This week in Concord history

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, 1904: At its annual meeting, the First Church of Christ Science thanks Mary Baker Eddy of Concord for her gift of $120,000 toward the Concord church, now under construction.


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. 7, 1942: Gov. Robert O. Blood says there is little chance that Rockingham Park will be closed under war orders. Plans for a 60-day season next summer will go forward, he says.


Jan. 7, 1735: Abigail Danforth is the first white child born in what will later be the town of Boscawen.


Jan. 7, 1952: To the delight of New Hampshire backers hoping to enter him in their state’s new presidential preference primary, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower announces that he is a Republican.


Jan. 7, 1981: Former governor Wesley Powell, who mounted 12 political campaigns over four decades, dies at his home in Hampton Falls. Powell served as governor from 1958 to 1962.


Jan. 7, 1965: Construction workers in Concord use doors from a dozen demolished houses to form a barrier to close the sidewalk along Pleasant and South streets, where the new $3.5 million federal building is under construction.


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, 2000: Nackey Scripps Gallowhur Loeb, 75, who spent nearly 20 years at the helm of The Union Leader of Manchester, dies at her home in Goffstown, ending a long era in New Hampshire politics. She presided over the publications that her husband, William Loeb, had turned into a combative – sometimes ferocious – force of conservatism, influencing government at the local, state and national levels since 1946.


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, 1942: On a frigid day, eight men drown in stormy seas off the Isles of Shoals. There is no hope of rescue when the 98-foot mine sweeper on which they are crewing sinks while being towed to Portsmouth Harbor. The low temperature in Concord is minus-25 degrees.


Jan. 8, 1895: The Supreme Court and State Library buildings are dedicated in Concord.


Jan. 8, 1968: With the impeachment of Mayor J. Herbert Quinn behind it, the newly formed Concord city government takes its place. Seven new members of the city council are sworn in, and the newly hired city manager – John E. Henchey of Presque Isle, Maine – is on the scene.


Jan. 8, 1899: Sherman Adams is born. He will serve as governor, state representative, speaker of the New Hampshire House, a Second District congressman and an assistant to President Dwight Eisenhower.


Jan. 8, 1934: A U.S. Supreme Court decision establishes New Hampshire’s border with Vermont for its 168 miles along the Connecticut River at the low water mark on the west bank.


Jan. 8, 1965: Gov. John King’s plain-spoken inaugural address calls for modest tax increases. He gets tepid reviews. “There was nothing spectacular about Gov. King’s second inaugural address to the Legislature. But that was as it should be, for the Granite State and its people always have been more sturdy and stolid than given to flighty fanfare,” writes Monitor columnist Leon Anderson.


Jan. 9, 2002: The state Supreme Court set aside claims that the Legislature has already done enough to fix New Hampshire’s school system, and maintained jurisdiction over its landmark education ruling, the Monitor reports. The court said it will determine whether the state needs performance standards to show that the education offered at each public school is adequate, and then decide whether the state’s existing accountability rules are sufficient.


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, 2000: Only half in jest, the Monitor editorializes that among the current crop of Republican candidates for president, “no gross overstatement seems adequate to describe the decay of the military. McCain calls military pay ‘a national disgrace.’ To Orrin Hatch, ‘our military is falling apart.’ If things are that bad for men and women in uniform, do these veteran U.S. senators really think voters will let them get away with posing as innocent bystanders?”


Jan. 9, 1766: A crowd goes to the Portsmouth home of George Meserve, who resigned as royal Stamp Act agent for New Hampshire the previous September. There is a rumor afoot that Meserve will begin collecting taxes under the act. He meets the crowd at the door and resigns again. The crowd impales his royal commission on a sword, marches it to the harbor and sends it back to England.


Jan. 9, 1960: On his 47th birthday, Vice President Richard Nixon’s name is entered in the New Hampshire primary. Gov. Wesley Powell is Nixon’s campaign manager in the state.


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, 1989: In a speech that foreshadows the state’s coming recession, newly-sworn-in Gov. Judd Gregg cuts state spending by $6 million and warns of a projected $13 million deficit.


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. 9, 1997: Jeanne Shaheen is inaugurated, becoming New Hampshire’s first woman governor.


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, 1989: Steve Merrill, former governor John H. Sununu’s attorney general, steps down and announces plans to practice law with his old chum John Broderick. He tells reporters they haven’t seen the last of him. “I really hope that I will be part of government in the future. I want to be a participant in some way. If that is in an elected capacity, then so be it,” Merrill says. In 1992 Merrill will be elected governor; later, he will make Broderick a judge.


