Poof Tardiff: 1898 IV

Hello fellow Berlinites. Probably never in the history of Berlin up to 1898, had the observance of Memorial Day been more patriotically or more sacredly observed than this one. The virtue and respect shown our dead soldiers by the fine Grand Army of the Republic, other local organizations, as well as the public, was a fitting tribute to those who had laid down their lives to uphold this nation's honor.

At this time, when our country was at war (Spanish-American) and the spirit of liberty for an oppressed people, pervading the true one American heart and the sad remembrance of those gallant boys of the USS Maine, who yielded up their lives, the tribute to the day and location seemed all the more in keeping. This war was started in April and ended unofficially with a cease-fire signed in August of 1898.

On Wednesday, June 8, 1898, an immense landslide occurred near the height of land in Dixville Notch, which filled and blocked the road to any traveling at once. It was caused by a severe thunderstorm and cloudburst during the evening.

Thursday morning, as a party approached the height of land, they saw the road completely blocked by rocks, trees and dirt, which had come down hundreds of feet onto the highway below, completely obstructing travel. The slide was about 200 feet long and 25 feet deep in places.

Authorities put a large force to work at once clearing the road, as this was considered the only way to reach the great fishing country of the Upper Magalloway and was much traveled at this time of the year. It was hoped that no one was passing through the notch at the time of this slide.

Dixville Notch is known to have lost profiles and high ledges because of the severity of the slides that have taken place here during the course of its lifetime. At one time in the 1800's there was a profile there called “The Old Man of the Mountain Dixville Notch” and it had a resemblance to the profile that once stood in Franconia Notch that we referred to as “The Great Stone Face”.

In the beginning of June, 1898, the contract for a new school building at the corners of Willard, State and Pine streets was awarded by the building committee to Robert Snodgrass, who at once started getting material on the ground to commence work on the same, as soon as John Stuart completed his labors on the foundation. This school would eventually be called Marston.

As summer rolled along in 1898, the celebration of the Fourth of July was considered also a very credible affair. Sunday had hardly merged into Monday, before the shriek of whistles, the roar of the cannon, along with the exasperating firecracker, the clanging of the bells of high and low degree and the yell of the small boy awoke Berlin to the realization that Independence Day had arrived in this city about five minutes early.

During this holiday in 1898, there was a parade with all sorts of floats, bands, a horrible's group, field sports, hose reel contest and more, as Berlin's grand celebration was considered its best ever held so far.

In last week's story I mentioned a place called Chandler's Inn which once stood in Dummer, New Hampshire and had a fine picture of what was considered the halfway point and resting area on the trip from Berlin to Errol. This must have been a well run a hostelry, as I read about it many times in the newspapers during these earlier years.

On Sunday, August 21, 1898 about 50 people took dinner at Chandler's Inn and most of them were composed of Berlin residents with their friends. I can just imagine the beautiful ride up through Milan and past Pontook with a group of locals in horse driven buggies back in these days of wild country and dirt roads.

Landlord Chandler, as usual served one of his excellent dinners, for which the house had gained such a high reputation and the party did all ample justice to the courses served. Several enjoyed a boat ride on the river across the road and gathered some beautiful pond lilies, while others strolled about the grounds and enjoyed the fine views presented on all sides.

The broad inter-vale expanse with the forest and mountains in the distance, together with the wide and noiseless flowing of the Androscoggin River a short distance from the lodge, all tended toward making this scene a most delightful one. Any party that desired an enjoyable drive, a fine meal and a pleasant day's outing, found a trip to this retreat full of interest and much pleasure back in these days.

As this summer was coming to an end, two sad mill accidents claimed the lives of Berlin men. On August 28, 1898, Martin Lydon, an employee of Mill Number Six of the International Paper Company was fatally burned by bursting of a valve to one of the digesters that he was opening around midnight on this mentioned day.

He was taken to his home where he passed away about six hours later from his injuries. Peter Mathieson, an assistant workman, who was also nearby at the time of the accident was badly, but not seriously scalded.

Mr. Lydon was a faithful employee of this company and his death was a sad blow to his wife and four small children. He was 40 years of age.

Robert McHuthchins, an employee of the Burgess Sulfite Fiber Company, met with sudden death on Monday, August 29, 1898 while at work. He was employed in the wood room and in some manner got caught between the carrier cable and the sprocket instantly taking his life.

His body was not found until another workman who was sent to ascertain why the cable did not start, as it was disconnected during the accident. Robert was 50 years old and left one son, two brothers and a sister to mourn him.

