This Week in Concord History
Jan. 24, 1988: City leaders unveil plans for a new district courthouse to be built on Clinton Street. The cost: $3.5 million. "We realized 10 years ago that the present court is not adequate. It has not been an easy process," says Mayor Elizabeth Hager.
Jan. 24, 1992: Speaking to students at St. Paul's School, Democratic presidential candidate Paul Tsongas is asked to assess another candidate, Republican Pat Buchanan.
"Pat Buchanan," he answers. "America first. Drives a Mercedes. Don't you think at some point he would have said to himself, 'Hey . . .' "
Jan. 24, 2002: The Concord Police Department announces that George Pregent of Concord has been arrested and charged with four felony-level counts of possession with intent to distribute marijuana. The police found 78 pounds of the drug, the largest recovery of marijuana in the department's history.
Jan. 25, 2000: Concord receives nearly 9 inches of snow, hardly an extraordinary occurrence for late January; however, it is the first significant snowstorm of the season, and for that to come in late January is unusual.
Jan. 26, 1839: In Concord, rain falls for 24 hours straight. The Merrimack River rises 15 feet in 15 hours. Several bridges are destroyed.
Jan. 26, 1968: U.S. Sen. Eugene McCarthy brings his presidential campaign to Concord. He meets with Gov. John King, who is leading President Johnson's campaign in the state, and says of New Hampshire: "It looks like Minnesota."
Jan. 27, 1848: Franklin Pierce returns home to Concord after leading a brigade in the Mexican War. A crowd of 3,000 to 4,000 people meet him at the city's new railroad station. Pierce has been gone eight months. In that time, the Concord town meeting has banned "bowling, saloons and circuses." Among those present for Pierce's welcome home is his old friend and Bowdoin College classmate Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Jan. 27, 1943: An anonymous Webster man applies to the Concord War and Price Rationing Board for 600 pounds of sugar. "I make alky mash and need sugar to make it ferment and taste right," he writes. The board rejects his request.
Jan. 27, 1983: Concord native John Bluto makes a brief TV appearance on an episode of "Cheers." He plays an insurance salesman, a role he played in real life in Concord for more than 10 years.
Jan. 28, 1979: Lawyer Carroll Jones of Concord, who heads Sen. Bob Dole's New Hampshire GOP presidential campaign, says Dole's last-place finish in Iowa means he will have to pull out all the stops between now and the state's Feb. 26 primary.
"Number one," says Jones, "it would be necessary to put about $100,000 into advertising. . . . And step two, he would have to be in the state of New Hampshire 50 percent of the time between now and then."
Jan. 28, 1986: The space shuttle Challenger explodes 72 seconds after liftoff, killing all aboard, including Concord High teacher Christa McAuliffe.
Jan. 28, 2002: Convicted killer and Monitor columnist Ray Barham, 72, dies from cancer in the state prison infirmary. He was convicted in 1983 of first-degree murder after shooting his estranged wife's boyfriend, and started writing for the paper's editorial page in 1987.
Editor Mike Pride will remember him by writing, "Ray joked about wanting to win the Pulitzer Prize. He said it was the only way to change the headline on his obituary. In fact, for many years it was his writing, not the killing, that defined him. He could not outlast the sentence he had brought upon himself, but his pen bore him through it."
Jan. 29, 1896: Concord's first Walker lecture (on Abraham Lincoln, by former Massachusetts governor John Long) is held at White's Opera House. Money left to the city by Abigail Walker made the lectures possible. They continue to this day.
Jan. 29, 2001: Jerry Madden, a 21-year veteran of the Concord Police Department, is promoted to chief. "I think it's wonderful," says Madden's predecessor, Bill Halacy. "I don't know anyone better suited for this job than Jerry Madden."
Jan. 30, 2000: As many as 5,000 of the names on Concord's voter rolls shouldn't be there, the Monitor reports. The extra names include people who have moved away or died, as well as people who are listed more than once. "We have about 24,000 registered voters," City Clerk Sharon Dery says, "but I think we're closer to having about 19,000."
Jan. 30, 2002: Here's a good reason to watch more television and eat more candy, the Monitor reports. Concord native Jeremy Ellison-Gladstone is now appearing in a Snickers ad demonstrating the dangers of going too long without chocolate.