This Week In Concord History

Dec. 16, 2000: Rick Trombly, who lost his bid for re-election to the state Senate a month ago, is among 11 applicants interviewing to fill a vacancy on the Merrimack County Commission, the Monitor reports. He will soon be given the job by the panel of judges making the selection.

Dec. 16, 1976: Gov. Mel Thomson announces he will have state troopers stationed at border liquor stores to harass out-of-state tax agents who sometimes try to catch consumers from their states buying New Hampshire’s cheap booze. The agents, he says, will be questioned, photographed and asked to produce identification.

Dec. 16, 1965: A new state report shows public libraries in New Hampshire spend an average of $2.32 per resident. Concord tops the list at $4.06 per resident. Book readership is also up statewide, to 6.71 books per resident per year.

Dec. 17, 2001: Concord mayor Bill Veroneau ends his 16-year council career on a high note, as the council approves the money for the completion of the southern leg of the Northwest Bypass. “My six years as a ward councilor and 10 years as mayor have always been exciting, never boring and continuously filled with action,” he says. “Tonight is an example.”

Dec. 17, 1951: The temperature in Concord falls to 22 below zero, making this the coldest December day of the 20th century.

Dec. 17, 1828: Ralph Waldo Emerson, who is under serious consideration for the job of assistant pastor to the Second Church in Boston (the Mathers’ church), visits Concord. He and Ellen Tucker, whom he met the previous Christmas, become engaged to marry. He is 25, she 17.

Dec. 17, 1835: Charles Miner, who supports native New Hampshireman Daniel Webster for president, explains why Webster’s stance on the War of 1812 will hurt him. “Damning Sin! Never to be forgiven,” Miner writes. “He was a Federalist 

. . . opposed to the war! Let no statesman or patriot hereafter, dare to interpose his voice to save his Country from the Horrors of War!” Miner’s view will be shared by historians, who say Webster’s antiwar position as a young congressman doomed his presidential ambitions.

Dec. 17, 1808: Three years after a state prison is proposed in Concord, the Legislature authorizes a committee of three to accept bids for building one. It will be nearly four years before the prison opens on North States Street at Tremont Street. It will be a three-story, 36-cell structure surrounded by granite walls three feet thick and 14 feet high. The cost: $37,000.

 

Dec. 17, 1992: Gov. Judd Gregg orders a pagan symbol removed from the State House lawn. The young man who erected it goes to court, where Steven McAuliffe, in his first major decision as a federal judge, overrules Gregg’s order.

Dec. 18, 2002: The Executive Council turns down the bulk of outgoing Gov. Jeanne Shaheen’s last 71 appointments to state boards and commissions, outraging the governor and capping what’s been a longstanding battle. “For the majority of the council to dismiss them purely for political reasons does a disservice to the state of New Hampshire and its citizens,” Shaheen, a Democrat, says in an interview with reporters.

Dec. 18, 2001: David Rayment, a lawyer representing the Richmond Co., the Massachusetts company that wants to build a supermarket and shopping center adjacent to the South End Marsh, argues in a hearing at Merrimack County Superior Court that the Concord Planning Board unfairly rejected the project. Superior Court Judge John Arnold will later rule that the board did not provide the developers with enough evidence to support its decision to reject the proposal.

Dec. 18, 2000: For the first time in anyone’s memory, a crowd gathers at the State House to watch the casting of votes for president by New Hampshire’s four members of the Electoral College. The electors all choose George W. Bush, doing their part to ensure his narrow victory over Al Gore.

Dec. 18, 1995: Concord’s Bob Tewksbury signs a one-year contract with the San Diego Padres for $1.5 million.

Dec. 18, 1973: Gov. Meldrim Thomson asks the attorney general to crack down on activities of the Gay Students Organization at the University of New Hampshire. He is particularly incensed over a publication called the Fag Rag, which, he says, “contains solicitation for purposes of unnatural sexual acts.”

Dec. 19, 1979: At a campaign stop in Concord, Senate Minority Leader Howard Baker says a get-tough policy is needed to protect American embassies and suggests the creation of a special 50,000-member military unit to accomplish that. “As dangerous as the situation is in Iran, the real danger to this country is the growing impression throughout the world that you can push on Uncle Sam and nothing ever happens in return,” he says.

Dec. 19, 1976: Gov. Mel Thomson says President-elect Jimmy Carter’s amnesty plan for Vietnam draft evaders and deserters “would deal a mortal blow to the patriotic spirit of America.” He writes Carter and tells him so.

Dec. 19, 1983: Sens. Alan Cranston and John Glenn pay their $1,000 each and file to run in New Hampshire’s Democratic presidential primary. Both criticize  the perceived front-runner, Walter Mondale. “You can’t promise everything to everybody,” Glenn says. “Pretty soon you have to go to the checkout counter.” Says Cranston: “Mondale is saying he would do everything from A to Z. I will try to do everything from A to B.”

Dec. 20, 1979: U.S. Rep. John Anderson, a Republican from Illinois, comes to Concord to officially register for the GOP presidential primary. Ronald Reagan, he tells the Associated Press, “is a long way from being home free in this race.”

Dec. 20, 2000: Commissioner Leon Kenison announces his retirement from the state Department of Transportation. Kenison, 58, has worked in the department since he was a 23-year-old civil engineer fresh out of the University of New Hampshire.

Dec. 20, 1976: As part of a continuing liquor war between New Hampshire and Massachusetts, Gov. Meldrim Thomson releases the names of eight Massachusetts tax agents who had been seen observing Massachusetts residents purchasing liquor in New Hampshire. Since New Hampshire prices are lower, Massachusetts has tried to limit large out-of-state purchases so as not to lose tax revenue. Thomson claims “tax stool pigeons” will continue to be detained and questioned by state police when found loitering around liquor stores.

Dec. 20, 1991: On the deadline to enter the 1992 New Hampshire primary, hundreds of reporters and television crews gather on the State House lawn for the Mario watch. New York Gov. Mario Cuomo,  whom many expect to jump into the Democratic race, never shows.

Dec. 21, 2002: Concord boys’ basketball opens their season with a 49-47 win over Pinkerton.

Dec. 21, 1998: The Concord City Council orders City Manager Duncan Ballantyne to review the process used to rename 31 city streets after a prolonged furor over the issue. Ultimately, they say, some streets may revert to their old names.

Dec. 22, 2001: In a state where primary campaigns rarely heat up until just before the election, Craig Benson has thrown more extravaganzas than any of his four competitors – probably more than any candidate in the state’s history so far out from the election – and he never lets anyone leave hungry, the Monitor reports. Food, folks and fun is not his only tactic, but Benson knows that in a good activist’s heart, eating is next to voting. And so far, his strategy is attracting diners, and attention.

Author: Insider staff

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