Jan. 10, 2000: The Laconia City Council names an athletic complex being built off Meredith Center Road for Robbie Mills, who was murdered for his bicycle a year and a half earlier. The dedication takes place on what would have been Mills’s 16th birthday.


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, 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. 11, 1943: Fred Currier, a well-known vegetable and fruit peddler in Penacook, is killed when his truck slides backward as he is unloading it and crushes him against a wall of snow on Elm Street.


Jan. 11, 1944: Because war recruitment has thinned the labor pool, the governor says he may lower the legal age for pinboys at New Hampshire bowling alleys to 15.


Jan. 11, 1860: The Governor’s Horse Guard is organized. Its members are all fine horsemen, but its purpose is as much “promoting social intercourse” as it is military. Former president Franklin Pierce and U.S. Sen. John P. Hale are among its members.


Jan. 11, 1987: The temperature falls to minus-23 degrees, coldest in the nation on this day.


Jan. 11, 1993: A fire forces nine nuns out of the Carmelite monastery on Pleasant Street in Concord.


Jan. 12, 2003: Two years after starting his quest for the corner office, Gov. Craig Benson officially ends it by throwing a party for hundreds of friends, family members, campaign supporters, politicians and business associates. From a podium high in the stands of the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, Benson announces to scores of cheering supporters at his inaugural ball that there’s “a new sheriff in town.”


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, 1981: The low temperature in the state capital is 21 below zero. The next morning in Concord will be just as cold.

Jan. 12, 1989: New England’s largest electricity company, Connecticut-based Northeast Utilities, offers to acquire bankrupt Public Service Co. of New Hampshire in a plan valued at $2 billion.


Jan. 12, 1989: Concord Sen. Susan McLane proposes a ban on jet skis on every lake in the state. “A jet ski is like a noisy buzz saw going in mindless circles,” she says. “It’s driving people crazy. This is a problem that isn’t going to go away.” No overall ban is imposed. Instead, lakes are considered on a case-by-case basis.


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, 1942: New Hampshire’s labor unions ban strikes and lockouts for the duration of the war.


Jan. 12, 1960: Concord teachers request a 15 percent pay raise. If it is granted, the starting pay for teachers will have doubled since 1947, when it was $2,000. The teachers want a contract granting them a pay range of $4,025 to $5,865.


Jan. 12, 1943: State Rep. Norris Cotton leads the charge for a ban on smoking in Representatives Hall during House sessions. The tobacco habit, he says, “is distasteful and obnoxious to the many non-smoking members.” He says the House is the only legislative body in the world that allows smoking during deliberations. The bill passes 203-129.


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, 1908: Edwin Bedee dies in Plymouth just five days after his 75th birthday. Bedee was in Ford’s Theater the night President Lincoln was shot. He rushed into the president’s box and held Lincoln’s head while a surgeon looked for the wound. It was Bedee, a captain in the 12th New Hampshire Infantry, who discovered that Lincoln had been shot in the head.


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.


Jan. 13, 1942: Gov. Robert O. Blood announces the rules and regulations for air raid blackouts. The Monitor publishes his message with a guide to identifying the country of origin of military aircraft.


Jan. 13, 1943: Responding to the governor’s call for Victory gardens and home farming, Concord Mayor Charles McKee says: “Concord citizens can keep pigs and chickens in their backyards if they want to. There is no city ordinance to stop them.”


Jan. 13, 1944: In an unprecedented ceremony at Representatives Hall, Lt. Chester Wheeler of Concord is awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. At the battle of Attu Island in the Aleutians the previous May, Wheeler led his platoon forward again and again against attacking Japanese units. He was severely wounded in the hip and is recuperating. Among those in attendance at the State House ceremony is Gov. Robert O. Blood, who himself won the Distinguished Service Cross during World War I.


Jan. 13, 1808: Salmon P. Chase is born in Cornish, the eighth of 11 children in his family. He will be a U.S. senator from Ohio, Lincoln’s secretary of the treasury and chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.


Jan. 13, 1891: Concord’s board of aldermen and common council appropriate $20,000 “for a Soldiers’ Memorial to commemorate the men of Concord who served their country on land or sea, in the several wars to establish, defend and maintain the unity of the Republic.” It is planned for White Park, then city hall, then the county building. It will be eight years before the Memorial Arch is finally dedicated in front of the State House.


Jan. 13, 1991: With placards proclaiming “No Blood for Oil” and other such messages, a peace group marches from the State House through the snow-banked streets of downtown Concord in protest of the threat of war with Iraq.


Jan. 13, 1968: Marine Lt. Alfred Russ, 24, of Hancock dies of wounds in Quang Tri Province. He is the 99th serviceman from New Hampshire to die during the Vietnam War.

Author: Insider Staff

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