This Week in Concord History

Jan. 1, 1819: The Phenix Hotel, built by Abel Hutchins, opens on Main Street in Concord as “a house of entertainment.”

 

Jan. 1, 1865: Lewis Downing Sr. retires from Abbot & Downing, his coach and wagon company.

 

Jan. 1, 2000: About 50 people from the state and the private sector huddle in an emergency operation center in Concord, ready to respond to whatever havoc the dreaded Y2K computer glitch may bring. To their relief, the rollover of the calendar passes without incident.

 

Jan. 2, 1784: The Legislature grants Concord official townhood.

 

Jan. 2, 1788: At Concord’s town meeting, townspeople commission Timothy Walker Jr. to lobby the Legislature and neighboring towns for the creation of a new county.

 

Jan. 2, 1824: After a 36-year fight during which Hopkinton vied with Concord to become the seat of a county that was to be called Kearsarge, the first Merrimack County courthouse opens on its current site.

 

Jan. 2, 1943: The secretary of war informs Catherine A. Pitts of North Spring Street that her son, Captain Thomas A. Pitts, has been killed in action in Alaska.

 

Jan. 3, 1952: The Concord City Council rejects plans for a $1.75 million jet fighter base for the National Guard at Concord Airport. Officials call the plan too disruptive for residents of the Heights.

 

Jan. 3, 1985: Bernhard Goetz, the so-called “subway vigilante” who fled New York after shooting four teens and landed in Concord, is to be returned to Manhattan today. Merrimack County jail guard Thomas Barton says Goetz told him: “What happened had to be done, but I’m sorry it happened.”

 

Jan. 3, 2000: Concord Mayor Bill Veroneau opens his fifth term in office with a pledge to explore seriously the possibility of bringing a semi-professional baseball team to the city. Before the fall, the city will announce it has landed just such a franchise: the Concord Quarry Dogs, who will play their 2001 home games at Memorial Field.

 

Jan. 4, 1950: The temperature in Concord climbs to 68 degrees, making this the warmest January day of the 20th century.

 

Jan. 4, 1973: Gov. Mel Thomson gets his first term off to a secure start by having all the locks changed in executive offices at the State House.

 

Jan. 4, 2001: Elizabeth McLaughlin, a 101-year-old resident of Concord’s Havenwood-Heritage Heights Retirement Community, gets some extra attention for a day after being invited to the governor’s inaugural address at the State House. “It (was) a day I never expected,” McLaughlin says later. “I’m not an important girl at all.”

 

Jan. 5, 1791: The Legislature gathers in Concord’s new “town house” near Main and Court streets. The Legislature still moves its meeting site from town to town but will often convene at the town house until the granite State House is finished in 1819.

 

Jan. 5, 1813: The first products from state prison industries go on the market: axes, made in the prison’s blacksmith shop, at 10 shillings or $1.50 by the dozen.

 

 

Jan. 5, 2002: The Concord police found firsthand evidence of methamphetamine’s creeping presence last month in an attic crawlspace on Northeast Village Street, the Monitor reports.

 

Jan. 6, 1790: George Hough, 31, who has hauled in a hand press and type cases from Windsor, Vt., publishes Concord’s first newspaper, The Concord Herald and New Hampshire Intelligencer. His office is a one-story print shop on what will one day be the State House grounds.

 

Jan. 6, 1853: A train derails and topples on the way to Concord, killing 11-year-old “Little Benny” Pierce. His father, the president-elect, and his mother are traveling with him but are unhurt.

 

Jan. 6, 1904: Arthur C. Jackson of Concord, who has purchased Daniel Webster’s birthplace as a summer home, proposes to dismantle the room in which Webster was born and remove it temporarily to St. Louis. There he hopes to set it up as New Hampshire’s exhibit at the national fair commemorating the Louisiana Purchase.

 

Jan. 6, 2003: Several Penacook residents ask the city to save their beloved, but most likely doomed, Rolfe barn: They ask the city to seize it through eminent domain. The request is made in a petition filed just minutes before city hall closes. After months of battles between history buffs and property developers, the Penacook Historical Society will own the barn.

Jan. 7, 1904: At its annual meeting, the First Church of Christ Science thanks Mary Baker Eddy of Concord for her gift of $120,000 toward the Concord church, now under construction.

Author: Insider Staff

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