May 15, 1727: A Congregational church, Concord's first, is ready for occupancy. It is a 40-by-25-foot log structure at North Main and Chapel streets. The logs are thick enough to be bullet-proof, and the church, though windowless, has portholes through which to shoot Indians.
May 15, 1908: Unable to keep up with the Concord City Auditorium for live shows, manager Ben White of White's Opera House begins showing continuous motion pictures and illustrated songs every day but Sunday. Admission is a dime for adults, a nickel for children. This venture will prove an immense success.
May 15, 1983: Auditions for an amateur production of Annie draw 23 little girls to Concord's Phenix Theatre. "You need not be afraid. None of us can sing, so whatever you can do will be fine," says producer Norman Leger.
May 16, 1893: After a sensational trial in the killing of a young woman who jilted him, Frank C. Almy, also known as George Abbott, is executed at the state prison. He is the ninth man hanged in New Hampshire and the last before capital punishment is repealed. It will be resumed in 1916. The execution is botched, the rope slipping over Almy's head as he falls. Over his protests, he is quickly hanged again - and efficiently. There are rumors afterward that Almy's body has been stolen, but Warden George W. Colbath assures the public that he knows precisely where it is buried.
May 17, 1983: Sculptor Dimitri Gerakaris oversees the installation of the steel arch at the entrance to Eagle Square. It is not an instant hit. "It looks like someone's nightmare that hasn't been completed," says one passerby. "It's art, Arthur," corrects his wife.
May 17, 1995: Concord Police Chief David Walchak calls on Gov. Steve Merrill to veto the Legislature's decision to join the multi-state lottery Powerball. "We're disappointed in the Legislature for passing it," says Walchak, a leading member of the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police, "and we're disappointed with anybody who permits the expansion of gambling in New Hampshire."
May 17, 2003: Speaking at the graduation ceremony for Franklin Pierce Law Center in Concord, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry urges the 206 graduates that it is their responsibility to practice law in a way that would halt the growing suspicion of the profession. "This law degree, particularly from Franklin Pierce Law Center, doesn't give you the privilege of standing apart from our society, just taking care of your self," Kerry says. "It demands that you give meaning to the word 'citizen.' "
May 18, 1860: In Concord, a 100-gun salute is fired in response to news that the Republicans have nominated Abraham Lincoln. "They were very feeble reports, the caliber of the guns corresponding with that of the candidates," reports the city's Democratic newspaper, the New Hampshire Patriot.
May 18, 1977: Three men escape from the state prison by sawing through the kitchen roof. They join two killers on the lam, bringing to five the number of prisoners who have escaped from maximum security in the last five days. Three of the five are murderers. The warden declines to talk to reporters.
May 18, 2001: The Concord School District has been named one of the top 100 places in the country to get a quality music education, the Monitor reports. The survey was conducted by the VH1 Save the Music Foundation, Yamaha Corp., the National School Boards Association, the Music Teachers National Association and the American Music Conference.
May 19, 1780: A sulfurous smell in the atmosphere has presaged this day of haze known hereafter as The Dark Day. Fires in the unexplored West may be the cause of the darkness. (next page »)