This Week in Concord History

Feb. 26, 1942: The H.J. Heinz Co. runs a large ad in the Monitor telling readers: “Blame Hitler, Hirohito, and Benito! . . . Don’t Blame Your Grocer.” The problem? Because of the shortage of sugar and other commodities, many of Heinz’s 57 varieties may be missing from the shelves.

Feb. 26, 1973: The Concord city manager proposes increasing downtown parking fines from $1 to $2.

Feb. 27, 1733: The Massachusetts General Court creates a new township to be called Rumford (earlier known as Penny-Cook, later as Concord).

Feb. 27, 2000: Trucks full of steel beams arrive in Concord, the first shipment of materials for new seating to be installed at Memorial Field. The construction project comes in preparation for the Babe Ruth World Series, to be played in Concord in August.

Feb. 28, 1894: At Sewalls Falls, George and Charles Page of the Page Belting Co. open the second hydroelectric dam of its kind in the United States. The powerhouse is equipped with four 2,300-volt, 225-kilowatt generators driven by leather belts from reaction-wheel water turbines. Sewalls Falls will generate power until 1968.

Feb. 28, 2003: Two men have been charged with brutally beating a McDonald’s night janitor earlier in the month, the Monitor reports. Mitchell J. Edward, 20, of Elkins Street in Franklin, and Travis Turcotte, 23, of South State Street in Concord, were arraigned on several charges related to the early-morning robbery at the Fisherville Road McDonald’s.

March 1, 1860: During the afternoon, Abraham Lincoln addresses a large crowd at the Phenix Hotel in Concord. He speaks to an even larger one in the evening at Manchester. The mayor of Manchester introduces him as “the next president of the United States.” Lincoln’s appearances follow a trip to see his son, Robert, at Phillips Exeter Academy.

March 1, 1876: Concord’s North Church, at North State and Chapel streets, is consecrated for worship. The church was built on the site of the previous church, which burned to the ground in June 1873. The cost of the new church: $50,883.86.

March 1, 1923: Two Concord newspapers, the Evening Monitor and the New Hampshire Patriot, merge. They will operate as the Concord Daily Monitorand New Hampshire Patriot under Editor James M. Langley, Dartmouth graduate and World War I veteran. Circulation by the mid-’20s will exceed 5,000.

March 1, 1926: The Granite Monthly magazine reports: “The completion of the Concord Monitor-Patriot poll on Prohibition showed an overwhelming victory for the Drys. The totals: Prohibition is right: 1,022. Prohibition is wrong: 152. For modification: 347.

March 1, 1973: Gov. Mel Thomson says he will veto any effort to remove “Live Free or Die” from the state’s license plates. Rep. Jack Chandler of Warner agrees. “Those who don’t like the motto should get out of New Hampshire and live in Massachusetts,” he says.

March 2, 1960: Mayor Charles Johnson of Concord appeals to the Capitol Theatre not to show the movie Jack the Ripper. Johnson hasn’t seen the film but has heard from more than a dozen callers to city hall that it contains scenes of violence and horror. Two days before the movie is scheduled to open, theater manager Theresa Cantin agrees to cancel it.

March 3, 1863: To the ringing of bells, the firing of cannon and the music of bands, the Second New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry Regiment is feted in Concord on its return from the front. The regiment has been fighting with the Army of the Potomac since the first Battle of Bull Run in July 1861.

March 3, 1915: The Legislature takes a poll on Prohibition. Of Concord’s 18 state representatives, only one votes in favor. After all, that year there are 33 places in Concord where liquor can be legally sold: 13 saloons, five hotels, six “bottled goods places,” eight drug stores and one club.

March 3, 1945: G-men with machine guns swarm Main Street after word reaches Concord that two prison escapees from Iowa are holed up downtown. At midday an inspector and three FBI agents arrest 31-year-old killer Edgar Cook at the point of machine guns at the Phenix Hotel. Cook is described as “a tough-looking character with plenty of cash.” Later, a Concord police officer has a hunch that Cook’s partner may have gone to the Capitol Theater to see a matinee of the current feature, The Suspect. The hunch proves correct, and George Stubblefield, aka William Giles, is captured outside a barbershop shortly after leaving the theater.

March 3, 1993: The new $36.5 million federal courthouse in Concord makes the list of “pork projects” named by a citizens’ group that is a member of a coalition headed by Sen. Bob Smith. “Sen. Smith doesn’t necessarily agree with all the projects on the list,” says Smith’s spokeswoman.

March 4, 1777: Concord’s town meeting votes to “break off all dealings” with attorney Peter Green, Dr. Phillip Carrigain and merchants John Stevens and Nathaniel Green. Although the four are among 156 area men who have signed the Association Test, an oath of loyalty to the Patriot cause, they are suspected of being Tories.

March 4, 1999: Standing the state’s political tradition on its head, the Republican-dominated House of Representatives passes an income tax by a four-vote margin. Sponsored by Concord Republican Elizabeth Hager, the bill is intended to fulfill the state’s obligation to guarantee every child an adequate education. Although the state Senate will pass a different income tax bill, neither will become law.

March 4, 2000: Four Concord High hockey players have been suspended on the eve of the state tournament, the Monitor reports. The students are deemed to have violated school policy by attending a party where alcohol was served. School officials learned of the incident from the police – part of a new notification policy the department has put in place.

March 4, 2001: Bishop Brady upsets previously undefeated Merrimack Valley, 45-44, in the quarterfinals of the Class I boys’ basketball tournament. Brady will advance to the finals but lose to Plymouth on a last-second basket.

March 4, 2002: In Concord a construction company begins making emergency structural repairs to the Sears block, giving some peace of mind to people who worry the decrepit building could collapse at any time.

Author: Insider Staff

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