This Week in Concord History

Feb. 9, 1988: Fresh from a first-place finish in Iowa, U.S. Sen. Bob Dole takes a hard anti-Communist line in a Concord campaign appearance. He warns against “glasnost fever,” saying: “Whatever glasnost is, it is not democracy. Whatever else Gorbachev may be, he is still a hard-as-nails Communist.”

Feb. 9. 2001: Concord High sophomore Rachel Umberger wins the 300-meter and 1,000-meter runs at the state Indoor Track and Field Championships. As a team, the Tide finishes fifth overall.

Feb. 10, 1942: Robert Leon Harris, a 15-year-old student, agrees to leave Rundlett Junior High School “so as not to cause any trouble.” He is the second Jehovah’s Witness in the city to refuse on religious grounds to pledge allegiance to flag and country.

Feb. 10, 1992: Concord Mayor Bill Veroneau privately tells embattled City Manager Jim Smith that it is time for Smith to resign. In his latest scrape with councilors and residents, Smith’s slowness in sounding the alarm on a property tax shortfall made him a political target in the November election. He will take Veroneau’s advice and leave the job after 13 years.

Feb. 11, 2002: The Concord City Council votes 13-1 to accept 30 fiscal goals for the city, including a 3 percent tax rate increase target.

Feb. 12, 1968: A thin, soft-spoken, curly-haired Harvard divinity student named Sam Brown arrives at 3 Pleasant St. in Concord, headquarters of the “peace” candidacy of Sen. Eugene McCarthy. “The United States is now the great imperialist-aggressor nation of the world,” Brown tells an interviewer. He has come to town to lead scores of young visitors to the state in a one-month insurgency that will bring McCarthy to near-victory in New Hampshire and topple Lyndon Johnson’s presidency.

Feb. 12, 1979: In Concord on Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, U.S. Sen. Bob Dole announces that he will run for president. “I’m a hard worker,” he says. “I think the record is there.”

Feb. 12, 1973: The Concord City Council rejects plans for a shopping center on the site of the South End Marsh. At issue: a $3 million air-conditioned shopping mall providing 250 new jobs. Says one resident: “We are not running out of shopping centers like we are running out of marshes.”

Feb. 12, 2004: Concord High wins the Division I boys’ Nordic skiing state championship classic race, with a combined score of 766 to Keene’s 748. The title is the first boys’ ski championship since 1992.

Feb. 13, 1849: Fire destroys all but the blacksmith shop of the Abbot & Downing coach factory in Concord. It will be rebuilt.

Feb. 13, 1932: Wearing a knitted toque (there are no more substantial headgear), Douglas Everett skates for the United States against Canada in the Olympic ice hockey final at Lake Placid. The teams tie 2-2. Canada, undefeated in the tournament, wins the gold medal. Everett will bring a silver medal home to Concord.

Feb. 13, 1952: Sen. Estes Kefauver of Tennessee and his wife Nancy arrive in Concord to begin a week of folksy campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination. On Main Streets, at jalopy and sled dog races and at factory gates, he will meet this challenge from a campaign adviser: “I want you to promise that you’ll shake 500 hands a day between now and election time.”

Feb. 13, 1992: In a show of fitness aimed at reassuring voters about his health, Democratic presidential candidate Paul Tsongas takes a very public swim at the Concord YMCA. With photographers and TV cameras recording his workout, he swims several laps free-style, then sends an aide to find him someone to race. When no one can be found, he does a 50-yard butterfly sprint on his own.

Feb. 13, 1996: At the Monitor a week before the New Hampshire primary, Bob Dole says he is the one candidate who can provide “adult leadership.”

Feb. 14, 2000: Everett Arena officials ask the Concord City Council to chip in half the construction costs for adding two new locker rooms. Among other things, the plans would bring the rink into compliance with federal disability regulations and gender equity laws.

Feb. 14, 2003: The Penacook tannery will receive half a million dollars from the state Land and Community Heritage Investment Program for cleanup and restoration, the program’s board of directors announces.

Feb. 15, 1943: As a war measure, Concord’s Mayor Charles McKee recommends that stoplights be eliminated at city intersections. Posting stop signs in their places will conserve gasoline, he says.

Feb. 15, 2001: The Sewalls Falls Bridge is closed for repairs. One of the few crossings of the Merrimack River in Concord, the bridge has been slated for reconstruction in the past. As far back as 1993, the state said a new bridge would be in place by 1998.

Author: The Concord Insider

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