This Week in Concord History

April 16, 1965: After a major organizing and fundraising effort by, among others, Dudley Orr, Russell Martin, Malcolm McLane and figure-skating Police Chief Walter Carlson, construction begins on the ice hockey rink that will become Everett Arena.

April 16, 1967: The governor and Executive Council approve the state’s acquisition of 224.5 acres of marshland off Hoit Road in East Concord for a fish and wildlife preserve.

April 17, 1885: Thomas Samon, who killed a woman in Laconia, stuffed her body in a trunk and wheeled it away, is the first man executed at the new state prison. A prison historian describes Samon as a dull man who spoke with a nasal tone and had one blue eye and one brown eye.

April 17, 1945: Endorsing Concord Mayor Charles McKee’s request, the ministers’ council agrees that all church bells will toll at the hour of victory in Europe. The council’s president, the aptly named Rev. Ernest Shepherd, makes the announcement.

April 17, 1971: Two months after his trip to the moon, it is Alan Shepard Day in New Hampshire. The astronaut, originally from Derry, shares in a $5-a-plate lunch of ham in pineapple sauce at the Concord Country Club. He has no plans to enter politics. “I’m a pilot and an engineer, and I think I’ll stick to what I know about,” he says. Of the moon, he says: “It’s desolate, it’s quiet, it’s stark. … There are no birch trees up there.”

April 17, 2002: Three New England Patriots and team owner Bob Kraft attend a rally at the State House in Concord to celebrate the team’s Super Bowl win. Players David Patten, Antowain Smith and Richard Seymour sign footballs for fans. “We were red, white and blue,” Kraft said. “We were the Patriots. We were underdogs. But most of all, we were winners.”

April 17, 2002: Concord sets a temperature record for the second day in a row. Yesterday it was 88 degrees. Today it’s 94!

April 18, 1809: Isaac Hill, 21, publishes the first issue of the New Hampshire Patriot. He bought the American Patriot from William Hoit earlier in the year and changed its name. Hill’s Patriot will become a mighty organ for Andrew Jackson and the Democratic Party, propelling Hill to a U.S. Senate and New Hampshire’s corner office.

April 18, 1861: During a week of cries for non-partisanship and a rush to volunteer for military service, the Independent Democrat of Concord reports: “Concord is full of the war spirit.”

April 18, 1993: In a Holocaust remembrance at Temple Beth Jacob, a Torah recently acquired from Czechoslovakia is displayed. The Nazi regime once tagged the Torah for a museum it planned in Prague for artifacts of “the extinct Jewish people.” The rabbi tells his audience that, contrary to Nazi plans, the Torah is now the symbol of the power of the Jewish people to persevere.

April 18, 2000: State Rep. Elizabeth Hager receives the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce’s inaugural Athena Award for business leaders who have boosted women. A former city councilor and Concord’s first female mayor, Hager is executive director of the United Way of Merrimack County.

April 18, 2003: After almost two months of negotiation, Ken Epworth agrees to sell the Rolfe Barn to the Penacook Historical Society. The deal means that the city will drop its bid to seize the barn through eminent domain.

April 19, 1865: On the day of President Lincoln’s funeral in Washington, Civil War veterans, in a procession with a band, march to services at Concord churches.

April 19, 1886: “That certain harbinger of spring, the straw hat, has appeared,” the Evening Monitor reports.

April 19, 1976: New England’s biggest April heat wave of the 20th century reaches its crescendo, and the temperature in Concord hits 95 degrees. It’s the third day in a row with a temperature of 90 or above and the fourth day in a row above 80.

April 19, 2003: Concord’s Dewey School will close in 2004-05, the Monitor reports. The students who attend the school’s kindergarten and first-grade classes will go to Kimball School, a few blocks away.

April 20, 1775: Concord’s Rev. Timothy Walker says to a neighbor: “We must fight, John, we must fight. There is no longer any alternative.” Captain Andrew McClary, meanwhile, leads 34 men on the 70-mile march to Cambridge, Mass., to oppose the British. By the end of the month, more than 2,000 New Hampshire Minutemen will be fighting under Col. John Stark.

April 20, 1861: Former president Franklin Pierce, a Democrat and opponent of the Lincoln administration, speaks at the Eagle Hotel on the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter. If civil war comes, Pierce declares, all people of the North must stand together. He closes with these words: “I would not live in a state the right and honor of which I was not prepared to defend at all hazards and at all extremities.”

April 20, 1945: Rumford Press officials announce that the company will double the size of its Concord operation. The building addition will cost $500,000.

April 20, 1965: Concord Police Chief Walter Carlson reports that the city’s population is up by 219 adults and 20 minors over 1964. The report also reveals there are 62 more dogs in the city this year than last.

April 21, 1861: Capt. Edward E. Sturtevant, Concord’s night constable and now the state’s first volunteer for service in the Union army, marches a squad of volunteers into South Congregational Church for Sunday services.

April 21, 1881: At 6 p.m., a small, closed car drawn by a horse leaves Abbot & Downing shops for Fosterville. The ride ushers in the era of trolleys in Concord. The cars, made by Abbot & Downing, will carry 200,000 people in their first year of operation.

April 22, 1861: Meeting at the South Congregational Church, a group of Concord women organizes an effort to supply soldiers with “articles necessary to their comfort in the field.” They have raised $200 and resolve to spend $150 on flannel for shirts for the First New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry Regiment.

April 22, 1864: The Sanborn block, home to the offices of the New Hampshire Patriot, is destroyed by fire.

April 22, 2001: In informal interviews around Concord, voters say they were anything but shocked by the Legislature’s recent failure to pass any of four competing school tax plans. “I was dismayed,” says Linda Chadbourne, “but not surprised.”

Author: Insider Staff

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