This week in Concord History

Feb. 5, 2003: A coalition of wealthy towns releases its plan to revive a version of the school aid system abandoned five years ago because of its unconstitutional reliance on widely varying local property taxes. The Coalition Communities want to eliminate the state property tax that anchors the replacement funding system and target the remaining aid – about $416 million from other state taxes – based on need.


Feb. 5, 2002: The preliminary $51.8 million school budget is up nearly one percent from last year and includes provisions for a new roof at Broken Ground School, three new sports teams at Concord High School and a security guard to watch school buildings after the last bell rings, the Monitor reports.


Feb. 5, 2001: Up to a foot of snow falls in just a few hours as a true blizzard hits the state. By the time the snow is done the next day, Concord will have about 15 inches of accumulation. Several towns will report more than double that.


Feb. 5, 1968: The Rev. Norman Limoge, the administrator at Bishop Brady High School, sends 18 boys to Ray’s Barber Shop after they defy his warning to come to school with “respectable haircuts.” “We’re all here under protest,” one boy tells a reporter. “We didn’t think he’d do it,” says another. The act will lead to a lively exchange of letters to the editor. “Jesus wore long hair,” a defender of the boys will write. Margaret Savard of Pembroke will respond: “As the parent of one of the boys involved, you have my approval.”


Feb. 5, 1853: Thomas Francis Meagher, the famed Irish exile and itinerant lecturer for Irish independence, speaks at Concord’s Depot Hall. Among his listeners is President-elect Franklin Pierce.


Feb. 5, 1942: Dudley Orr, the state tax commissioner, is pictured on the front page of the Monitor riding his bicycle to work. In a time of severe gas and tire rationing, he says, it is important for public officials to set a good example. He has no problem getting to work but is not fond of pedaling back up the hill to his home at 125 Centre St.


Feb. 5, 1972: Alan Shepard of Derry, a crew member on Apollo 14, sets his left foot on the moon, becoming the fifth American who will leave footprints there. “It’s been a long way, but we’re here,” he says.


Feb. 6, 1976: Federal Judge Hugh Bownes declares New Hampshire’s public school prayer law unconstitutional and issues a permanent injunction against recitation of prayers in schools.


Feb. 6, 2001: Gov. Jeanne Shaheen will propose a sales tax as part of her school funding plan, the Monitor reports. She will also call for lowering the rate of the statewide property tax.


Feb. 6, 1901: The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests is formed. The group is a reaction to failed governmental efforts in Concord and Washington to promote safe and regenerative forestry policies. Years of fires, floods and clear-cutting have left the state’s northern forest in terrible condition.


Feb. 7, 2002: Hundreds of families weathering economic hardship across New Hampshire are struggling to heat their homes this winter because additional federal heating assistance is being withheld by the Bush administration, the Monitor reports. Gov. Jeanne Shaheen, U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg and U.S. Rep. Charlie Bass have each made several appeals in recent months to Bush administration officials to release the money. But the federal Office of Budget Management, which oversees the program, says more isn’t needed because fuel prices are low and winter temperatures here are relatively mild.


Feb. 7, 1986: As a memorial to Christa McAuliffe, the Concord High teacher who died during the Challenger launch, a new state trust fund is formed to allow other teachers to take “journeys of discovery and enlightenment.”


Feb. 7, 1811: Nathaniel White is born in Lancaster. He will come to Concord to run a hotel and become a successful businessman. He will be a prominent abolitionist, working with William Lloyd Garrison, an early proponent of women’s suffrage and the Prohibition candidate for governor of New Hampshire in 1875. Among many other charitable acts, he will be a prime benefactor of the Centennial Home for the aged, now the Centennial Inn.


Feb. 8, 2003: More than 60 teenagers, one pre-teen and a handful of adults turn out in front of the State House to protest military involvement in Iraq. High school students from Wilton to Milford, Hampton to Hopkinton gather at an open mike session sponsored by a number of youth organizations. “A lot of people say young people are apathetic,” says Luc Schuster, youth organizer with the American Friends Service Committee. “I think this helps prove that’s not the case.”


Feb. 8, 1897: Concord’s first movie plays at White’s Opera House. The show includes bathers at Rahway, N.J., a watermelon-eating contest, a mounted policeman stopping a runaway horse and a three-minute boxing match featuring Gentleman Jim Corbett. “There is nothing fake about it,” the Monitor reviewer reports, adding that the pictures are “vivid and truthful.”


Feb. 8, 1820: George Hough, Concord’s first printer and editor of an 18th century newspaper in the city, dies at the age of 73.


Feb. 8, 1943: The crew of nine women running the sawmill at Turkey Pond is forced to shut down the operation until the pond thaws. The women have been working at the mill since October and all vow to return in May. Timber boss Howard E. Ahlskog says the women are more loyal and dependable than the last male crews he hired.


Feb. 8, 1847: Franklin Pierce addresses a large meeting called in Concord to advocate “a vigorous and determined prosecution of the war with Mexico. Pierce will win a brigadier general’s commission, and his war exploits will help propel him to the presidency in 1852.


Feb. 9, 2003: In a proposal closely watched by national nuclear lobbyists, Seabrook Station is asking state environmental regulators for a $1 million subsidy designed for clean power producers, the Monitor reports. New Hampshire would become the first state in the nation to extend the subsidy to a nuclear plant – setting a precedent that supporters and critics alike believe other states would likely follow.


Feb. 9. 2001: Concord High sophomore Rachel Umberger wins the 300-meter and 1,000-meter runs at the state Indoor Track and Field Championships. As a team, the Tide finishes fifth overall.


Feb. 10, 1942: Robert Leon Harris, a 15-year-old student, agrees to leave Rundlett Junior High School “so as not to cause any trouble.” He is the second Jehovah’s Witness in the city to refuse on religious grounds to pledge allegiance to flag and country.


Feb. 10, 1927: The Schoonmaker Chair Co. signs a seven-year contract to use New Hampshire state prison inmates to make chairs. The company will pay 15 cents per man-hour.


Feb. 10, 1992: Concord Mayor Bill Veroneau privately tells embattled City Manager Jim Smith that it is time for Smith to resign. In his latest scrape with councilors and residents, Smith’s slowness in sounding the alarm on a property tax shortfall made him a political target in the November election. He will take Veroneau’s advice and leave the job after 13 years.


Feb. 11, 1941: President Franklin D. Roosevelt appoints John G. Winant of Concord to succeed Joseph Kennedy as U.S. ambassador to Great Britain. Winant, a Republican, is a former governor and served earlier in FDR’s presidency as the first administrator of the Social Security Administration.


Feb. 11, 1965: The New Hampshire Senate agrees to reapportion its 24 seats, basing districts on population rather than wealth, as a 1964 U.S. Supreme Court ruling demands. The result: more seats for Democrats.


Feb. 11, 1988: Peppered by UNH students with questions over his opposition to campaign finance reform and to economic sanctions against South Africa, presidential candidate Bob Dole fires back. “Aren’t there any conservative students here?” he says. “There’s got to be one or two. I want to see the future taxpayers.” The students boo.

Author: Insider Staff

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