This Week in Concord History

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, 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 30, 1923: For the last time, 88-year-old Gen. 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 breveted 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, 1992: Concord’s Bob Tewksbury, starting pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, pitches a four-hitter to beat the San Diego Padres. Tewksbury is on his way to his best season ever. He will finish with a 16-5 record with a 2.16 earned run average and be voted the National League’s best control pitcher with 20 walks in a career-high 233 innings pitched.


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.


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


May 31, 1911: Nahum Bachelder, an East Andover farmer and former New Hampshire governor, falls from power as master of the national Grange after it is disclosed that he has allowed the Grange’s good name to be used in underhanded lobbying campaigns in Washington. He will leave the organization, known as the “Patrons of Husbandry” and the chief voice of the nation’s farmers, after 34 years as a member and six as its national leader.


May 31, 1932: The Schoonmaker Chair Co. goes out of business, ending contract labor at New Hampshire State Prison.


May 31, 1983: After much debate, legislators decide not to build the governor a special executive washroom at the State House. The vote is a victory for Rep. Eugene Daniell of Franklin, who says the state shouldn’t spend money on bathrooms if it can’t give its workers a pay raise.


May 31, 2002: U.S. Sen. Bob Smith and EPA Administrator Christie Todd Whitman plant the first bush for Teardrop Park, a former brownfields site in Concord. Smith hopes that a law that he helped write will make it easier for other abandoned industrial sites to be redeveloped. The law limits the liability of new owners of brownfields sites and provides $200 million a year for cleanup.


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


June 2, 1784: New Hampshire adopts a new constitution. The title “governor,” too reminiscent of British colonial rule, is changed to “president.” To celebrate the event, a parade marches up Main Street in Concord to the Old North Church.


June 2, 1819: The State House opens in Concord. The legislative session will be notable for halting the practice of state subsidy for the Congregationalist Church.


June 2, 2000: Souther’s Market, one of Concord’s original groceries, closes after more than 50 years in business.


June 2, 2002: The Concord Quarry Dogs are trickling into town, ready for a sophomore season organizers hope will capture as many hearts and mitts as did last year’s honeymoon, the Monitor reports. Last year, the city gave its Q-puppies unconditional love, even as the New England Collegiate Baseball League team slipped to the bottom of its division. This summer, Concord Baseball Association members are trying to set up another summer affair.


June 3, 1895: A burglar or burglars clean out the State House safe, taking $6,000.


June 4, 1819: A great parade of Concord citizens, soldiers, musicians and legislators escorts new Gov. Samuel Bell, on horseback, from Boscawen to the new State House. The procession is greeted with “bells, the thunder of artillery, and the gratulations of the thousands,” the Patriot reports. “The day was remarkably fine.”


June 4, 1973: Gov. Mel Thomson establishes a box at the Concord post office where residents are asked to report criminal activities. Senate Vice President Harry Spanos is apoplectic. “What this latest effort does is to make us a state of informers, not unlike some of the totalitarian states of the past and present,” he says.


June 4, 1973: The Concord School Board votes to build a 450-pupil, $1.9 million school for grades four through six off Portsmouth Street. It will be known as Broken Ground School.


June 4, 2001: The Concord School Board approves a policy prohibiting students on sports teams or in clubs from attending gatherings where other students are using alcohol or drugs. If students are caught – regardless of whether they were drinking or getting high – they, along with a parent or guardian, will have to meet with a school counselor to discuss the risks associated with alcohol and drug abuse.


June 4, 2003: Philip Dick, Kevin Gil and Christopher McNeil cut holes in razor wire fences and escape from the North State Street prison in Concord.


June 5, 1989: Concord’s CAT buses roll for the first time. Rides are free for the first week. It’s the first public transportation available in Concord in 11 years.


June 5, 2003: Just 29 hours after they cut holes in razor wire fences to escape from the North State Street prison in Concord, Philip Dick, Kevin Gil and Christopher McNeil are caught at a campground in Plymouth, Mass.

Author: Insider Staff

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