This Week in Concord History

Dec. 4, 1999: A member of the Republican National Committee evaluating the way presidential primaries are scheduled says he supports New Hampshire’s position as first in the nation. “In every conversation I’ve had,” says Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating, “the principals agree that New Hampshire’s role should not be touched.”

Dec. 5, 1866: The Monitor reports: “A man who had assisted to empty several bottles of wine afterward took a walk. The pavement was quite icy, and he exclaimed, ‘Very singular, whenever water freezes, it freezes with the slippery side up.’ ”

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, 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: Dr. Thomas Ritzman, a Concord obstetrician and a backer of Barry Goldwater’s presidential campaign, tries to undo the damage he did the day before with a statement to an Associated Press reporter. Ritzman told the reporter that President Lyndon Johnson had a heart attack on the day of the Kennedy assassination. He based the claim on a photograph of LBJ gripping his left arm at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. Now Ritzman tells a Monitor reporter he was misquoted. “I have no idea if President Johnson was suffering an attack of angina,” he says. “I certainly hope he was not.” The AP stands by its story.

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, 1790: The Concord Herald reports: “No Boston post is arrived; all news we believe is frozen up by the cold weather; we have not even a report with which we can serve up a paragraph for our news-hungry customers.”


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.

Author: Insider Staff

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