Finally, our public schools got a boost in this growing city, when the Marston School opened for the accommodation of pupils in September of 1898. At this time it only took in the fourth and fifth grades under the tutorship of Miss Agnes Campbell and Miss Jeanie Rich, both of whom were extremely popular and experienced educators in this city.

The new building was a handsome and commodious two-story wooden structure with four large schoolrooms, four teachers' rooms and a large basement. This basement was outfitted with closets and storage and had a concrete bottom, making a fine play area for the children.

This new modern school was named in honor of Henry Marston, this city's first mayor, who presented this educational institution with a beautiful large flag to be used on all public occasions. The total cost of the structure was $10,000

Additions were eventually put on as needed and by 1906 the school was able to handle grades one through eight. In February of 1906, it burned to the ground while in session without loss of life. The second Marston school was built in the same year, on the same spot and still stands today (2016).

I will continue with the year 1898 in my next writing.

Poof Tardiff writes a weekly column for The Berlin Daily Sun. Questions or comments email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Also join the many fans all “Once upon a Berlin Time” on Facebook and guess at the many weekly pictures.

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Alison Gopnik: What babies know about physics and foreign languages

By Alison Gopnik
New York Times

Parents and policy makers have become obsessed with getting young children to learn more, faster. But the picture of early learning that drives them is exactly the opposite of the one that emerges from developmental science.
In the last 30 years, the United States has completed its transformation to an information economy. Knowledge is as important in the 21st century as capital was in the 19th, or land in the 18th. In the same 30 years, scientists have discovered that even very young children learn more than we once thought possible. Put those together and our preoccupation with making children learn is no surprise.
The trouble is that most people think learning is the sort of thing we do in school, and that parents should act like teachers — they should direct special lessons at children to produce particular kinds of knowledge or skill, with the help of how-to books and “parenting” apps. Studies prove that high-quality preschool helps children thrive. But policy makers and educators are still under pressure to justify their investments in early childhood education. They’ve reacted by replacing pretend corners and playground time with “school readiness” tests.
But in fact, schools are a very recent invention. Young children were learning thousands of years before we had ever even thought of schools. Children in foraging cultures learned by watching what the people around them did every day, and by playing with the tools they used. New studies show that even the youngest children’s brains are designed to learn from this simple observation and play in a remarkably sensitive way.
Young children today continue to learn best by watching the everyday things that grown-ups do, from cleaning the house to fixing a car. My grandson Augie, like most 4-year-olds, loves to watch me cook, and tries manfully to copy what I do. But how does he decide whether to just push the egg whites around the bowl, or to try to reproduce exactly the peculiar wristy beating action I learned from my own mother? How does he know that he should transfer the egg yolks to the flour bowl without accidentally dropping them in the whites, as Grandmom often does? How did he decide that green peas would be a good addition to a strawberry soufflé? (He was right, by the way.)
Experimental studies show that even the youngest children are naturally driven to imitate. Back in 1988, Andrew Meltzoff of the University of Washington did a study in which 14-month-olds saw an experimenter do something weird — she tapped her forehead on top of a box to make it light up. A week later, the babies came back to the lab and saw the box. Most of them immediately tried to tap their own foreheads on the box to make the light go on.
In 2002 Gyorgy Gergely, Harold Bekkering and Ildiko Kiraly did a different version of this study. Sometimes the experimenters’ arms were wrapped in a blanket when she tapped her forehead on the box. The babies seemed to figure out that when the experimenter’s arms were wrapped up, she couldn’t use her hands, and that must have been why she had used her head instead. So when it was the babies’ turn they took the easy route and tapped the box with their hands.
