This week in history

April 29, 1948: The New Hampshire Christian Civic League, formerly known as the New Hampshire Anti-Saloon League, faces the prospect of disbanding after 50 years of fighting for prohibition. Donations have fallen off, and the organization cannot pay its bills. Nowadays, on the issue of reducing the number of people who drink alcoholic beverages, “even some of the church groups are easy-going,” laments league official Herbert Rainie.


April 29, 1975: Environmentalists come out en masse to testify against a bill created by Gov. Mel Thomson that would suspend environmental protection regulations that delay energy production projects.


April 30, 2003: After six months of haggling, the city reaches a tentative deal to buy the former Penacook tannery. The city plans to pay Dana Willis $143,000 for the condemned, contaminated tannery and 2.5 acres of land. The deal means the end of 15 years of uncertainty for Penacook residents.


April 30, 1789: As president of the U.S. Senate, John Langdon of Portsmouth has the honor of informing George Washington that he has been elected the new nation’s first president.


May 1, 1891: By custom, Concord’s May Horn ushers in a day of celebrating the final escape from winter. The horn is peculiar to Concord. “The ‘oldest inhabitant’ cannot recall a first day of May in his boyhood when the din of the horn did not reverberate in some wee hour,” the Monitor reports.


May 1, 1903: After 48 years of Prohibition, New Hampshire begins issuing licenses for liquor sales.


May 1, 1841: New Hampshire artist Benjamin Champney, 23, sails for Europe, where he will go to Paris to paint studies of statues in the Louvre and study the techniques of Dutch landscape artist Jacob Van Ruisdael and others. These techniques will one day be apparent in Champney’s painting of the White Mountains.


May 1, 1891: An earthquake hits the town of Bristol. “Doors rattled, dishes moved on shelves and there was a noise like that of a heavy team moving over frozen ground,” a town history reports.



May 1, 1990: Gregory Smart is found shot to death in his home in Derry. His 22-year-old widow, Pamela, a high school media specialist, will eventually be convicted of arranging for her teenage lover to kill her husband.


May 2, 1939: The news in New York and around the world of baseball is that Lou Gehrig, after playing 2,130 consecutive games for the Yankees, has sat one out. Without Gehrig, the Yankees clobber Detroit 22-2. In a nine-run seventh inning, Yankees third baseman Red Rolfe, the Pride of Penacook, hits two doubles and drives in three runs.


May 2, 1944: U.S. Sen. Styles Bridges of New Hampshire asks for an investigation into reports that U.S. servicemen are losing a large part of their pay playing slot machines on military bases.


May 2, 1980: Tom Rath steps down as New Hampshire’s attorney general. His deputy, Greg Smith, will succeed him. “It’s very difficult to leave Never Never Land,” Rath says. “I’ll miss fighting the Captain Hooks.”


May 2, 1977: Two hundred seventy-seven of the 1,414 anti-nuclear demonstrators arrested at Seabrook on April 30 are moved to the armory on Concord Heights.


May 3, 2003: The Old Man of the Mountain, New Hampshire’s iconic symbol, the stone deity who watched over the state’s residents and countless visitors, lost its 10,000-year battle with gravity sometime over the last two rain-soaked days, crumbling mysteriously to the ground in a stream of small stone pieces. A cavalcade of state officials and workers, Old Man of the Mountain devotees and tourists descend on Franconia Notch to see for themselves.


May 3, 2002: The Supreme Court said it would intervene in redrawing House voting districts if the governor and Legislature fail to enact a plan in two weeks, the Monitor reports. “This court will not permit upcoming elections to go forward with unconstitutional districts,” the court said.


May 3, 1989: New Hampshire tax experts predict an $18 million spike in revenue from the state’s estate and legacy tax, a prediction that helps balance the budget – at least on paper. “Although we don’t know who’s going to die, the trend is definitely not flat,” says House Ways and Means Chairwoman Donna Sytek.


May 3, 1967: Concord High School bars the press from covering Alabama Gov. George Wallace’s appearance at the school. Referring to a recent incident in which he was prohibited from speaking at Yale University, Wallace says: “I am glad they are barred – and not me – this time.” After the CHS speech, Wallace heads for Dartmouth, where screaming, jeering students force him from the speaker’s platform and surround his car after he has left. They pound the car with their fists for 10 minutes amid signs that read “Wallace is a racist.”


May 3, 1943: Because of rampant juvenile delinquency, Concord churches ask the city to impose a 9 p.m. curfew on teenagers. Police Chief Arthur McIsaac says he’ll consider the request.


May 3, 1861: The overflow of volunteers from the First New Hampshire infantry regiment, a three-month outfit, begins to form as the Second New Hampshire in answer to President Lincoln’s call for 4,234 three-year volunteers. The Second will come together in June under Col. Gilman Marston, a congressman from Exeter.


May 3, 1974: After two nights of reading transcripts of tapes reluctantly released by his friend President Nixon, U.S. Sen. Norris Cotton complains that ousted aides Bob Haldeman and John Ehrlichman wasted too much of the president’s time on “trivia” and “nonessentials.” As for the “careless, callous” statements by Nixon about his political rivals, Cotton says: “I can’t conceive that he had in mind that those things were being taped.”


May 4, 2003: On a clear day that is sunny and perfect for hiking, hundreds gather at the foot of Cannon Mountain to remember; to mourn and to see with their own eyes that the Old Man of the Mountain is really gone. “It’s hard to believe people can have such an emotional attachment to a piece of rock,” says Dan Burbank, who came to the Notch from Moultonboro with his son, Chris. “But it almost brings tears to your eyes.”



May 4, 2001: A historic building on Pittsfield’s Main Street is destroyed in a fire that leaves 10 people homeless. The three-story Tuttle Block building was built by former governor Hiram Tuttle in 1874.


May 4, 2000: In a 250-100 vote, the New Hampshire House reaffirms its opposition to expanded gambling, which proponents have urged as a revenue source for public education. “We’re convinced this is the end of slots for tots in New Hampshire,” says Republican Rep. Bob Clegg of Hudson.


May 4, 1848: Robert Hall is crushed to death in the water wheel gearing of the match shop of Jeremiah Fowler in Penacook.


May 4, 1973: Attorney General Warren Rudman testifies against legislation to introduce casino gambling into New Hampshire. He argues it will invite organized crime into the state. But James Sayer, head of the House Ways and Means Committee, disagrees: “There’s only one way you can stop organized crime, and that is by being in competition with it.”


May 4, 1943: The Concord police say they have solved hundreds of thefts with the arrest of 16 high school and junior high school boys. For the most part, the crimes involve objects taken from cars and houses. The boys range in age from 13 to 16.


May 4, 1944: The governor and Executive Council give 35-year-old Horace Jenot of Franklin a full pardon from his six-month sentence in the county house of correction on the condition that he enlist in the Army. Jenot, a father of four, was convicted in February of drunkenness.


May 4, 1944: Fire kills 2,000 chickens at Harold Ford’s farm on Loudon Road.


Author: Insider Staff

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