This Week in Concord History

Oct. 17, 1908: Robert Abial “Red” Rolfe is born in Penacook. He will play baseball with the New York Yankees from 1934 to ‘42 and be hailed by many as the team’s best third baseman ever. His career will bridge those of Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio. He will bat .293 lifetime and play in six World Series. After retiring as an active player, he will coach baseball and basketball at Yale, coach professionally in both sports, manage the Detroit Tigers and serve as athletic director at Dartmouth College.


Oct. 17, 1973: Concord officials meet to discuss ways to improve conditions on Concord Heights, after a $25,000 consultant points out: “There’s no village center, no coherence, no meeting place. There’s no there when you get there.”


Oct. 18, 1965: Gov. John King urges state lawmakers to approve tearing down a 70-year-old tower atop the state library at the corner of Park and North State streets. He calls it “an architectural monstrosity.”


Oct. 18, 1988: Attorney Ray D’Amante announces the name of Concord’s soon-to-be-built mall: Steeplegate. Concord, he says, is a city of steeples and they will be incorporated into the mall as a prominent design feature.


Oct. 19, 1920: Weeks before the election, Gov. James M. Cox of Ohio, the Democratic presidential nominee, speaks from a platform beneath the Lafayette elm on the State House lawn. Cox, a chief proponent of the League of Nations, assails Warren G. Harding, the Republican nominee, for claiming that France opposes the League. “The facts justify the conclusion that Sen. Harding has stupidly though deliberately attempted to deceive the people of the United States,” Cox says. He blames the Senate for politicizing the issue, saying that until recently Americans saw the League of Nations as “the voice of God speaking to the consciences of the world.” With the Monitor’s support, Harding will win the election, easily carrying Concord and New Hampshire.


Oct. 20, 1814: The first boat of the Merrimack Boating Co., later the Boston & Concord Boating Co., arrives in Concord. Northbound commercial cargo will include sugar, molasses, rum and finished goods. The boats will carry lumber, firewood, potash (for soap) and granite south to Quincy Market.


Oct. 20, 1989: The 57-year-old Johnny Cash fills the Capitol Theatre in Concord for two performances. His humble demeanor and his repertory, heavy on gospel, trains, fisticuffs, simple justice and simple pieties, bring down the house.


Oct. 20, 1991: James Colbert, 39, is talked out of jumping off the Tobin Bridge in Chelsea. He tells the police he has killed his family in Concord. The Concord police find the bodies of his estranged wife and three children dead in their house on Merrimack Street.


Oct. 20, 2000: James Hall, convicted of second-degree murder for killing his mother, receives a prison sentence of 30 years to life. In April 1999 he strangled Joan Hall, 77, in the Concord apartment they had shared for about a year.


Oct. 21, 1894: James Garvey, who served in the Navy during the Civil War, is killed by the caving in of a bank at Contoocook River Park in Penacook.


Oct. 21, 1983: The Monitor reports that Tio Juan’s restaurant has opened, using a logo and menu that brought protests and the threat of lawsuit by Hispanic groups in Connecticut. The logo shows a Mexican with drooping eyelids, wearing a sombrero and serape and holding a margarita. Patrick Gallagher, one of the owners, says no offense is intended. “People jump on all these bandwagons,” he says.


Oct. 21, 2002: Concord City councilors vote to change Concord’s housing policy to support construction of affordable housing projects as well as the rehabilitation of available units. Councilor Bill McGonagle says “I think approval of this amendment this evening is one small step in the right direction.”


Oct. 22, 1844: The Millerites, one of many cults and sects that have gained popularity in New Hampshire in recent years, believe that the world will end on this date. It doesn’t.


Oct. 22, 1938: Martin Gross is born. He will become a popular Concord mayor (1976-82) and serve as legal counsel to Gov. Walter Peterson and as special counsel to Gov. Hugh Gallen.


Oct. 22, 2003: Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich demonstrates the emergency drills he had to do as a student during the Cold War in front of 500 students at Concord High. “So some of us had nightmares as kids, he says. “We had dreams that the missiles were coming in while we were at recess.”


Oct. 23, 1890: A statue of John Stark is dedicated outside the State House.


Oct. 23, 2001: Former vice president Al Gore meets with several Concord-area Democrats at the Barley House in Concord. During his visit to the state, he also speaks with out-of-work mill workers in Berlin and attends a concert by Voices From the Heart, a 200-woman choir, in Portsmouth.


Oct. 23, 2003: Wesley Clark keeps his appointment at Concord High School, but a case of laryngitis forces him to leave the talking to the students. When one of them opposes the war in Iraq or supports high school sports, Clark tells them – in a whisper – that he aggress.

Author: Insider Staff

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