This week in Concord history

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. 12, 2002: Andover’s Kris Freeman skis into 22nd in the men’s 15-kilometer race at the Olympic games in Salt Lake City.

 

Feb. 12, 1987: Supporters of Gary Hart’s 1988 presidential bid hold their first organizational meeting in Cheshire County.

 

Feb. 12, 1988: Four days before the New Hampshire primary, Gen. Alexander Haig quits the GOP presidential race, throwing his support to Sen. Bob Dole. Haig had been running dead last in the polls. “We don’t think whatever support he has here will be transferable,” says a spokesman for Vice President George Bush.

 

Feb. 12, 1967: The weather observatory atop Mount Washington simultaneously records a temperature of minus-41 degrees Fahrenheit and a wind of 110 miles per hour. The chill factor is off the charts.

 

Feb. 12, 1942: Charles H. Barnard, the state’s rationing director, announces that retread tires will be rationed as of next week. Also coming soon: sugar rationing.

 

Feb. 12, 1942: Speaking in Lincoln, England, on Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, U.S. Ambassador John G. Winant of Concord says Lincoln would have approved of the war. “He was, as we are, the foe of any doctrine which seeks to enslave one race to another,” Winant tells his audience.

 

Feb. 12, 1976: Kevin Cash, author of Who the Hell Is William Loeb? sues Loeb for defamation of character. Cash cites 10 incidents since the book’s publication where he says Loeb has defamed him. One is a New York Times interview in which Loeb called Cash’s work “a hatchet job and purely a hate book.” Cash himself has recently been sued by Loeb’s pal, Gov. Meldrim Thomson, for $375,000, over a reference in the book.

 

Feb. 12, 1973: The Concord City Council rejects plans for a shopping center on the site of the South End Marsh. At issue: a $3 million air-conditioned shopping mall providing 250 new jobs. Says one resident: “We are not running out of shopping centers like we are running out of marshes.”

 

Feb. 12, 1979: In Concord on Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, U.S. Sen. Robert Dole announces that he will run for president. “I’m a hard worker,” he says. “I think the record is there.”

 

Feb. 13, 2002: In the Lakes Region it’s not a typical winter for local business-owners who deal in the fishing supplies, snowmobiles and ski gear that are usually in demand this time of year, the Monitor reports. They say relatively warm temperatures, low snowfall totals and an economy that was sluggish before winter began are combining to make this a slow year.

 

Feb. 13, 2000: Local day care centers that charge about $100 per week per child are struggling to make ends meet, the Monitor reports. Some are in danger of closing, others have already, and they seem to have foundered for similar reasons: rising expenses, difficulty finding qualified staff and many working parents’ inability to pay more for child care.

 

Feb. 13, 1847: Thomas “Old Soldier” Haines dies at 87. A Concord man, Haines volunteered in the Patriot cause at the age of 19. He was slightly wounded at Fort Ticonderoga in 1777 and had worse luck near Saratoga. He was shot and lay two days among the dead before being rescued. The ball had passed through both cheeks, nearly severing his tongue. The Bouton history of Concord reported: “His face bore the mutilation till his death.”

 

Feb. 13, 1788: New Hampshire delegates convene to consider the proposed U.S. Constitution. About two-thirds oppose it, and only after cajoling by Dr. Josiah Bartlett and other supporters do the delegates agree to reconvene in Concord in four months.

 

Feb. 13, 1992: In a show of fitness aimed at reassuring voters about his health, Democratic presidential candidate Paul Tsongas takes a very public swim at the Concord YMCA. With photographers and TV cameras recording his workout, he swims several laps free-style, then sends an aide to find him someone to race. When no one can be found, he does a 50-yard butterfly sprint on his own.

 

Feb. 13, 1952: Sen. Estes Kefauver of Tennessee and his wife Nancy arrive in Concord to begin a week of folksy campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination. On Main Streets, at jalopy and sled dog races and at factory gates, he will meet this challenge from a campaign adviser: “I want you to promise that you’ll shake 500 hands a day between now and election time.”

 

Feb. 13, 1849: Fire destroys all but the blacksmith shop of the Abbot & Downing coach factory in Concord. It will be rebuilt.

