This Week In Concord History

July 14, 2002: A fire destroys a Maple Street home in Concord. Nobody is hurt.

July 15, 2002: House lawmakers lose a last-ditch chance to re-draw their election districts themselves, clearing the way for the state Supreme Court to take over.

July 15, 2000: Concord’s Bob Mielcarz wins his ninth State Amateur Golf Championship, the most anyone has ever won.

July 15, 1863: Aware that draft riots have occurred in New York and Boston, the city of Concord appropriates $1,460 to buy 100 revolvers and ammunition for self-defense. It also authorizes Mayor Benjamin F. Gale to appoint 100 special police officers. No draft riots will occur in Concord.

July 15, 1822: The hail that falls in Concord today is “of a sufficient size to break glass and cut down the corn,” according to a local history.

July 15, 1832: Six convicts escape from the state prison in Concord by splitting a stone in the roofing of their cell and letting themselves down the wall by their blankets. Four are captured in Hopkinton, one in Grantham. One is never found.

July 15, 1991: U.S. Sen. Bob Smith finds out what happens to a freshman Republican who tries to restrict tax money flowing to the home state of the Democratic majority leader of the Senate: He loses big. Voting 72-22, the Senate rejects a proposal by Smith to order the federal government to stop withholding Maine state income taxes from New Hampshire residents who work at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

July 15, 1965: A 50-foot section of the second story of Concord’s new federal building at Pleasant and South streets collapses under the weight of freshly-poured concrete. No one is hurt.

July 16, 1992: The Drifters play Main Street during Concord’s annual downtown summer sale.

July 16, 1864: A year after the Legislature announced that “any city or town” might bid to build a new State House, legislators vote to keep Concord as state capital. The price: The city must build a street on the south side of State House grounds (Capitol Street) and rebuild the cramped 44-year-old State House. It will do so by the following year at a staggering cost of $347,000, including $189,000 interest.

July 16, 1970: Attorney General Warren Rudman says, “I can assure the people of New Hampshire I would never serve Mr. Thomson as attorney general.” His statement is in reaction to gubernatorial candidate Mel Thomson, who said that if he were governor, Rudman would not fit the specifications of the job. They will both prove to be wrong.

July 17, 2003: Speaking at the Page Belting factory in Concord, Florida Sen. Bob Graham fields questions about the White House’s use of unsubstantiated evidence to justify war in Iraq. “I believe he is being deceitful,” Graham says of President Bush. “There has been a pattern of withholding information from the American people.”

July 17, 2000: A Merrimack County judge upholds the right of the state Senate to meet in private to begin planning the impeachment trial of state Supreme Court Chief Justice David Brock. Several House members argued unsuccessfully that the closed-door session violated laws guaranteeing access to governmental proceedings.

July 17, 1967: A four-member investigating committee of Concord’s Board of Alderman charges Mayor J. Herbert Quinn with gross misconduct and recommends his removal from office. The committee finds that Quinn attempted to trap Monitor editor James Langley on a drunken driving charge.

July 18, 2003: Gov. Craig Benson signs into law legislation that could open as many as 20 charter schools in the state in the next 10 years. The schools would be public but exempt from some state regulations, and typically would be designed to serve a certain type of student, such as those at risk of dropping out or those interested in the arts or another subject. The new law allows the state school board to approve charter schools even if the local school district objects.

July 18, 2002: Republican activists slam Gov. Jeanne Shaheen for supporting tax increases they say have made New Hampshire a less business-friendly state.

July 18, 1817: To a group of leading citizens on the Concord-Chichester line, a cloud of dust announces the approach of President James Monroe. A cheering crowd on Main Street greets Monroe, a lanky 59-year-old man in a formal long dark coat. He will spend three days in the capital, attending dinners, a concert and Sunday services, taking a ride on a new 75-foot boat on the Merrimack  and visiting the State House construction site.

July 18, 1818: A gilded, carved wooden eagle is raised to a perch of the State House, which is nearing completion. The event is marked with a parade, toasts and refreshments.

July 19, 2002: A top state health official says he was paid to quit after he raised questions about widespread waste, fraud and abuse within New Hampshire’s mental health system, the Monitor reports. The official, former Division of Behavioral Health director Tom Keane, left the state Department of Health and Human Services having accepted six month’s pay, or nearly $44,000, for not returning to work. He served 10 months in office.

July 19, 1976: A consultant recommends that the state build a new $20 million prison on Clinton Street and phase out the North State Street facility by 1980. City officials are outraged. City Councilor David Rogers suggests the site is Gov. Mel Thomson’s choice because it is “the residential area inhabited by many of his most outspoken critics.” (The plan never comes to fruition.)

July 19, 1832: Fearing a cholera epidemic that has entered the country from Europe and Canada, a special Concord town meeting elects a board of health. The board is granted power “to make all necessary arrangements and accommodations for sick strangers and for the comfort and safety of its own citizens.” Fears of the cholera epidemic will prove unfounded.

July 19, 1985: In a White House ceremony, Christa McAuliffe, a Concord High School social studies teacher, is named the nation’s “Teacher in Space.” Scheduled for a January launch on the space shuttle, McAuliffe says: “I think students will . . . say that an ordinary person is contributing to history, and if they can make that connection, they are going to get excited about history and about the future.”

July 19, 1988: Gov. John Sununu travels to Washington to testify against a national sales tax which, he says, “would place the federal government in each of the three major tax areas: income, payroll and sales. This opens up the strong possibility of huge spending and tax increases over time.”

July 20, 2002: Wayne Vetter, executive director of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, has apparently been accused by a female employee of sexual harassment, the Monitor reports.

July 20, 1988: The New York Times reports that New Hampshire is among the top 10 states when it comes to wine consumption. At the top of the list: California. No. 50: Mississippi. New Hampshire comes in 9th, at 3.12 gallons per capita per year.

July 20, 1990: Justice William Brennan announces that he will leave the U.S. Supreme Court. U.S. Sen. Warren Rudman calls President Bush’s chief of staff, John Sununu, to suggest to him that Bush nominate Judge David H. Souter of New Hampshire to succeed Brennan.

July 20, 1945: The Carmelite nuns, a cloistered order engaged in meditation, prayer and manual labor, plan a new foundation in Concord. They have acquired a site on Bridge Street and will move to the city from Roxbury, Mass. The order is named after Mount Carmel in Palestine, site of the first church dedicated to the Immaculate Mother of God. The order’s first home in the United States was established in Baltimore in 1790.

July 20, 1987: A traveling exhibit in a trailer stops at the State House, and hundreds of people queue up to see what’s inside. Among many other items, the exhibit includes an original Magna Carta, a signed Emancipation Proclamation, a page of the 1638 Connecticut charter and a late draft of the U.S. Constitution with the notes of one of the delegates, Pierce Butler, in the margins.

July 20, 1817: President James Monroe attends church at “the Old North,” the Congregational church that stood on the site of the current Walker School.

July 20, 1917: The U.S. secretary of war draws No. 258, the first of 10,500 numbers assigned to men in the draft lottery. By war’s end, 8,900 New Hampshiremen will have been drafted into service, and many more will have enlisted.

Author: Insider staff

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