This Week in Concord History

Dec. 5, 1908: Fire Chief William Green sets out for the movies at Phenix Hall, but even though the same show played at the nearby Opera House for more than a year, the Phenix is filled. There are plans to convert yet another building in the Durgin block into a theater. “Verily, the people are moving picture mad,” Mayor Charles Corning writes in his diary.


Dec. 5, 1963: Under a new state law, all drivers over age 75 must be tested again by the Department of Motor Vehicles. The state calculates that 7,500 motorists will be affected.


Dec. 5, 1999: A fire breaks out at South Congregational Church in Concord 45 minutes before a scheduled performance of Handel’s Messiah. After about 80 singers and musicians in formal attire gather on Pleasant Street, they head for nearby St. Paul’s Church, where about 200 people are treated to an impromptu rendition of the oratorio’s most famous section.


Dec. 5, 2001: The Concord High School wrestling team opens its season at Bishop Guertin, heading home with a 54-12 win.


Dec. 6, 1963: Concord Alderman Eugene C. Struckhoff urges that the city lead the battle against a Boston & Maine Railroad plan to end passenger service to New Hampshire.


Dec. 6, 1999: The Concord School Board agrees to increase the salaries of permanent substitute teachers and hire two more for the middle school and high school to share. School officials say that because of the strong economy they’ve had to scramble on occasion to find coverage.


Dec. 6, 2001: The New Hampshire Technical Institute has been accredited as a two-year community college by the New England Association of Schools and College’s Commission on Institutions of Higher Learning, the same group that assesses the University of New Hampshire and the state colleges in Keene and Plymouth, the Monitor reports. “This is one of the most significant moments in the history of NHTI,” said President Bill Simonton. “It will probably set the stage for the next 40 years of college.”


Dec. 7, 1941: While dining with U.S. ambassador John G. Winant of Concord, Winston Churchill learns of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The silver lining for Churchill: The United States will at last enter the war.


Dec. 7, 1965: Concord’s new Douglas N. Everett Ice Arena on Loudon Road is dedicated. The opening event: a hockey game between Dartmouth and UNH.


Dec. 7, 1999: On the anniversary of the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor, presidential candidate John McCain warns a Concord audience that the U.S. military is not sufficiently prepared. “The fault lies not with those who serve, nor with their uniformed leadership,” McCain says. “It rests with political leaders on both sides of the aisle.”


Dec. 8, 1979: Concord City Manager Jim Smith rescinds the fire department’s ban on live Christmas trees in public buildings.


Dec. 8, 1998: The federal government holds a hearing in Concord to discuss removing the peregrine falcon from the nation’s endangered species list. The raptor has made a remarkable comeback in New Hampshire, which boasts 12 nesting pairs.


Dec. 9, 1979: Concord School Superintendent Calvin Cleveland says a group of Gideons will not be allowed to distribute Bibles in the schools, saying it would open the “floodgate” to all religions.


Dec. 10, 1991: In Concord, Pat Buchanan announces that he will challenge President George Bush in the New Hampshire Republican primary. America’s Judeo-Christian heritage must be passed on to a new generation, Buchanan says, not “dumped on some landfill called multiculturalism.”


Dec. 10, 1991: At St. Paul’s School in Concord, Gov. Bill Clinton of Arkansas tells students that if he were the Democratic nominee for president, he would not stand still for attacks on his character. “Nobody’s going to question my patriotism, my devotion to this country or my values without paying a price if I can extract it,” he says.


Dec. 10, 1993: Barry Stem’s 967 acres on Concord’s Broken Ground, proposed over the years as a site for a golf course, a luxury housing project, a hotel and conference center and an office park, are sold at a foreclosure auction for $286,501.


Dec. 10, 2001: For the first time in the state’s history, a group of Concord-area agencies is trying to cooperate on transportation, the Monitor reports. After nearly two years of talks, CAT and some members of the Community Providers Network of Central New Hampshire, a group of 23 human service agencies, are on the brink of pooling their assets.


Dec. 11, 1999: Two Catholic priests whose recent marriages disqualify them from clerical service in the Roman Catholic Church become Episcopal priests in a liturgy at St. Paul’s Church in Concord. The service marks one of the first such clerical conversions in the state’s religious history.


Dec. 11, 2000: An early-morning fire at the Royal Garden Apartments in Concord leaves 37 people homeless. The community will respond with offers of clothing, shelter, even Christmas gifts for the kids.


Dec. 11, 2003: The Army National Guard’s Hillsboro-based 744th Transportation Company holds a deployment ceremony at the New Hampshire Technical Institute in Concord. The 140 members of the Guard unit will be gone for more than a year.

Author: Insider Staff

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