This Week in Concord History

Feb. 12, 1968: A thin, soft-spoken, curly-haired Harvard divinity student named Sam Brown arrives at 3 Pleasant St. in Concord, headquarters of the “peace” candidacy of Sen. Eugene McCarthy. “The United States is now the great imperialist-aggressor nation of the world,” Brown tells an interviewer. He has come to town to lead scores of young visitors to the state in a one-month insurgency that will bring McCarthy to near-victory in New Hampshire and topple Lyndon Johnson’s presidency.

Feb. 12, 1973: The Concord City Council rejects plans for a shopping center on the site of the South End Marsh. At issue: a $3 million air-conditioned shopping mall providing 250 new jobs. Says one resident: “We are not running out of shopping centers like we are running out of marshes.”

Feb. 12, 2004: Concord High wins the Division I boys’ Nordic skiing state championship classic race, with a combined score of 766 to Keene’s 748. The title is the first boys’ ski championship since 1992.

Feb. 13, 1788: New Hampshire delegates convene to consider the proposed U.S. Constitution. About two-thirds oppose it, and only after cajoling by Dr. Josiah Bartlett and other supporters do the delegates agree to reconvene in Concord in four months.

Feb. 13, 1847: Thomas “Old Soldier” Haines dies at 87. A Concord man, Haines volunteered in the Patriot cause at the age of 19. He was slightly wounded at Fort Ticonderoga in 1777 and had worse luck near Saratoga. He was shot and lay two days among the dead before being rescued. The ball had passed through both cheeks, nearly severing his tongue. The Bouton history of Concord reported: “His face bore the mutilation till his death.”

Feb. 13, 1849: Fire destroys all but the blacksmith shop of the Abbot & Downing coach factory in Concord. It will be rebuilt.

Feb. 13, 1932: Wearing a knitted toque (there are no more substantial headgear), Douglas Everett skates for the United States against Canada in the Olympic ice hockey final at Lake Placid. The teams tie 2-2. Canada, undefeated in the tournament, wins the gold medal. Everett will bring a silver medal home to Concord.

Feb. 13, 1952: Sen. Estes Kefauver of Tennessee and his wife Nancy arrive in Concord to begin a week of folksy campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination. On Main Streets, at jalopy and sled dog races and at factory gates, he will meet this challenge from a campaign adviser: “I want you to promise that you’ll shake 500 hands a day between now and election time.”

Feb. 13, 1992: In a show of fitness aimed at reassuring voters about his health, Democratic presidential candidate Paul Tsongas takes a very public swim at the Concord YMCA. With photographers and TV cameras recording his workout, he swims several laps free-style, then sends an aide to find him someone to race. When no one can be found, he does a 50-yard butterfly sprint on his own.

Feb. 14, 2000: Everett Arena officials ask the Concord City Council to chip in half the construction costs for adding two new locker rooms. Among other things, the plans would bring the rink into compliance with federal disability regulations and gender equity laws.

Feb. 14, 2003: The Penacook tannery will receive half a million dollars from the state Land and Community Heritage Investment Program for cleanup and restoration, the program’s board of directors announces.

Feb. 15, 1943: As a war measure, Concord’s Mayor Charles McKee recommends that stoplights be eliminated at city intersections. Posting stop signs in their places will conserve gasoline, he says.

Feb. 15, 2001: The Sewalls Falls bridge is closed for repairs. One of the few crossings of the Merrimack River in Concord, the bridge has been slated for reconstruction in the past. As far back as 1993, the state said a new bridge would be in place by 1998.

Feb. 16, 1943: The temperature falls to 37 below zero at 8:30 a.m., the coldest temperature ever measured in Concord. The record had been 35 below, set Jan. 8, 1878.

Feb. 16, 2002: In Concord, a blaze that brings the city’s entire firefighting fleet to Main Street damages the two brick buildings that house Granite Bank and Eye 2 Eye Gallery. Nobody is hurt.

Feb. 16, 2003: The Concord High gymnastics team, in its first “real” season, wins the state championship, the Monitor reports. At the State Gymnastic Meet in Londonderry, the Tide puts up 141.625 points to second-place Pinkerton’s 136.675. Fifth-place Bow’s (131.950) Julia Riordan is the all-around winner.

Feb. 17, 1874: Franklin B. Evans, killer of Josianna Lovering of Northwood, is hanged at the state prison. On his last night, Evans sold his body for $50 to a Concord doctor who planned to bring it to the Dartmouth College medical department. Evans was curious to learn if his bones would be wired together. The idea amused him. Over three years later, in a prank, students will steal his skeleton from a lecture hall and hang it on the college grounds.

Feb. 17, 1900: Deep in debt, the 96-year-old Abbot & Downing coach and wagon company is taken over by creditors. Employment has dropped from 300 to 200. The families of Lewis Downing and J. Stephens Abbot will no longer be involved in running the company after 1901, and the new bosses will struggle to keep the enterprise afloat.

Feb. 17, 1942: St. Paul’s School holds a blackout drill. A steam whistle blast announces the onset of 10 minutes of darkness for the school’s 750 students.

Feb. 17, 1943: The low temperature in Concord is 18 below zero, but that’s a big improvement! It was 37 below the day before.

Feb. 18, 1827: The Rev. Asa McFarland, Concord’s Congregationalist minister for 30 years, dies at the age of 58. Two portraits of McFarland exist, including one by Samuel F.B. Morse, a resident of Concord in the early 19th century.

Feb. 18, 1842: The radical and conservative factions of the Democratic Party brawl in Concord’s town hall over control of a party caucus. An observer, Henry McFarland, writes that “seats and desks were smashed, wigs flew in the dusty air, and bloody noses were seen on most respectable faces. There was a great uproar and a clatter of flying feet, combatants chasing their foes as far down as Centre Street.”

Feb. 18, 1869: Fire destroys Concord’s Columbian Hotel.

Feb. 18, 1974: Archibald Cox, the special Watergate prosecutor fired four months earlier by President Nixon, receives a hero’s welcome at St. Paul’s School, where he graduated in 1930. Speaking of the possibility of impeachment, Cox says that by his definition, to meet the constitutional test of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” an offense would have to be “a major crime against the body politic.”

Feb. 18, 2003: Moving from the Carolinas to New Hampshire, a slow-moving snowstorm closes down the East Coast. The storm starts mid-afternoon in the Concord area and dumps 9.3 inches of snow on the city, and about a foot in most southern parts of the state.

Author: Insider Staff

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