beyond capacity. The storm carries away a 15-foot section of River Road, where a culvert leads into the Contoocook River.


Aug. 13, 1852: The tallest flagpole in New Hampshire history is erected in the State House yard, put up to celebrate Franklin Pierce’s nomination by the Democrats to be president. It is 143 feet tall, higher than the State House dome. First flown is an emblem with pictures of Pierce and Sen. Rufus de Vane King of Alabama, his running mate.


Aug. 13, 1979: At the official opening of his presidential campaign headquarters in Concord, Sen. Robert Dole of Kansas says he expects Sen. Edward Kennedy – not President Carter – to be the Democratic nominee in 1980. “I might not be able to match some of the Kennedy mystique,” he says, but a Kennedy candidacy “would put me in a good position.”


Aug. 13, 2001: City Councilor Mike Donovan, who is also the mayor pro-tem, announces he will run for mayor this fall. Donovan later wins the election in a clean sweep.


Aug. 14, 1852: Concord officials vote to build the Sewalls Falls Bridge.


Aug. 14, 1864: One day before the deadline imposed by the Legislature, Concord Mayor Benjamin Gale and other citizens remove a house south of the State House to make way for the building of Capitol Street.


Aug. 14, 1945: The victory bell rings at 7:11 p.m., signaling the defeat of Japan and the end of the war. Thousands of people rush into downtown Concord to celebrate peace. One planned event is an “o so joyful Hara Kiri parade.” Children in kimonos carry parasols down Main Street, vying for $1 prizes for the best costumes. Also in the parade is an overturned canoe labeled “Jap Navy.” A man standing atop a Main Street building gaily fires a 10-gauge shotgun again and again. The police report that the throngs are well-behaved with the exception of a carload of Pittsfield boys who are caught setting off false fire alarms.


Aug. 14, 2003: A group of 550 people attends a memorial service for Sarah and Philip Gehring at South Congregational Church in Concord.

Author: Insider Staff

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