In the arena of Concord mysteries, this one's a doozy.
The story begins at Goodwill on Loudon Road, where, until recently, a monument to former Gov. Isaac Hill sat. It read: "Site of home of Isaac Hill, United States Senator 1831-1835, Governor 1836-1839."
The problem is that Isaac Hill never owned property on Loudon Road. Records of Hill's residence are not entirely clear, thanks to incomplete maps and infrequent appearances in city records, but the data available suggests that his early home was located on Main Street, across from Merrimack County Savings Bank. James McConaha, a member of the Concord Heritage Commission, says Hill lived in the rear of a shop at that spot. His home was across the street from the bookstore he owned - the largest in the state at the time. A few years before his death in 1851, he built a brick house at what is now 75 S. Main St. It was demolished in 1973.
As for the current home of the monument, no one has any idea how it got there. The property where Goodwill is located was owned by the Smith family for most of the 20th century, and family members have no recollection of the monument. The Smiths sold the property to a contractor, who sold it to Clyde Wilber more than 20 years ago. Speaking to Monitor reporter Chelsea Conaboy, who wrote about the monument in 2007, Wilbur said he recalls having to move the marker to pave the parking lot for his hardware store, but he's not sure how it got there in the first place.
Let's review: There are two viable locations for a marker indicating Hill's first home, but the monument is situated at neither. At what point did the marker make its away across the Merrimack River to Loudon Road and why? This is exactly the question that McConaha is hoping to find the answer to.
The monument is now in the hands of Perry Brothers Monuments, who have taken on the task of cleaning and polishing the marker. McConaha is working to get the monument moved to a historically accurate location, and is confident that will get done before the end of the year - The commission is working with the city to find the marker's new home.
The story of this monument has a happy ending, but the commission would love to know its back story. If you have any information on the mysterious moving monument, give us a call at 369-3378 or e-mail email@example.com. Please include "monument" in the subject line, or something identifying your message. Really, as long as it doesn't read "High-End Luxury Watches" or "Masters degree with no efforts," you should be okay.
To read more about Gov. Hill (and about the Monitor's humble beginnings) check out this article by Dan Barrick: http://www.concordmonitor.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090418/FRONTPAGE/904180316