This week in Concord history

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Jan. 16, 1942: Five soldiers from Manchester crash the car they are driving in West Concord, where one of them has just picked up a date. None of the 1941 coupe’s six occupants are injured, but the soldiers worry about getting back to their base in Gainesville, Fla. They also wonder what they’re going to tell the people at U-Drive-It in Gainesville, where they paid $125 to rent the car to drive home on leave.

 
Jan. 16, 1995: Springtime in January? The temperature in Concord tops out at 63 degrees.
 
Jan. 16, 2000: The number of cardiac surgeries at the New England Heart Institute in Manchester has dropped by 17 percent since the opening of rival centers in Concord and Portsmouth. The Manchester hospital has fought to prevent Concord and Portsmouth from performing heart surgeries since 1995, when they first asked the state for permission.
 
Jan. 16, 2003: Several school boards around the state have added articles to their school district warrants to voice their opposition to the No Child Left Behind Act, calling it another set of federal education laws that will burden local taxpayers and infringe upon local control of schools, the Monitor reports. School boards in the Merrimack Valley, Inter-Lakes and Gilmanton school districts will ask voters to back the statement at their March meetings.
 
Jan. 17, 1726: Massachusetts grants permission to settle the area that will become Concord. A supervising committee screens would-be settlers. It wants just 100 families.
 
Jan. 17, 1948: Concord’s new mayor, Charles McKee, says he’s not giving up on plans for a new man-made lake on the Turkey River, despite voter opposition. “As I understand it, there was a lake there once, but someone pulled out the plug and it drained away. I am told it would be a comparatively simple matter to put the plug back in.”
 
Jan. 17, 2001: New Hampshire Public Radio announces plans to scrap its classical and jazz programming in favor of news and arts-oriented features. The change in format will prompt a lot of angry letters to the editor, but NHPR will go on to enjoy a record fund-raising campaign.
 
Jan. 18, 1982: New Hampshire is rattled by the worst earthquake in 42 years. In Concord, a city council meeting has just gotten under way. As Mayor David Coeyman gavels the meeting to order, the windows begin shaking and papers begin shuffling. “I will always remember this,” Coeyman says.
 
Jan. 19, 1942: Sylvia Esty, an 8-year-old Jehovah’s Witness, puts her hand over her heart but refuses to say the words of the Pledge of Allegiance at the Garrison School in West Concord. She says God has forbidden her to pledge allegiance to flag and country. Concord’s school board says it may have to expel her.
 
Jan. 19, 1968: Speaking to students at St. Paul’s School, Arthur Schlesinger, onetime special adviser to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, opposes U.S. policy in Vietnam. He says it is based on a misguided analysis of post-World War II political realities.
 
Jan. 20, 1798: Concord’s first accidental fire is recorded at 10 p.m. in David George’s hat shop on North Main Street, endangering the Carrigains’ store next door. Townspeople rush to the rescue. “By their assiduous exertions and regular procedure, together with the assistance of some ladies, they happily extinguished the destructive element with little damage except to the building,” the weekly Mirrour reports. “Let this, fellow citizens, excite everyone to vigilance,” the Concord Mirrour continued. “Query – would it not be a good plan for every man to keep a good ladder and one or two proper fire buckets always ready?”
 
Jan. 20, 1823: Rebecca Long, 36, dies in Concord. The cause: poisoning by white lead, accidentally mixed in the sugar used by the family.
 
Jan. 20, 1973: The Monitor reports on downtown progress: “Storrs Street, long planned as a bypass to Main Street traffic congestion, will probably have a traffic light of its own soon.”
 
Jan. 20, 1994: A three-alarm fire damages the Boutwell & Hussey-Wiren Funeral Home on North Main Street, a building that dates to the late 19th century. “I’d like to send a message out that we do plan to go on,” says Ronald Bourque, whose family has owned the business for 20 years.
 
Jan. 21, 1988: In former mayor Martin Gross’s living room in Concord, Democratic presidential contender Al Gore tells a crowd that in 1960, with the election of John F. Kennedy, the nation replaced the oldest president with the youngest. “By sheer coincidence, we have the opportunity to do that again,” Gore says. He is 39 years old and seeking to succeed Ronald Reagan.
 
Jan. 21, 1990: The new Concord Monitor building is dedicated off Sewalls Falls Road. In April, the staff will move into the building. The paper and predecessors to which it can trace its roots have been published in downtown Concord since 1808.

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