This week in Concord history

Aug. 12, 1861: Their three-month enlistment up, the 1st New Hampshire Volunteers are mustered out of the army. They have returned home without seeing battle.

Aug. 12, 1952: State officials announce that Concord will be the northern terminus for the new Central New Hampshire Turnpike, a four-lane, $26 million expressway. The road will extend 40 miles from the Massachusetts state line at Tyngsboro to Concord. It will end in a huge traffic circle just south of the city line.

Aug. 13, 2002: Hopkinton’s zoning board votes unanimously to permit the Hopkinton State Fairgrounds to host the Highland Games.

Aug. 13, 1852: The tallest flagpole in New Hampshire history is erected in the State House yard, put up to celebrate Franklin Pierce’s nomination by the Democrats to be president. It is 143 feet tall, higher than the State House dome. First flown is an emblem with pictures of Pierce and Sen. Rufus de Vane King of Alabama, his running mate.

Aug. 13, 1976: Gov. Mel Thomson predicts an oil refinery will eventually be built along the New Hampshire coast and a pulp mill will be built on the Connecticut River.

Aug. 14, 2003: 550 people attend a memorial service for Sarah and Philip Gehring at South Congregational Church in Concord.

Aug. 14, 2002: In a raucous debate, all three Republican candidates for governor promise to roll back gay rights, restrict access to abortion if given the chance and curtail the power of the judiciary to decide police matters. Gordon Humphrey, Craig Benson and Bruce Keough also pledge to pass legislation to replace the state Supreme Court’s new House redistricting plan.

Aug. 14, 1864: Justus Drake of Pittsfield, a cavalryman in a New Hampshire troop, dies of starvation at the Confederate prison camp at Andersonville. His grave there is No. 5,577. He was captured less than two months before.

Aug. 14, 1945: The victory bell rings at 7:11 p.m., signaling the defeat of Japan and the end of the war. Thousands of people rush into downtown Concord to celebrate peace. One planned event is an “o so joyful Hara Kiri parade.” Children in kimonos carry parasols down Main Street, vying for $1 prizes for the best costumes. Also in the parade is an overturned canoe labeled “Jap Navy.” A man standing atop a Main Street building gaily fires a 10-gauge shotgun again and again. The police report that the throngs are well-behaved with the exception of a carload of Pittsfield boys who are caught setting off false fire alarms.

Aug. 14, 1852: Concord officials vote to build the Sewalls Falls bridge.

Aug. 14, 1870: Admiral David G. Farragut, Civil War hero of Vicksburg and Mobile Bay and one of the first northerners to enter Richmond at war’s end, dies at the Navy Yard in Portsmouth.

Aug. 15, 1971: Still fuming over Richard Nixon’s trip to China, Union Leader publisher William Loeb tells a Reno, Nev., audience that the only two Democrats he could support for president in 1972 are Sen. Henry Jackson of Washington or Los Angeles Mayor Sam Yorty. He also expresses fondness for two Republicans, Gov. Ronald Reagan of California and Vice President Spiro Agnew.

Aug. 15, 1864: Steam whistles and cannon herald the opening of Capitol Street along the south side of the State House grounds. A month earlier, the Legislature voted that if the street was not constructed by this day, they would move the capital.

Aug. 15, 1945: The Monitor’s lead headline reads: “City At A Standstill, Thousands Greet End Of War.”

Aug. 16, 2002: After winning four games at the Babe Ruth 16-18 World Series in Stamford, Conn., The Granite State Big Blue lose to Mobile, 6-2.

Aug. 16, 1978: Gov. Mel Thomson says he has “irrefutable proof” that communists were involved in the June 24 anti-nuclear power demonstration at the Seabrook construction site – and urges Congress to investigate.

Aug. 16, 1988: U.S. Sen. Gordon Humphrey of New Hampshire expresses delight after George Bush announces his selection of Dan Quayle as his presidential running mate. Humphrey had vowed to oppose any pick who didn’t measure up to his own conservatism. “I’m thrilled,” Humphrey says. “I couldn’t be more pleased.”

Aug. 16, 1843: A severe gale accompanied by torrents of rain destroys a large elm tree in the State House yard. The tree is 20 inches in diameter at its base. The wind breaks it off 20 feet about the ground.

Aug. 16, 1777: Gen. John Stark deploys his 1,500 men to receive Hessian and British forces marching on Bennington. If his troops are worthy, he tells them, they must “prove it or Molly Stark sleeps a widow tonight.” Fighting with muskets, bayonets, pikes and swords, Stark’s men kill 207 and capture 750. Thomas Jefferson will later say: “This raised America from the depths of despair to the summit of hope.”

Author: Insider Staff

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