This Week in Concord History

June 25, 1729: The proprietors of Penacook appoint a committee to find and hire a permanent Congregational minister for the settlement. The minister will be paid 100 pounds a year out of the proprietors’ treasury. A year later, the proprietors will hire the Rev. Timothy Walker for the job.

June 25, 1835: A Mormon remembered only as “Mr. Green” in a city history comes to Concord looking for converts. He finds none despite two days of lectures.

June 25, 2003: The Penacook Historical Society holds an open house for the Rolfe barn, a 200-year-old building that the group had fought to save for months. The event gives many supporters their first peek at the property.

June 26, 1855: The Legislature incorporates St. Paul’s School. The first student body: three boys from Boston.

June 26, 1863: John Gilman is killed while blasting rocks in Penacook.

June 26, 1941: With Joe DiMaggio hitless in three at-bats and the Yankees up for the final time, third baseman Red Rolfe works the opposing pitcher for a walk to get DiMaggio one last try. DiMaggio doubles Rolfe home to keep his hitting streak alive at 38.

June 26, 1996: Concord gadfly and word-spinner David Wells dies.

June 26, 2003: Matt Bonner, who led the Concord High basketball team to three straight state championships before evolving into a star at the University of Florida, realizes a lifelong dream when he’s selected in the NBA Draft. Initially drafted by the Chicago Bulls in the second round, he’s soon traded to the Toronto Raptors.

June 27, 1835: The Concord Railroad Corp. obtains a charter for a railroad between Nashua and Concord. The Boston and Maine Railroad also obtains a charter on this date. The Concord corporation will be delayed by the Panic of 1837 and other factors, and the first train will not pull into Concord until September 1842. The B&M will not open its first line in the state until 1849.

June 27, 1860: A large Democratic crowd marches to the Eagle Hotel, lights bonfires and shoots off fireworks to celebrate news that, at Baltimore, their party has nominated U.S. Sen. Stephen A. Douglas for president.

June 28, 1833: During his eastern tour, President Andrew Jackson stays at the Eagle Coffee House across from the State House in Concord. Since no bed in the hotel is deemed adequate for a president, Mrs. John Estabrook has lent the house her large mahogany model. Slightly ill, Jackson passes up the renowned hotel cuisine, subsisting on bread and milk.

June 28, 1860: Responding to the Democratic celebrations of the previous day, Wide Awake Clubs, wearing black slickers, and Railsplitters, carrying axes, parade through downtown Concord by torch-light in support of Abraham Lincoln. The Concord and Fisherville cornet bands lead the procession.

June 28, 1861: The Legislature authorizes $1 million in 6 percent bonds to pay the state’s first Civil War expenses. The vote is 169-94. Rep. John L. Tallant of Concord, a Democrat, crosses over to vote with the Republican majority, making the city’s delegation unanimous in support of the bill.

June 29, 1833: Vice President Martin Van Buren, in Concord with the presidential party, dines with Franklin Pierce and others at the home of Zebina Lincoln, part owner of a dry goods establishment and soon to be proprietor of the Eagle Coffee House.

June 29, 1864: The Legislature meets to hear Manchester’s case that it should displace Concord as New Hampshire’s capital. Speaking in Concord’s defense, John George wins the day by arguing that in addition to lagging behind Concord in railroad development, Manchester has a population that is “not steady and sober. Passions, excitements and tumults are likely to be generated at any time.”

June 29, 1873: The North Church burns. It will be rebuilt on the same spot – North Main and Chapel streets – and will open for worship less than three years after the fire.

June 29, 1988: The Concord Planning Board approves construction of the Steeplegate Mall on Loudon Road. Downtown merchants, wary of Manchester’s experience, have the jitters.

June 29, 2000: Concord’s Sunnycrest Farms is up for sale, the Monitor reports. A fund-raising effort to save the apple orchard from development will soon get under way.

June 30, 1944: More than three weeks after D-Day, dreaded telegrams reach Concord homes bringing news of casualties in the Allied invasion of Europe. They include a paratrooper and an Army lieutenant who are both missing and Lt. Guy Gowen, a 24-year-old infantry patrol leader who had reached Normandy by glider before being killed in action. Gowen had been a two-sport star at Concord High, graduating in 1937 and going on to UNH.

June 30, 1990: Hundreds – and over ensuing days, thousands – of people come to pay their respects at the Moving Wall during its stop at the New Hampshire Technical Institute in Concord. The wall is a portable replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

June 30, 2001: A year-long effort to protect Concord’s Sunnycrest Farm from development has succeeded, the Monitor reports. Dozens of donors came up with about $50,000 in the past two weeks to meet the deadline for raising the $1.2 million purchase amount.

July 1, 1789: The Rev. Israel Evans is ordained as Concord’s second Congregationalist minister, succeeding the Rev. Timothy Walker. The town still pays the minister’s salary and living expenses. Walker, the first minister, served more than 58 years from his ordination in 1730.

July 1, 1927: At nightfall, 2,000 people gather at the State House plaza to watch Mayor Fred Marden push the button that will illuminate Concord’s new “White Way” for the first time. Concord Electric Co. has installed 126 large bulbs to light the way, which runs more than mile along Main Street, from Kelly’s drug store to Larkin’s store. A Monitor reporter hears someone whisper in the crowd: “I hope they go on.” They do indeed, causing “a spontaneous uproar and the blowing of hundreds of automobile horns.”

July 1, 2003: Attorney General Peter Heed says prison officials failed to investigate or react to clues that, in hindsight, foretold of last month’s prison break by three men at the state prison in Concord. A tip from another inmate and a pair of bolt cutters found thrown over a prison fence were among the clues that officials failed to react to, Heed says.

Author: Insider Staff

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