In 2013 David Buttelmann and his colleagues did yet another version. First, the babies heard the experimenter speak the same language they did or a different one. Then the experimenter tapped her head on the box. When she had spoken the same language, the babies were more likely to tap the box with their foreheads; when she spoke a different language they were more likely to use their hands.
In other words, babies don’t copy mindlessly — they take note of who you are and why you act.
Children will also use what they see to figure out intelligent new actions, like putting peas in a soufflé. For example, in our lab, Daphna Buchsbaum, some colleagues and I showed 4-year-olds a toy with lots of different handles and tabs. A grown-up said, “Hmm I wonder how this toy works” and performed nine complicated series of actions, like pulling one of the handles, shaking a tab and turning the toy over. Sometimes the toy played music and sometimes it didn’t.
The actions followed a pattern: Some of them were necessary to make the machine go and some were superfluous. For example, the children might see that the toy lit up only when the experimenter shook the tab and turned over the toy, no matter what else she did.
Then she asked the child to make the music play. The children analyzed the pattern of events, figured out which actions actually made the toy go, and immediately produced just those actions. They would just pull the tab and turn over the toy. They used their observations to create an intelligent new solution to the problem.
We take it for granted that young children “get into everything.” But new studies of “active learning” show that when children play with toys they are acting a lot like scientists doing experiments. Preschoolers prefer to play with the toys that will teach them the most, and they play with those toys in just the way that will give them the most information about how the world works.
In one recent experiment, for example, Aimee E. Stahl and Lisa Feigenson of Johns Hopkins showed 11-month-old babies a sort of magic trick. Either a ball appeared to pass through a solid wall, or a toy car appeared to roll off the end of a shelf and remain suspended in thin air. The babies apparently knew enough about everyday physics to be surprised by these strange events and paid a lot of attention to them.
Then the researchers gave the babies toys to play with. The babies who had seen the ball vanish through the wall banged it; those who’d seen the car hovering in thin air kept dropping it. It was as if they were testing to see if the ball really was solid, or if the toy car really did defy gravity.
It’s not just that young children don’t need to be taught in order to learn. In fact, studies show that explicit instruction, the sort of teaching that goes with school and “parenting,” can be limiting. When children think they are being taught, they are much more likely to simply reproduce what the adult does, instead of creating something new.
My lab tried a different version of the experiment with the complicated toy. This time, though, the experimenter acted like a teacher. She said, “I’m going to show you how my toy works,” instead of “I wonder how this toy works.” The children imitated exactly what she did, and didn’t come up with their own solutions.
The children seem to work out, quite rationally, that if a teacher shows them one particular way to do something, that must be the right technique, and there’s no point in trying something new. But as a result, the kind of teaching that comes with schools and “parenting” pushes children toward imitation and away from innovation.
There is a deep irony here. Parents and policy makers care about teaching because they recognize that learning is increasingly important in an information age. But the new information economy, as opposed to the older industrial one, demands more innovation and less imitation, more creativity and less conformity.
In fact, children’s naturally evolved learning techniques are better suited to that sort of challenge than the teaching methods of the past two centuries.
New research tells us scientifically what most preschool teachers have always known intuitively. If we want to encourage learning, innovation and creativity we should love our young children, take care of them, talk to them, let them play and let them watch what we do as we go about our everyday lives.
We don’t have to make children learn, we just have to let them learn.

