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A Look Back: Witnesses remember the Great Lebanon Fire of 1964
06-01-2024 5:01 PM

By STEVE TAYLOR

LEBANON — Most folks have a few events in their memory they’ll never lose track of, days like Nov. 22, 1963, the day John F. Kennedy was shot in Dallas, or Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorists crashed jetliners into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon....

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A Look Back: Upper Valley dining scene changes with the times
05-05-2024 4:31 PM

By STEVE TAYLOR

Before franchised fast food and corporate-owned restaurants hit the Upper Valley, there was a time when locally owned diners and a variety of family-run eating establishments flourished and produced many fond memories and much nostalgia. For at least...


A Look Back: Crank telephones connected Meriden community for 75 years
03-31-2024 5:16 PM

By STEVE TAYLOR

It was a great conversation starter half a century ago, and, if you lived it, the subject can bring amusement, even awe, to those hearing about it today. That’s the “hand crank” or magneto telephone system that served Meriden Village for nearly 75...


A Look Back: The legislation that changed town meeting
03-03-2024 6:31 PM

By STEVE TAYLOR

It was arguably the greatest change in the structure of New Hampshire town government in almost three centuries, seen by advocates as a necessary response to rapid population growth in many communities and by others as an assault on a cherished...


A Look Back: That Golden Age of ski jumping
02-04-2024 7:27 AM

By STEVE TAYLOR

Erling Heistad came to Lebanon from Norway in 1923 and in a matter of a few months he set off a half century’s worth of excitement that would eventually establish a local Golden Age of what had been an obscure Scandinavian sport, ski jumping. For...


A Look Back: Citizen access to the candidates central to NH primary
01-08-2024 4:17 AM

By STEVE TAYLOR

It was 36 years ago, back when Lebanon was largely a moderate Republican bastion, and Karen Wadsworth was an up and coming figure in New Hampshire GOP politics. One day she hosted a good-sized gathering of the GOP faithful at her home on Bank...


A Look Back: The Golden Age of radio added color to Upper Valley life
12-05-2023 4:29 AM

By STEVE TAYLOR

Radio had come in big-time by the 1930s, but if you lived in the Upper Valley, you needed a wire hooked up to a tree or post outside your house if you wanted to get any reception. And the reception you got off this crude antenna system came from...


A Look Back: Upper Valley grocery stores change with the times
11-06-2023 1:57 AM

By STEVE TAYLOR

Talk about all the things that have changed in the Upper Valley since, well, 1950 — the interstates, the rising influence of Dartmouth College and its ever-expanding health care colossus, disappearance of textile mills and hill farms, staggering gains...


A Look Back: Bridges knit together the Upper Valley
10-03-2023 8:22 AM

By STEVE TAYLOR

Bridges across the Connecticut River have been essential for more than two centuries to creating what former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean once called a “third state” nestled between New Hampshire and his Green Mountain State. Indeed, as the current...


A Look Back: A Tunbridge Fair of a very different vintage
08-28-2023 10:02 AM

By STEVE TAYLOR

THE TUNBRIDGE FAIR AS IT ONCE WAS — Yes, it was good that a crusading young minister came to town and led the charge to clean up the wild, alcohol-fueled atmosphere of the Tunbridge Fair and get rid of its reputation as “the drunkards’ reunion.” That...


A Look Back: Farm auctions reflect Upper Valley’s changing way of life
08-07-2023 10:45 PM

By STEVE TAYLOR

There’s a measure of melancholy that always surrounds a farm auction. Chances are it is bringing down the curtain on a life’s work, an ending compelled by bodies aging out, debts that can’t be covered by cash flow or plain old bad luck. The effects...


A Look Back: Fourth of July celebrations meld civic and social elements
07-02-2023 9:14 PM

By STEVE TAYLOR

John Adams famously said the true founding of the United States of America came on July 2, 1776, not on July 4, because on July 2 the Continental Congress passed by majority vote the Declaration of Independence. On the fourth, the delegates signed the...


A Look Back: A celebration of the square bale
06-05-2023 1:47 AM

By STEVE TAYLOR

It was by far the greatest technological advance of the 20th century for livestock farmers, and it lives on today serving what’s become a niche market of hobby farmers and horse owners. It’s the hay baler, and it’s a machine that can be pulled around...


A Look Back: I-89’s arrival made Purmort, Montcalm real
05-02-2023 12:38 AM

By STEVE TAYLOR

‘Twas 63 years ago when the Enfield board of selectmen — Charlie Tupper, Isaac Sanborn and Henry Laramie — sat down with representatives of the state highway department to discuss whether the town had any wishes for naming its two exits off the new...


A Look Back: Muddy roads of springs past
04-03-2023 4:54 AM

By STEVE TAYLOR

Upper Valley roads are wicked muddy this spring? Ha! Go back a few decades, or maybe a century or two — that’s when just about every road around here was a muddy slog, even in downtowns, for weeks on end. Little wonder folks then actually liked winter...


A Look Back: Food once a pivotal part of Town Meeting
03-07-2023 6:09 PM

By STEVE TAYLOR

Time was when the food served on Town Meeting day was nearly as important as things like the school budget, highway maintenance and a new fire truck when they came up for discussion and votes. Many Upper Valley Vermont towns and a few on the New...


A Look Back: White River Junction in the 1950s
02-05-2023 9:03 PM

By STEVE TAYLOR

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, SUMMER 1957 — It hadn’t changed much in generations and it was still a rugged railroad town, downtown stores hadn’t yet been destroyed by the Vermont sales tax that came a decade later, the slow decay of the 1960s, 1970s and...


A Look Back: The epic ice storm of 1998
01-22-2023 5:53 PM

By GEOFF HANSEN

Twenty-five years ago, a storm struck parts of the Upper Valley, weighing down trees under a coating of ice and knocking out power for days.Two weather fronts stalled over the Northeast for three to four days in early January 1998, and it fell not as...


A Look Back: 50 year ago this week, Orford’s Thomson was sworn in
01-04-2023 3:26 PM

By STEVE TAYLOR

He ran for president once, lost three primary bids for New Hampshire governor and was defeated twice in gubernatorial general elections. But, no matter, Orford’s Meldrim Thomson Jr. was elected to be the Granite State’s chief executive three times,...


A Look Back: The 1992 N.H. Primary
02-02-2020 10:05 PM

By JOHN P. GREGG

WEST LEBANON — A generation ago, a crowded field of Democrats were running in the 1992 New Hampshire presidential primary, hoping to unseat a Republican incumbent who many voters thought was out-of-touch on the domestic front, especially regarding the...


Bygone era on Sykes Mountain Ave.
11-07-2019 2:42 PM

By JOHN P. GREGG

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — Drive-in theaters were a major feature of American life in the second-half of the 20th century, and some remain in operation, including in Fairlee and Bethel.Their hold was so strong that nostalgia is helping to drive the effort...

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