This week in Concord History

Jan. 7, 2002: Concord’s new mayor, Mike Donovan, welcomes the new city council and outlines his priorities for the city. It is Donovan’s first city council meeting as the mayor, as well as six new councilors’ first times at the table.

Jan. 7, 2001: Two months – and $2.4 million – after losing the governor’s election, Gordon Humphrey says he’ll probably try again in 2002, the Monitor reports.

Jan. 7, 2000: A day after pledging “tax cuts, so help me God” during a televised debate, George W. Bush becomes the subject of an attack ad by Steve Forbes, who says Bush can’t be trusted to keep his promises. Bush responds that Forbes “must be feeling that sense of gloom that affects candidates who cannot sell (their) message in a positive way.”

Jan. 7, 1942: Concord starts a three-day spell of bitterly cold weather with a low temperature of 15 below zero. The next day it’ll be 25 below, and the day after that, the temperature will fall to 22 below.

Jan. 7, 1942: A tannery is proposed for the large Penacook factory once used by New Hampshire Spinning Mills. Nearby residents plan to protest.


Jan. 8, 2003: Republican Gov.-elect Craig Benson should disclose his financial interests or put his investments into a blind trust before being sworn in, the state Democratic Party chairwoman says. “Craig Benson spent the campaign saying it’s time to bring accountability to our state government,” Kathy Sullivan says at a news conference. “Well, Mr. Benson, accountability starts at the top.”


Jan. 8, 1985: In a front page editorial, Union Leader publisher Nackey Loeb offers this advice: “For those young people who feel that they have a right to their own pursuits, let them remember that as long as their parents pay the price in grocery bills, in heartache and in being the ‘establishment,’ the parents also have the right to make the rules.”

Jan. 8, 1878: A temperature of 35-below-zero is recorded in Concord, an all-time record cold reading for the city that will stand for more than 65 years.






Jan. 8, 1990: The city council elects Jim MacKay mayor of Concord. He defeats the incumbent, Liz Hager.

Jan. 8, 1988: During a visit to Pleasant View retirement community in Concord, GOP presidential candidate Alexander Haig impresses resident Millicent Sawyer. “He’s even better-looking in person than he is on television,” she says.


Jan. 9, 2001: Skateboarders have less than a month to carve up the streets of Suncook, the Monitor reports. After that, they risk a fine for violating a ban just imposed by the Pembroke selectmen.



Jan. 9, 1974: Twenty-five people brave a snowstorm to gather at the State House to pray in support of beleaguered President Nixon. “God Loves Nixon,” reads one banner.


Jan. 9, 1944: Miss Grace Blanchard, Concord’s retired librarian of 40 years, dies. In her will, she leaves $40,000 in public bequests, including $25,000 to the library.


Jan. 10, 2003: A fire destroys a historic barn in Hopkinton. It burns through several connected buildings, coming close to but not igniting the property’s 1775-era house. No one is injured.

Jan. 10, 2002: The House votes 234-120 against a bill that would have effectively banned smoking in restaurants.


Jan. 10, 1942: City aldermen approve a $400,000 expansion of Concord Airport. The city appropriation for the project is $30,000.

Jan. 10, 1964: Paul Grindle, David Goldberg, Sally Saltonstall and Caroline Williams arrive in Concord from Boston. The four young people, all political amateurs, pay $400 to rent an empty storefront across from the State House for two months. They order a telephone and borrow furniture and folding chairs from state GOP headquarters. They will pay a sign-painter $162 to paint a sign for their storefront reading “Lodge for President.” Two months later, their candidate, write-in Henry Cabot Lodge, will win the New Hampshire Republican primary.

Jan. 10, 1985: Gov. John Sununu announces his support of plans to change the state’s method of execution from hanging to lethal injection. “If you’re going to have a death penalty that has some credibility, you have to have it in a form that is acceptable to the public,” he says. The Legislature will concur.

Jan. 11, 2003: Joseph Whittey, the man convicted of the 1981 killing of Yvonne Fine, is asking the state Supreme Court to give him a new trial, the Monitor reports. An attorney representing Whittey will argue that DNA evidence used to place Whittey at the scene of the crime should not have been put before the jury. The method used to analyze the genetic material has not been sufficiently tested, the attorney argued in court filings. Because the court has not encountered a challenge to this type of genetic testing before, its decision could influence DNA testing throughout the state.

Jan. 11, 2002: Dozens of residents from small towns between Concord and the Seacoast are expected to meet in Barrington with state officials to review options for stopping, or scaling back, what could be the state’s largest water-bottling operation, the Monitor reports. USA Springs, the Pelham based company that hopes to construct a water-bottling plant on 100 acres it owns on the Barrington/Nottingham town line, wants state permission to withdraw up to 439,000 gallons a day from the bedrock beneath, or enough to satisfy 2,200 households. But members of Save Our Groundwater insist the plant’s water withdrawals will drop the water table for miles around, drying up private wells and concentrating contaminants in what water is left.

Jan. 11, 2001: Bill Clinton returns to New Hampshire one last time as president. He tells a packed Dover High School gymnasium that he has kept the commitments he made eight years ago in a famous speech at the Dover Elks Club. Then Clinton had promised to work his heart out “until the last dog dies.” To thunderous applause today, he says, “The last dog is still barking.”

Jan. 11, 2000: Carlton Fisk, who grew up in Charlestown and was a three-sport star at the town’s high school, is elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.


Jan. 12, 2002: Hooksett has been growing quickly for decades, but plans now in the works could increase the number of homes there by 49 percent, the Monitor reports. It’s a looming boom that illustrates a regional trend: Growth from metropolitan Boston is wending farther north into New Hampshire.

Jan. 12, 2001: Pembroke Academy has received a $2.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, the Monitor reports. The school plans to use the money to establish summer school and after-school programs, as well as enrichment programs for Pembroke and Allenstown residents of all ages.


Jan. 12, 1952: The Monitor reports on plans to make Main and State streets one way, with one going north and the other going south. The idea is to relieve traffic congestion. (It’s never approved.)


Jan. 12, 1952: The centerpiece of a proposal before Concord’s planning board would relieve downtown traffic and parking problems by making Main Street one-way.

June 12, 1968: At Concord’s Highway Hotel, Michigan Gov. George Romney begins his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination by challenging former vice president Richard Nixon to a series of debates. Of an America torn by violence over race and the Vietnam War, Romney says: “We’ve got to straighten out this mess. We’re in trouble.”

Jan. 12, 1992: Campaigning in Pembroke at a prefab housing company hard hit by the recession, Democratic presidential candidate Paul Tsongas says: “If you lose the manufacturing base, there is no American economy.”

Jan. 13, 2003: The Concord City Council votes to schedule a public hearing on the future of the historic Rolfe barn, which is slated to be taken apart, shipped out of state and reassembled as part of a building project. The council wants to know if the city should take the building through eminent domain.


Jan. 13, 2003: An overseas college that says it teaches students over the Internet wants to open a campus on the Sisters of Holy Cross property in Franklin. The intentions of Illawarra College have piqued the interest of Franklin officials, who are excited about the prestige and taxes a college would bring to the city. The property, assessed at $1.2 million, could generate $39,000 in taxes. A few weeks later it will be discovered that a phone number to the school is disconnected and that Simon Halliday, the school’s registrar and chief executive officer, has resigned.


Author: Insider Staff

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