Alison Gopnik is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of the forthcoming “The Gardener and the Carpenter: What the New Science of Child Development Tells Us About the Relationship Between Parents and Children,” from which this essay was adapted.

David Brooks: The Democrats Win the Summer

PHILADELPHIA — Donald Trump has found an ingenious way to save the Democratic Party. Basically, he’s abandoned the great patriotic themes that used to fire up the G.O.P. and he’s allowed the Democrats to seize that ground. If you visited the two conventions this year you would have come away thinking that the Democrats are the more patriotic of the two parties — and the more culturally conservative.
Trump has abandoned the Judeo-Christian aspirations that have always represented America’s highest moral ideals: toward love, charity, humility, goodness, faith, temperance and gentleness.
He left the ground open for Joe Biden to remind us that decent people don’t enjoy firing other human beings.
Trump has abandoned the basic modesty code that has always ennobled the American middle class: Don’t brag, don’t let your life be defined by gilded luxuries.
He left the ground open for the Democrats to seize middle-class values with one quick passage in a Tim Kaine video — about a guy who goes to the same church where he was married, who taught carpentry as a Christian missionary in Honduras, who has lived in the same house for the last 24 years.
Trump has also abandoned the American ideal of popular self-rule.
He left the ground open for Barack Obama to remind us that our founders wanted active engaged citizens, not a government run by a solipsistic and self-appointed savior who wants everything his way.
Trump has abandoned the deep and pervasive optimism that has always energized the American nation.
He left the ground open for Michelle Obama to embrace the underlying chorus of hope that runs through the American story: that our national history is an arc toward justice; that evil rises for a day but contains the seeds of its own destruction; that beneath the vicissitudes that darken our days, we live in an orderly cosmos governed by love.
For decades the Republican Party has embraced America’s open, future- oriented nationalism. But when you nominate a Silvio Berlusconi you give up a piece of that. When you nominate a blood-and-soil nationalist you’re no longer speaking in the voice of Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and every Republican nominee from Reagan to McCain to Romney.
Democrats have often been ambivalent about that ardent nationalistic voice, but this week they were happy to accept Trump’s unintentional gift. There were an unusually high number of great speeches at the Democratic convention this year: the Obamas, Biden, Booker, Clinton, the Mothers of the Movement and so on.
These speakers found their eloquence in staving off this demagogue. They effectively separated Trump from America. They separated him from conservatism. They made full use of the deep nationalist chords that touch American hearts.
Trump has allowed the Democrats to mask their deep problems. A Democratic administration has presided over a time of growing world chaos, growing violence and growing anger. But the Democrats seem positively organized and orderly compared to Candidate Chaos on the other side.
The Sanders people have 90 percent of the Democratic Party’s passion and 95 percent of the ideas. Most Sanders people are kind- and open-hearted, but there is a core that is corrupted by moral preening, an uncompromising absolutism and a paranoid unwillingness to play by the rules of civic life.
But the extremist fringe that threatens to take over the Democratic Party seems less menacing than the lunatic fringe that has already taken over the Republican one.
This week I left the arena here each night burning with indignation at Mike Pence. I almost don’t blame Trump. He is a morally untethered, spiritually vacuous man who appears haunted by multiple personality disorders. It is the “sane” and “reasonable” Republicans who deserve the shame — the ones who stood silently by, or worse, while Donald Trump gave away their party’s sacred inheritance.
The Democrats had by far the better of the conventions. But the final and shocking possibility is this: In immediate political terms it may not make a difference.
The Democratic speakers hit doubles, triples and home runs. But the normal rules may no longer apply. The Democrats may have just dominated a game we are no longer playing.
Both conventions featured one grieving parent after another. The fear of violent death is on everybody’s mind — from ISIS, cops, lone sociopaths. The essential contract of society — that if you behave responsibly things will work out — has been severed for many people.
It could be that in this moment of fear, cynicism, anxiety and extreme pessimism, many voters may have decided that civility is a surrender to a rigged system, that optimism is the opiate of the idiots and that humility and gentleness are simply surrendering to the butchers of ISIS. If that’s the case then the throes of a completely new birth are upon us and Trump is a man from the future.
If that’s true it’s not just politics that has changed, but the country.

David Brooks is a columnist for the New York Times.

Poof Tardiff: 1898 III

Hello fellow Berlinites. On Saturday April 30, 1898, the police and a few of our Councilman made a raid on some of the houses of ill fame that were situated in our neighboring towns. What law gave them the right to do this is unknown to me, but the force was divided into two parties and a strict search was made.

Councilman Clarke, Sheriff Wheeler and Officers Morin and McHale visited the George Avery Place, known as the “Log Cabin” and invaded it. They arrested the proprietor, one man and one girl, who were brought to Berlin and lodged in the lockup, where they remained until Monday, May 2. They were then arraigned before Judge Rich and fined $10 and costs each. The proprietor was bound over for appearance and court.

The other party consisted of Councilman Beattie, City Marshall Wilson, Officer Christianson and J. B. Noyes, who visited a place just above the Milan line on the West Milan Road, run by Paul Bushare. The proprietor was in bed, two girls were found in the house, but no fellows and no liquor were found. The local officials back then were determined that dens like this would be broken up and would get rid of them as fast as evidence could be obtained.

Advertisements were pretty interesting in the local papers back almost 120 years ago. One of these was about Hood's Sarsaparilla. It was the finest spring and family medicine to be had. This stuff was a blood purifier and cured scrofula, dyspepsia, rheumatism, catarrh, that that tired feeling and loss of appetite. It was also known to make strong nerves, good digestion, robust health, and refreshing sleep.

One man had been bothered by headaches while working and had to go home. He had a loss of sleep, was tired all the time and got up weak in the morning. He then decided to take Hood's Sarsaparilla and felt better after only three doses. He kept on taking it and could do a day's work and come home feeling well and always hungry.

He also gave Hood's Sarsaparilla to his youngest child, who was weak, languid and losing his flesh. There was soon a marked change in the young lad. He ate better, slept well and in a little while was like a new boy. The youngster continued to rule and became lively as a cracker, with the neighbors saying he could now talk more than anyone around. This stuff was called a true blood purifier and it also came in pill form. This was a major and profitable industry out of Lowell, Massachusetts. Where is this substance when we need it today?

Another accident took place in this city and the body was found among the logs in the Berlin Mills section. The remains of an unknown man were discovered in the logs near the boathouse above Berlin Mills by a man named Frank Paine, as he was returning from work.

