Dec. 22, 2001: In a state where primary campaigns rarely heat up until just before the election, Craig Benson has thrown more extravaganzas than any of his four competitors – probably more than any candidate in the state’s history so far out from the election – and he never lets anyone leave hungry, the Monitor reports. Food, folks and fun is not his only tactic, but Benson knows that in a good activist’s heart, eating is next to voting. And so far, his strategy is attracting diners – and attention.
Dec. 22, 1999: Portsmouth’s mayor and the selectmen from two other property-rich communities file a lawsuit challenging the statewide property tax. Acting on behalf of taxpayers in their communities, the officials say the tax is unconstitutional and unfair because of inconsistencies in the way property values are assessed around the state.
Dec. 22, 1939: Fire destroys the first steamer Mount Washington.
Dec. 22, 1964: Sen. Norris Cotton criticizes the GOP for its complacency. “We Republicans have felt for too long we had New Hampshire in our pockets. It’s been quite a few years since the Republicans in a campaign did any real work.” He says the job has become tougher with an influx of new residents from Massachusetts. “We’re glad to have them, but the large majority of them are fundamentally Democrats.”
Dec 22, 1862: Nine days after the 5th New Hampshire Infantry was cut to pieces at the Battle of Fredericksburg, Captain James Larkin of Concord writes his wife back home that “there are several Concord people out here since the fight. … They had better come before a fight and bring a musket. They would do more good.”
Dec. 23, 2002: Streamlining state government, controlling big withdrawals of underground water and struggling, as usual, over paying for education are among the top challenges facing lawmakers in 2003, the Monitor reports.
Dec. 23, 2000: Bradlees department store on Fort Eddy Road is about to go out of business, the Monitor reports. The 105-store chain, which struggled through the 1990s, will close all of its locations.
Dec. 23, 1987: Charles Gross, a University of New Hampshire marketing professor, predicts that Yuppies will die out in 1988 as more traditional and less selfish personal values come into vogue. He says the October ‘87 stock market crash ended the yuppie era and the next year will find more young people putting family goals and personal relationships ahead of careers and condominiums.
Dec. 23, 1865: Home at last eight months after the last shots of the Civil War were fired, the Second New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry Regiment parades through the streets of Concord. Gov. Frederick Smyth and other dignitaries toast the regiment. Three days later, the Second will be paid off and discharged, having served longer than any other New Hampshire regiment.
Dec. 24, 1979: The U.S. Census Bureau reports New Hampshire’s population is now 887,000, up 20.2 percent from 1970.
Dec. 24, 1979: The state Public Utilities Commission grants a 4.98 percent emergency rate increase to Public Service Co. of New Hampshire, which claims it needs added revenue to keep building its Seabrook nuclear power plant.
Dec. 24, 1998: A 26-year-old snowmobiler crashes through the ice of Turkey Pond in Concord and is stuck in the frigid water for an hour – staying afloat by purposely freezing his forearms and hands on top of the ice. Concord Fire Battalion Chief calls it the most dangerous ice rescue in memory. “There was such shallow ice around him,” he says.
Dec. 24, 1989: Don’t tell Concord folks winter has just begun: Only a month after the coldest November day of the century, the city faces another deep freeze. The day’s low temperature is 20 below zero.
Dec. 24, 1900: The Monitor reports on this year’s building boom. The new structures include the Optima Building and two other business blocks on Main Street, a new library and Dewey School.
Dec. 24, 1828: The town of Franklin is incorporated. It includes land formerly part of Salisbury, Andover, Sanbornton and Northfield.
Dec. 25, 1976: The toll on Interstate 93 rises from 25 to 40 cents. The price of tokens increases from 16 to 20 cents. It’s the first increase in 20 years and is intended to pay for expanding the turnpike between Hooksett and Bow.
Dec. 25, 1820: Episcopalians hold Concord’s first Christmas celebration 93 years after the town was settled. Because Concord was settled by Massachusetts Congregationalists, the holiday was previously banned.
Dec. 25, 1776: Gen. George Washington informs Col. John Stark of New Hampshire that Stark will lead one of the elements in a surprise attack on British forces at Trenton, N.J.