This week in Concord history

Jan. 29, 2003: State Commissioner of Education Nick Donohue encourages Franklin to continue pursuing a charter school, but he says it must benefit all students, not just the at-risk kids it’s intended for. “I don’t think you are on the road toward ruining your public system,” Donohue tells charter advocates of their preliminary plan for an alternative to the high school. “But I urge you to keep a close eye on that.”


Jan. 29, 2002: Citing a lack of evidence, a Merrimack County Superior Court judge sends Richmond Co.’s supermarket and shopping center proposal back to the Concord planning board, overturning the board’s unanimous decision against the Massachusetts company and upsetting some South End residents.


Jan. 29, 2001: Jerry Madden, a 21-year veteran of the Concord Police Department, is promoted to chief.


Jan. 30, 2000: As many as 5,000 of the names on Concord’s voter rolls shouldn’t be there, the Monitor reports. The extra names include people who have moved away or died, as well as people who are listed more than once. “We have about 24,000 registered voters,” City Clerk Sharon Dery says, “but I think we’re closer to having about 19,000.”


Jan. 31, 1986: On a frigid night, thousands gather in the State House plaza for a memorial service for Christa McAuliffe. “Her teaching has not ceased,” says Rev. Chester Mrowka.


Jan. 31, 1952: The Concord City Council debates plans for the construction of Storrs Street to relieve traffic downtown. There is no name yet for the new street, so it is referred to as Concord’s “Baby Bypass.”


Feb. 1, 1971: The New York Times reports rising concern among some New Hampshire officials that booming tourism will despoil the state’s natural beauty. About 140 developers are currently investing millions in seasonal and year-round recreational developments.


Feb. 1, 1859: The Concord Railroad passenger station, including the offices of the Concord, Montreal and Northern railroads, the telegraph office and Depot hall, is destroyed by fire.


Feb. 1, 1968: As news of the Tet Offensive exposes the cracks in the U.S. war effort and in Lyndon Johnson’s presidency, “Mr. Benjamin Chapman” arrives in Nashua and checks into the Howard Johnson Inn. A day or two earlier, workers for “Chapman” have mailed 150,000 personal letters to New Hampshire households telling of his plans to run for the presidency. On the letter “Chapman” has signed his real name: Richard M. Nixon.


Feb. 2, 2003: Representatives from several parish Voice of the Faithful groups meet in Penacook to discuss plans for the creation of a statewide organization. While many individual parishes have formed their own groups in response to the church’s sexual abuse crisis, no organization has claimed to speak for Catholics across the state.


Feb. 2. 2001: WKXL, Concord’s local radio station, is about to make dramatic changes to its programming, the Monitor reports. Party Line and Coffee Chat, two locally produced call-in and interview shows, will be off the air, replaced by a syndicated talk show hosted by New Yorker Mike Gallagher.


Feb. 2, 1942: Concord’s chief air raid warden, Gladstone Jordan, has signed up 304 wardens to watch the skies over the city. Jordan says 200 more are needed.


Feb. 2, 1894: Just before it is to be dry-docked for preservation as a national landmark, the Portsmouth-built USS Kearsarge, of Civil War fame, sinks in the Caribbean.


Feb. 2, 1965: The New Hampshire House Ways and Means Committee holds a hearing on a proposed property tax exemption for elderly residents. The plan is greeted with skepticism by lawmakers worried about the effect on other taxpayers.


Feb. 2, 1996: President Clinton visits Concord’s Walker School and speaks to students at the Capitol Center. He praises Concord schools for innovative use of computers in the classroom.


Feb. 3, 1968: In Concord, Richard Nixon opens his presidential campaign with a speech in which he says America is a country with a torn soul, a country that needs a new leader who recognizes its “crisis of the spirit” and can restore “the lift of a driving dream.” He then hosts the press for a party at the Highway Hotel. Special guests: Nixon’s 19-year-old daughter Julie and her fiancee, David Eisenhower.


Feb. 3, 1944: On the Senate floor, U.S. Sen. Styles Bridges rises to defend Reader’s Digest against a Democratic senator’s complaint that the magazine should not have published an article critical of the Roosevelt administration. Reader’s Digest is published in Concord and printed at the Rumford Press.


Feb. 3, 1942: The Concord school board expels 8-year-old Sylvia Esty from school for failing to say the Pledge Allegiance. Esty, a Jehovah’s Witness, says her religion prohibits it. The board says she may return to school when she is ready to say the pledge each day.


Feb. 3, 1943: The New Hampshire House considers a bill to allow women to sit on juries. All eyes are on the votes of the first couple ever to serve together in the House, Miles and Margaret Dustin of Rochester. She votes yes and he votes no – to a rousing round of applause. The bill fails 273-93.


Feb. 3, 1988: In New Hampshire for the presidential primary, R.W. Apple of the New York Times alerts his readers that the state is changing. “Journalists and politicians spend wintry weeks trekking from town to town, scarcely noticing that the state they have known in past campaigns – the New Hampshire of village greens and white steeples, of grubby mill towns and taciturn Yankees – is disappearing,” he writes.


Feb. 3, 1811: Horace Greeley is born in Amherst. He will become editor of the New York Tribune and gain fame for this phrase: “Go west, young man, go west.” A Republican to the marrow, he will be persuaded to run for president as a Democrat in 1872. Weeks after losing to incumbent Ulysses S. Grant, he will die at 61.


Feb. 4, 2003: Hundreds of layoffs are not out of the question in the budget Gov. Craig Benson will present to lawmakers, says Keith Herman, a policy adviser to the governor. While no decisions have been made, Herman says balancing the budget “could be very tough” to do without laying off people.


Feb. 4, 2002: New Hampshire officials and creditors support a plan where Fraser Papers Inc. of Stamford, Conn., would lend bankrupt Pulp and Paper of America $2 million to maintain its idle mills in northern New Hampshire. Pulp and Paper of America, which owns the mills in Berlin and Gorham, would use the loan to maintain the mills during the next two months while it tries to sell them.


Feb. 4, 2001: A 4.7-pound rainbow trout plucked from Ossipee Lake is the winning catch at the 22nd annual Great Rotary Ice Fishing Derby. The winning fisherman, a 31-year-old from Maine, takes home a new boat, motor and trailer.


Feb. 4, 2000: Thousands of students got into the act of voting through the Kids Voting New Hampshire program, the Monitor reports. In Concord, 1,589 kids voted alongside their parents and, like their elders, chose John McCain and Al Gore as their favorite candidates.


Feb. 4, 1908: In Concord, the St. Paul’s School ice hockey team defeats the Harvard freshmen 9-1. Captain Hobey Baker “played a wonderful game,” scoring three goals, the Monitor reports. Baker will later become a college hockey star, and the trophy awarded to the nation’s best male collegiate player each year will one day bear his name.


Feb. 4, 1932: Skating on an outside rink in a preliminary match at the Olympic Games in Lake Placid, N.Y., Douglas Everett of Concord scores the U.S. goal in a 1-1 tie with Canada.



Feb. 4, 1965: Workers pour a concrete floor for the John F. Kennedy Apartments for the elderly on South Main Street in Concord. The 10-story building is expected to cost $1.4 million.

Author: Insider Staff

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