When Manchester’s NH’s Amoskeag Mill (Almost) Built the World’s Largest Flag

Flag women and made up by Mill-workers at Manchester NH.  Photograph from Harlan A. Marshall, as printed on page 411 of The National Geographic Magazine, October 1917.

Flag woven and made up by mill-workers at Manchester NH. Photograph by Harlan A. Marshall, as printed on page 411 of The National Geographic Magazine, October 1917.

Almost is an interesting word.  It means nearly, pretty darn close but no cigar, not entirely, second place.  It would have been easier for me to just stick with the story already out there–that in 1914 Manchester New Hampshire’s Amoskeag Mills created the world’s largest flag. I almost did. It almost was.  But telling the truth seems more important than perpetuating the myth. That impressive American flag that I saw in photographs, hanging from the lofty brick mill building in Manchester was almost the largest in the world. Newspaper stories printed in countless newspapers between July and October of 1914, touting it as the greatest, were almost correct. Continue reading

New Hampshire Missing Places: The Wizard Tree of Intervale


View of Lake Winnipesaukee- old postcard

View of Lake Winnipesaukee, showing typical young white birch trees in New Hampshire – old postcard

New Hampshire has long been renown for its picturesque birch trees.  Most often I think of these tall, pale, and often slightly bent trees in a scene combined with a mountain or a crystal blue lake in the background, reminiscent of tourist brochures.

The so-called Wizard Tree of Intervale, New Hampshire (a village partly in the towns of Conway and Bartlett) was unusual in its appearance, and by 1904 became one of the most frequently photographed and promoted trees in New Hampshire.  How did that come to be? And where is it now?

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Missing Places: Yoken’s Restaurant in Portsmouth NH (1947-2004)

Yoken’s Restaurant on Lafayette Road in Portsmouth NH closed in September of 2004. yokens postcardThe property was sold, and the original landmark demolished.  Now some are trying to rescue the “Thar She Blows” trademark sign. In a city known for the preservation of its ancient buildings, the enthusiasm for a metal and neon artifact of a mere 66 years is not surprising. Continue reading

Earthquakes in New England

Eighteen years after the pilgrim fathers landed on Plymouth rock they experienced their

Chinatown in San Francisco after 1906 earthquake

View of Chinatown buildings in ruins following the earthquake in 1906 San Francisco, California. DN-0053564, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago History Museum. From American Memory

first New England earthquake. This was in 1638, and was very severe, so much so as to throw persons to the ground. Since it occurred down to the year 1850 one hundred and

forty-nine earthquakes are registered as having been experienced in these Eastern States, of which 40 happened in winter, 16 in the spring, 32 in summer and 46 in autumn, while of 15 the year only is stated.  Nearly twice as many have occurred in winter and autumn as in spring and summer. In these cooler latitutdes the severest earthquakes take place in cool or cold weather, a rule that in the tropical countries is reversed.  The shock of November 18, 1855, was very severe. “Let this shock be repeated,” writes W.T. Brigham “and half Boston would be destroyed and the loss of life would be terrible.”  It came near being repeated October 20, 1870.
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Current Events: A Storm of Snow

A Storm of Snow has come and gone, leaving several feet of powdery, drifting snow behind.  It seems that since last autumn The Weather Channel started naming winter storms, and they called the most recent one ‘Nemo.’  WFSB Channel 3 (New Haven CT), who apparently was one of the first news stations to  name major winter storms, called it ‘Charlotte’ instead. No matter what they say, it was not the greatest snowfall New Hampshire has seen.

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