This week in Concord history

May 26, 2003: Just about the only full-fledged Memorial Day parade is the procession of cars, complete with trailers and car-top carriers, heading south down Interstate 93, calling an early end to the rainy holiday weekend. Cities and towns around the state either downscale Memorial Day ceremonies and parades, cram events indoors or cancel them altogether.

May 26, 1944: After several destructive incidents, the police join school officials in urging young people not to play with handmade grenades. The grenades are filled with carriage bolts and use match-heads for the explosive charge. Children have been reported making and throwing them throughout the city.

May 27, 2002: For the 26th straight year, the Concord boys’ tennis team reaches the Class L semifinals. They get to the Final Four with an 8-1 victory over No. 7 Portsmouth at Memorial Field.

May 27, 1727: New Hampshire’s legislature grants a charter to a township that includes most of present-day Concord and Bow and part of Pembroke. Because Massachusetts had drawn different boundaries for a similar area, the charter led to much confusion over jurisdiction and – more important – tax collection.

May 28, 2002: Rents around the region have skyrocketed in the last decade, according to 2000 Census data released last week, the Monitor reports. And with rental vacancies in Concord and the surrounding towns hovering at 1 percent, costs aren’t likely to go down anytime soon.

 

May 28, 2000: New Hampshire wildlife biologists are considering importing up to 150 Karner blue butterflies from New York, the Monitor reports. Concord’s unique population of the butterflies is close to extinction, and the biologists hope an infusion of new blood will help the species survive.

May 28, 1996: U.S. Sen. Bob Smith tours Concord’s so-called “crud corridor,” 440 acres of mostly unsightly and underutilized buildings near Interstate 93. Smith supports the city’s bid for a $200,000 federal grant to identify contamination along the corridor, much of which the city will successfully redevelop into an “opportunity corridor.”

May 29, 2002: In Penacook nearly 70 local Catholics air their grievances with the church and demand accountability of both its leaders and abusive priests last night as Bishop John McCormack sits in the back taking notes. It is the first time McCormack attends a discussion organized by parishioners and not clergy.

May 29, 2001: Electropac, a Manchester manufacturing company, buys the vacant Vishay Sprague property in Concord for $2.75 million. The new owner envisions hiring up to 30 people while leasing part of the building to other manufacturing companies.

May 29, 1944: Fourteen of the 46 conscientious objectors working as attendants at the State Hospital in Concord go on a cafeteria strike, refusing to eat. The men, who are labeled “Conchies,” are protesting a rule forbidding them to mingle with regular attendants at the hospital.

May 29, 1944: One patriotic full-page ad lists all the Concord young people serving in the armed forces. Another, for the Foy Tire Co., gives the number: 2,875.

May 30, 1923: For last time, 88-year-old General Joab Patterson rides at the head of the Memorial Day parade in Concord. In 1861, Patterson, a teacher, recruited 72 soldiers from around his native Contoocook and entered the 2nd New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry Regiment as a second lieutenant. He rose to lead the regiment as a colonel, fought in 24 battles and was brevetted a major general near war’s end. He lived most of his postwar years in Concord and led the Memorial Day procession each year.

May 30, 1868: In Concord, school lets out early and businesses close for two hours so that all may observe the first Memorial Day. Col. James E. Larkin of Concord, who fought at Fair Oaks, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, leads the veterans’ procession into Eagle Hall on Main Street. After the singing of “America,” the recitation of the Gettysburg Address and patriotic speeches, the throng marches solemnly to the cemeteries and lays wreaths at the graves of the city’s Civil War dead.

May 30, 1992: Concord’s Bob Tewksbury of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches a four-hitter to beat San Diego. Tewksbury is on his way to his best season ever. He will finish 16-5 with a 2.16 earned run average and be voted National League’s best control pitcher with 20 walks in a career-high 233 innings pitched.

May 30, 1874: A city council committee is appointed to purchase land on Warren Street between State and Green streets for a central fire station. The committee will buy the site for $7,747.52, and the station will operate there for a century.

May 31, 1873: The city council appropriates $12,000 to build a new bridge over the Contoocook River in Penacook.

May 31, 1856: Edward H. Rollins, Concord politico, leads a mass meeting at Phenix Hall to condemn terrorism in Kansas and the caning of Sen. Charles Sumner on the floor of the U.S. Senate. It is among the first gatherings in the city of a new party, the Republicans.

June 1, 2003: 141 students from 40 states and 17 counties graduate from St. Paul’s School.

June 1, 1880; A report indicates that Merrimack County is home to 449 manufacturing establishments which employ 3,580 males 16 years or older, 1,477 females and 628 children and youth.

June 1, 2002: At a $100-a-plate gala for Concord Hospital’s cancer treatment center, some 350 donors are surprised to learn that two major contributors recently came forward. Norman and Melinda Payson of Hopkinton donated $2 million and Jim and Marianne Cook donated $1 million. “We must understand that the purpose of this cancer center is to help the people that surround us,” Jim Cook says. “The health and well-being of babies, adults and the growing elderly population is a top priority.”

June 1, 1913: John Kimball dies in Concord at age 92. He was a largely self-educated millwright and railroad mechanic who rose to become Concord’s mayor in the 1870s. He chaired the committee to build a new state prison and was a principal benefactor of the town library in Boscawen, his home early in life.

June 1, 1852: Convening in Baltimore, the Democrats nominate Franklin Pierce for president. In Concord, a cannon on Sand Hill (Centre Street at Merrimack Street) booms 282 times, once for each vote Pierce received.

June 1, 1865: As part of memorial services held nationwide for President Lincoln, a black funeral car is drawn by six white horses at the head of a procession down Main Street to the State House. Downtown buildings present a great display of “draperies and habiliments of mourning.”

June 1, 1925: Granite Monthly magazine, on the occasion of the end of the legislative session, prints a song sung to the tune of “It Ain’t Gonna Rain No More.” One verse: “Oh you ain’t gonna come no more, no more/Down here to the capital city./Get busy on your other job/For the taxpayers have no pity.”

June 1, 1945: Tom Rath is born. He will go on to become New Hampshire attorney general and an omnipresent Republican political analyst.

Author: Keith Testa

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