This week in Concord history

Jan. 6, 2003: Several Penacook residents ask the city to save their beloved, but most likely doomed, Rolfe barn: They ask the city to seize it through eminent domain. The request is made in a petition filed just minutes before city hall closes. After months of battles between history buffs and property developers, the Penacook Historical Society will own the barn.


Jan. 6, 2002: The New England Patriots trounce the Carolina Panthers 38-6 to win the AFC East division title with 11 wins and 5 losses. In Concord, fans sit at Cheers and talk about the game. “I don’t know if they will go to the Super Bowl, says Josh Gullage, a 29-year-old production supervisor from Gilmanton. “Just making it to the playoffs is a big accomplishment for them.”


Jan. 6, 2001: President Clinton will make one more trip to New Hampshire before leaving office, the Monitor reports. “There’s not a specific reason … besides the fact that he likes New Hampshire,” a White House spokeswoman says. “It’s just sort of a farewell tour.”


Jan. 6, 1853: A train derails and topples on the way to Concord, killing 11-year-old “Little Benny” Pierce. His father, the president-elect, and his mother are traveling with him but are unhurt. Jane Appleton Pierce is “completely distraught” and will never recover from the loss. After the funeral, the body will be carried down Main Street and Concord residents will pay their respects. Benny will be buried alongside his brother, who died at the age of 4 in 1843.


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, 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, 1985: In a front-page editorial, Union Leader publisher Nackey Loeb offers this advice: “For those young people who feel that they have a right to their own pursuits, let them remember that as long as their parents pay the price in grocery bills, in heartache and in being the ‘establishment,’ the parents also have the right to make the rules.”


Jan. 8, 1990: The city council elects Jim MacKay mayor of Concord. He defeats the incumbent, Liz Hager.


Jan. 9, 2003: Craig Robert Benson, 48, of Rye, takes the oath of office just before noon, replacing three-term governor Jeanne Shaheen and returning the corner office to the Republican Party.


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, 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, 2002: The House votes 234-120 against a bill that would have effectively banned smoking in restaurants.


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. 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, 1982: C. David Coeyman is elected to succeed Martin Gross as mayor of Concord. He beats Jim MacKay in a 9-6 vote of the city council. “We have not always agreed and we will not always agree, but I respect the man,” says Charles Vitagliano, on nominating Coeyman.


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, 2002: Hooksett has been growing quickly for decades, but plans now in the works could increase the number of homes there by 49 percent, the Monitor reports. It’s a looming boom that illustrates a regional trend: Growth from metropolitan Boston is wending farther north into New Hampshire.


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, 2000: Standing in for George W. Bush, Sen. Judd Gregg fields criticism of his candidate, who has spent far less time in New Hampshire than rival John McCain. “We’d love to have him here more if we could,” Gregg says of Bush, “but look, when we nominate a candidate, he’s going to have to be able to run a national campaign.”


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, 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.


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.

Author: Insider Staff

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