This Week in Concord History

May 8, 1900: Having made several battery-powered cars at his American Manufacturing Co. in Penacook, Adrian Hoyt secures a 10-year local tax exemption for his auto-making concern. He hopes to employ 150-250 men and make three cars a day. A few days later he will drive one of his cars through downtown Concord to show how efficiently a car can deliver the mail. The car business never takes off, but Hoyt Electric does.

May 9, 2001: The average cost of a gallon of gasoline in New Hampshire stands at $1.66, but most drivers interviewed by the Monitor don't foresee changing their driving habits. “It's a numbers thing,” says Linda GiConte. “I think if people see it hit $2, things might start to change.”

May 10, 1994: In the early afternoon, a small crowd gathers at the State House Plaza, where telescopes have been set up to project onto a screen a total eclipse of the sun.

May 10, 1847: Residents of Concord gather to honor Franklin Pierce after he is commissioned brigadier general for the war with Mexico. The ladies of the town present Pierce with a sword. The men have purchased a fine horse for him. When the horse suddenly dies, William Walker, proprietor of the Eagle Hotel, sells the men his black horse, which is given to Pierce.

May 10, 1944: Pinched by the labor shortage, the Brezner Tannery in Penacook has put up cash prizes for the best slogan aimed at a convincing women to take jobs. The results are in. Contestants had to complete the sentence: “I shall help bring an early victory by taking a job because . . .” Taking home the $10 top prize is Margaret Fanning of Hills Avenue, whose entry read: “. . . now is the time, any job calling for help is the place, any unemployed woman is the girl, an age-old threesome guaranteed to bring speedy, satisfactory results when they are properly combined.”

May 11, 1900: Norris Cotton is born. Cotton will become editor of the Granite Monthly and a lawyer in Concord before his political career. He will serve numerous terms in the New Hampshire House, including one as speaker, then go to Washington as a congressman (1947-54) and senator (1954-75).

May 11, 2000: Concord schools Superintendent Curt Sokness announces he will serve the final year of his contract as principal of Walker School. He will fill in for the current principal, Clint Cogswell, who will be on sabbatical. Assistant Superintendent Chris Rath will take over for Sokness.

May 12, 1903: In a referendum, voters in Concord and New Hampshire's other cities approve the licensing of liquor sales. Prohibition, honored in the breach, has been in effect since 1855, but the manufacture of spirits is permitted. The licensing referendum passes in 60 towns, but 144 others vote to stay dry. Voter turnout is 75 percent.

May 12, 1982: Concord City Councilor Robert Washburn calls for the resignation of City Manager Jim Smith. Smith will resign under pressure – but not until 10 years later.

May 12, 2003: The Concord City Council continues its green-tinged track record when it approves a plan to conserve 28 acres of land near Walker State Forest. The decision comes two weeks after a lengthy debate over whether the city should encourage housing developments or preservation projects deadlocked the council and left a group of tree-loving neighbors wondering what to do next.

May 13, 1726: A group of Massachusetts colonists with a royal land grant arrive to settle Penny Cook. They find Judge Sewall, the first white settler, living on his 500-acre tract on the east side of the Merrimack.

May 13, 1974: Gov. Mel Thomson advises all secretaries in his office to cease use of the title “Ms.” in official state correspondence.

May 13, 2002: In an effort to entice its sophomores to perform better on the state's standardized tests, Concord High School offers the incentives of bagels, apple pie and candy bars, as well as entry into a lottery for more than $1,200 in prizes and gift certificates donated by downtown merchants. “They pretty much bribed us to do well,” says Meagan Jameson, 17.

May 14, 1846: The New Hampshire Patriot advises Concord that the United States has declared war on Mexico. New Hampshire will enlist a battalion of 389 men, including Concord's Fire Engine Co. No. 2 and three Patriot printers.

May 14, 1977: Two convicted murderers escape from the state prison. They are Edgar Clifford Avery Jr., convicted of slaying a Concord woman, and Cleo R. Roy, sentenced to life after pleading guilty to killing a Manchester police officer.

May 14, 2002: At a dedication ceremony for the grand opening of the New Hampshire Fire Academy in Concord, firefighters demonstrate theirs skills on a simulated jet crash.

Author: The Concord Insider

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