 

Feb. 13, 1932: Wearing a knitted toque hat (there are no more substantial headgear), Douglas Everett skates for the United States against Canada in the Olympic ice hockey final at Lake Placid. The teams tie 2-2. Canada, undefeated in the tournament, wins the gold medal. Everett will bring a silver medal home to Concord.

 

Feb. 14, 2003: The Penacook tannery will receive half a million dollars from the state Land and Community Heritage Investment Program for cleanup and restoration, the program’s board of directors announces.

 

Feb. 14, 2000: Everett Arena officials ask the Concord City Council to chip in half the construction costs for adding two new locker rooms. Among other things, the plans would bring the rink into compliance with federal disability regulations and gender equity laws.

 

Feb. 14, 1916: The Boston Post publishes Carl Wilmore’s account of his trip to Franconia to interview Robert Frost, who moved there the previous spring. Frost tells Wilmore: “I hear everything I write. All poetry is to me a matter of sound. I hear my things spoken.”

 

Feb. 14, 1942: Although the manufacture of fireworks is banned for the duration of the war, wholesalers say they have plenty of firecrackers on hand so that New Hampshire people can celebrate the Fourth of July.

 

Feb. 15, 2001: The Sewalls Falls bridge is closed for repairs. One of the few crossings of the Merrimack River in Concord, the bridge has been slated for reconstruction in the past. As far back as 1993, the state said a new bridge would be in place by 1998.

 

Feb. 15, 2000: Conservative Republican Sen. Mary Brown of Chichester is proposing an income tax to pay for public education, the Monitor reports. Frustrated with the positions of the Democratic and Republican candidates, Brown will go on to run for governor as an independent.

 

Feb. 15, 1911: A bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. John Weeks of Massachusetts, a New Hampshire native, calls for federal purchase of forest lands. The Weeks Act will lead to the designation of the White Mountain National Forest.

 

Feb. 15, 1943: As a war measure, Concord’s Mayor Charles McKee recommends that stoplights be eliminated at city intersections. Posting stop signs in their places will conserve gasoline, he says.

 

Feb. 16, 2001: New Hampshire authorities issue a warrant for the arrest of a Vermont 17-year-old on charges that he murdered two Dartmouth professors three weeks ago. A second Vermont teenager will also be charged.

 

Feb. 16, 2002: In Concord, a blaze that brings the city’s entire firefighting fleet to Main Street damages the two brick buildings that house Granite Bank and Eye 2 Eye Gallery. Nobody is hurt.

 

Feb. 16, 2000: Communities with large populations are more apt to switch from traditional town meeting to ballot voting than are smaller ones, the Monitor reports. The first statewide study of Senate Bill 2, which gave towns the option to switch, finds the decision is not correlated to the local tax rate.

 

Feb. 16, 1812: Henry Wilson is born in Farmington. He will serve as vice president to Ulysses S. Grant.

 

Feb. 16, 1942: Eighty centers are set up around the state to register men aged 20 and 36-44 for the draft. Gov. Robert O. Blood’s son, Robert Jr., a junior at Dartmouth, has already registered, as has Styles Bridges Jr., son of the senator.

 

Feb. 16, 1974: Gov. Mel Thomson appeals a U.S. District Court decision which says homosexuals have the same rights as other students at UNH. Judge Hugh Bownes ruled that students had the right to form the Gay Students Organization and hold social events.

 

Feb. 16, 1972: Manchester police department headquarters is bombed by a group called the People’s Liberation Army. Also a target: the New Hampshire headquarters of President Richard Nixon.

 

Feb. 17, 2002: At the Winter Games of Salt Lake City, Andover native Kris Freeman helps the U.S. cross-country relay team into a fifth-place finish, the best ever posted by a U.S. Olympic team.

 

Feb. 17, 1740: John Sullivan is born in Somersworth. He will grow up to be a vain lawyer with British sympathies and an American Revolutionary War general, but not a good one.

 

Feb. 17, 2000: A five-alarm fire in downtown Pittsfield destroys two apartment buildings, leaving up to 15 people homeless. Frigid temperatures result in frozen hydrants and hoses. At one point, a power line snaps and hits a truck, knocking off a firefighter who was manning a hose.

 

Feb. 17, 1943: The low temperature in Concord is 18 below zero, but that’s a big improvement! It was 37 below the day before.

Author: Insider Staff

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