This Week in Concord History

July 16, 1821: Mary Baker Eddy is born in Bow. In February 1866, she will write of healing herself from what a doctor diagnosed as a fatal fall on the ice. Out of this experience is born Christian Science. Eddy will found the Church of Christ, Scientist, in 1879.

July 16, 1863: Shots are fired and several men wounded in the third and final day of draft riots in Portsmouth. Fear of riots in Concord and elsewhere leads to the return of two New Hampshire infantry regiments from the field to keep the peace.

July 16, 1864: A year after the Legislature announced that “any city or town” might bid to build a new State House, legislators vote to keep Concord as state capital. The price: The city must build a street on the south side of State House grounds (Capitol Street) and rebuild the cramped 44-year-old State House. It will do so by the following year at a staggering cost of $347,000, including $189,000 interest.

July 16, 1992: The Drifters play Main Street during Concord’s annual downtown summer sale.

July 17, 1941: Playing at Cleveland, Yankee third baseman Red Rolfe of Penacook doubles and singles to help the Yanks beat the Indians 4-3. But the big news is that Cleveland and its good-fielding third baseman, Ken Keltner, stop Joe DiMaggio’s hitting streak at 56 games. During the streak, Rolfe, hitting second in the Yankee lineup, batted .306 and scored 49 runs.

July 17, 1967: A four-member investigating committee of Concord’s Board of Alderman charges Mayor J. Herbert Quinn with gross misconduct and recommends his removal from office. The committee finds that Quinn attempted to trap Monitor Editor James M. Langley on a drunken driving charge.

July 17, 2003: Speaking at the Page Belting factory in Concord, Florida Sen. Bob Graham fields questions about the White House’s use of unsubstantiated evidence to justify war in Iraq. “I believe he is being deceitful,” Graham says of President Bush. “There has been a pattern of withholding information from the American people.”

July 18, 1817: To a group of leading citizens on the Concord-Chichester line, a cloud of dust announces the approach of President James Monroe. A cheering crowd on Main Street greets Monroe, a lanky 59-year-old man in a formal long dark coat. He will spend three days in the capital, attending dinners, a concert and Sunday services, taking a ride on a new 75-foot boat on the Merrimack and visiting the State House construction site.

July 18, 1818: A gilded, carved wooden eagle is raised to a perch of the State House, which is nearing completion. The event is marked with a parade, toasts and refreshments.

July 19, 1832: Fearing a cholera epidemic that has entered the country from Europe and Canada, a special Concord town meeting elects a board of health. The board is granted power “to make all necessary arrangements and accommodations for sick strangers and for the comfort and safety of its own citizens.” Fears of the cholera epidemic will prove unfounded.

July 19, 1976: A consultant recommends that the state build a new $20 million prison on Clinton Street and phase out the North State Street facility by 1980. City officials are outraged. City Councilor David Rogers suggests the site is Gov. Mel Thomson’s choice because it is “the residential area inhabited by many of his most outspoken critics.” (The plan never comes to fruition.)

July 19, 1985: In a White House ceremony, President Bush names Christa McAuliffe, a Concord High School social studies teacher, as the nation’s “Teacher in Space.” Scheduled for a January launch on the space shuttle, McAuliffe says: “I think students will . . . say that an ordinary person is contributing to history, and if they can make that connection, they are going to get excited about history and about the future.”

July 20, 1817: President James Monroe attends church at “the Old North,” the Congregational church that stood on the site of the current Walker School.

July 20, 1945: The Carmelite nuns, a cloistered order engaged in meditation, prayer and manual labor, plan a new foundation in Concord. They have acquired a site on Bridge Street and will move to the city from Roxbury, Mass. The order is named after Mount Carmel in Palestine, site of the first church dedicated to the Immaculate Mother of God. The order’s first home in the United States was established in Baltimore in 1790.

July 20, 1987: A traveling exhibit in a trailer stops at the State House, and hundreds of people queue up to see what’s inside. Among many other items, the exhibit includes an original Magna Carta, a signed Emancipation Proclamation, a page of the 1638 Connecticut charter and a late draft of the U.S. Constitution with the notes of one of the delegates, Pierce Butler, in the margins.

July 21, 1873: Meeting at city hall, the Congregationalist society of Concord votes to rebuild its church at North Main and Chapel streets. Three weeks earlier, a fire consumed the church.

July 21, 1878: A lightning bolt ignites the “Mother House,” the first building on the campus of 22-year-old St. Paul’s School. Fire destroys the building, which houses classrooms, the dining hall and the offices of the rector and staff. The Rev. Henry Coit, the school’s first rector, is determined that the fire not delay school. Two months later, school will open on time, with 204 boys enrolled.

July 21, 1892: The Snowshoe Club, one of Concord’s many men’s organizations, is founded. Its objects are “enjoyment of the beauties of nature; moral and social improvement; physical culture.”

July 21, 1927: State Education Commissioner Ernest W. Butterfield applauds the fact that most girls training to be teachers in the state’s normal schools are of old New Hampshire stock. Girls of foreign parentage adapt poorly to rural living, he says, and are better off training as nurses or taking up commercial work. Louis J. Rundlett, Concord’s superintendent of schools, concurs with Butterfield and adds that girls should start young in training as teachers. Only Manchester has an ordinance prohibiting married women from taking teaching positions, but Rundlett frowns on the idea as well. Although married women may understand children better, he says, single women should be given strong preference for teaching jobs because married women have their husbands to support them.

July 21, 1939: The Concord Ex-Service Men’s Council petitions the city to rename Concord streets in honor of soldiers killed in World War I.

July 21, 2003: Wayne and Ruth Ross, the owners of Rossview Farm in Concord, have struck a deal with the Trust for Public Land to conserve their 510 acres of forest, wetland and hill on District Five Road, the Monitor reports. Provided they can secure the funding, the Trust for Public Land can buy the land for $2.4 million.

July 22, 1862: A meeting is held in Concord in response to President Lincoln’s call for 300,000 new volunteers throughout the Union states. The city decides it will put up a $50 bounty, in addition to state and federal bounties, for any Concord man who will enlist.

July 22, 1976: New Hampshire Attorney General David Souter discloses that three pistols were uncovered at the state prison in Concord after officials were informed of plans for an armed escape.

July 22, 2003: Manuel Gehring, the Concord man accused of murdering his children, Sarah, 14, and Philip, 11, returns to Concord on a small jet after spending a week somewhere in the Midwest.

Author: Insider Staff

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