New Hampshire’s Decoration Day 1869 (now known as Memorial Day)

Boy with Flag Memorial Day

Today we celebrate Memorial Day, as an official date to honor and to decorate the graves of those who perished in the wars and skirmishes of the United States. In 1869 this time of year was called DECORATION DAY, and was mainly focused on those who had recently died during the Civil War, as the following article describes. Continue reading

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Nashua NH Composer, Piano Merchant and Civic Leader, William Law “Will” Nutting (1874-1925)

William L. "Will" Nutting

William L. “Will” Nutting

Before it was Darrell’s Music Hall, it was Paine Furniture Music Hall. Before that it was Nutting’s Music Store. And before that it was William L. Nutting Inc.

William Law Nutting was not born, nor did he die, in New Hampshire. But from a lowly piano tuner, he worked his way up until he was one of the leading retail merchants of pianos and “talking machines” in New England. For over twenty years he had a shop and warehouse in Nashua, New Hampshire. After his death, the company continued in his name for several years. Continue reading

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Meredith New Hampshire’s World War 1 Honor Roll

World War I Honor Roll, Meredith, NH

World War I Honor Roll, Meredith, NH, from an old postcard.

The placard is a plain one, but the service that the names imply is great.  At one time this hand lettered sign graced the town of Meredith, New Hampshire, to honor her sons who served in World War 1.  The entire list is shown below, along with more detail about the men who were either lost or who received special merit medals.

If you know of any others who are not mentioned here, please let me know and I will be glad to add them.

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Not New Hampshire: Waterville Maine’s Motion Picture Actor Lew Cody (1883-1934)

Lew Cody, from a vintage postcard

Lew Cody, from a vintage postcard

Lew Cody (as Louis Joseph Cote aka Lewis Joseph Cody) was born in Maine, and he died in California. So you are probably thinking, “what does he have to do with New Hampshire?” He grew up in Berlin, New Hampshire and called it home. His father moved to Berlin after Lew’s mother, Elizabeth, died, and while he was still young. His actor’s make-up kit can be found in the archives of the Berlin and Coös County Historical Society.

Unless you are a “senior” senior citizen, or an old movie fanatic, the name Lew Cody may not ring a bell.  During his movie career he was considered to be as famous as Clark Gable was in his time. He started in vaudeville, then appeared in some of the early silent films, graduating into movies with sound. He was described as suave, black haired, witty, and having a fairly strong Canadian accent (off screen). He most of all  enjoyed practical jokes. At first he played villains, and because of his popularity he moved on to leading man roles. He often put on corned beef and cabbage dinners, inviting his many Hollywood friends. If people became disruptive at his parties, they often ended up being thrown into his pool. An advertisement in 1921 called him “The Screen’s Most Perfect Lover, Best Dressed Man, and Most Polished Actor.”

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99 Years of History: Gypsy Tour Day to New Hampshire Motorcycle Week to Laconia Motorcycle Week

A 1915 Manchester City (NH) Directory advertisement for an Indian motorcycle

A 1915 Manchester City (NH) Directory advertisement for an Indian motorcycle

New Hampshire is home to America’s Original Motorcycle Rally. Its a 99th year anniversary in New Hampshire in 2015, if you count sequentially from 1916–the year before the official “Gypsy Tour Day,”–when some 150 motorcyclists unofficially gathered at Weirs Beach.

By the following year (1917) the Motorcycle and Allied Trades Association’s Lacy Crolius, who was chairman of their education committee announced a first national two-day motorcycle “Gypsy Tour” (aka Gypsy Day Tours, aka National Gypsy Holiday Tour) predicting that it would “bring out at least 20,000 enthusiasts of the two and three-wheeled sport.”

[Editor’s Note: The Laconia Bike Week web site is touting their event as the 92nd. They are either 1) basing it on the starting date of 1918, and subtracting several years when the event was either cancelled or not held, or 2) they started counting when the national championship was first brought to Laconia (it was held at Old Orchard Beach Maine and also in Keene a few years prior to the venue transfer).  See the extensive chart of historical dates here. I prefer to call it 99 years, since, for example, even if someone does not have a birthday party, they still gain a year in age.] Continue reading

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