Shortly after six o'clock on Wednesday evening May 25, authorities were notified of the finding and removed the body to the undertaking rooms of Twitchell and Holt on Mason Street for identification. City Marshall Wilson had charge of the identification process.

When the man was found, it was impossible to tell who the unfortunate fellow was as the body was badly decomposed and there was nothing in his pockets to furnish any clue as to his identity. Events like this happened fairly often back in Berlin's early days. It was thought that the remains were that of Charlie Walker of West Milan, a river driver who was drowned above Umbagog Lake, about three weeks previous and whose body had not been found.

This theory, while slightly possible, was highly improbable, as the distance was a long one in which the body would have had to travel through some close channels, thus disfiguring it more than it was. The remains were reviewed by several parties from West Milan who were acquainted with Mr. Walker, but no definite conclusion was made. It was then turned over to Mr. St. Laurent, the undertaker, for a proper burial. Many unknowns were given a proper burial back then, as people came here to work from all over the world and had no identification on them when found.

One of the worst smash-ups that had ever occurred in the International Paper Mill of this city happened at Mill Number Four at about 8 p.m. on Sunday, May 15, 1898. This was when a large flywheel to one of their engines burst, causing considerable damage, but no loss of life.

This large 200 horsepower engine operated a 10 foot diameter flywheel which turned about 90 revolutions per minute when running a paper machine and large dynamo. It ruptured without warning and a large crash filled the room with debris and flying nuts. Several other pieces went through the roof inside of the building.

Two other large pieces of this wheel, a spoke and a large rim, weighing around 900 pounds tore through a wall and a window. One portion of the wall went across the Androscoggin River, through the basement of Tucker's stable, tore a hole in the building and demolished the woodwork. It also killed a horse that belong to Mr. Phil Lepage.

Several people who saw the pieces of this flying rack said they went as high as the mill smokestack. It was a wonder that no one was killed outright by the flying debris that resembled a war zone, as many men were working in close proximity to this accident.

May 30, 1898, brought the sudden death of another one of Berlin's well-known and highly respected citizens. His name was John Wilson. Wilson who lived in the Berlin Mills section of the city had gone to Portland, Maine to submit to a surgical procedure which was very productive. Even though the operation was a success, Wilson developed blood poisoning, which led to his demise.

Mr. Wilson was born in Moscow, Maine in 1833 and traveled about the country until he was just 22 years old. On his return from Maine to head West, John stopped in Berlin to call on friends that he knew and was asked by Mr. H. H. Winslow of the newly formed sawmill in town to work for him. He took this job and remained here thereafter.

He was one of the founders and charter members of the Congregational Church on Upper Main Street and had been fitted the position as Deacon with greater acceptance for over nearly 20 years. He was a strong and active temperance worker and was always found willing and ready to promote its interests in every way possible. Being a man of kindly and charitable nature, Wilson was often found administering to the ones of those who were needy and in distress.

The funeral services occurred at the Congregational Church and burial was in the local city cemetery. Mr. Wilson was one of seven brothers, was married and had five children, with only two of them and his wife left to mourn his loss. He was only 55 years old.

I will continue with the history of this city in the year 1898 next week.

Poof Tardiff writes a weekly column for the Berlin Daily Sun. Questions or comments, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Also, join the many fans of “Once upon a Berlin Time” on Facebook and guess at the many weekly mystery pictures that have been posted.


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Ithaca Bound: Thank you, Rose

The passing away of Rose Dodge this past Thursday stirred memories of how my association with this newspaper all began. In December of 2000, the first two columns I ever wrote for The Berlin Daily Sun were published. Rose Dodge was the editor of the paper then. Both of the stories I submitted were holiday-oriented, which may be why they were printed.
Newspaper writing was not to me. For a decade before moving to Northern New Hampshire, I had been the music correspondent for the Springfield Daily News in Springfield, Mass. In fact, from the time I had been a young lad in elementary school, I had written stories, essays, scripts, and poetry, much of which had had public performance.
A regular flow of articles began appearing on Rose’s desk. and all of them were published. I particularly enjoyed writing for this paper because I was not limited as to what I could write, as is still true today. I was not - and am not - limited to a specific subject area. As regular readers of my work know, I have taken advantage of this freedom. There are few areas in which I have not spoken my thoughts and ideas. Thoughts and ideas are what writing is all about.
A writer expects there will be comments and criticisms of his or her work. As long as these comments and criticisms are given thoughtfully and respectfully, they are welcome. No one is above respectful and thoughtful disagreement. That is one way in which one can grow and learn.
Writing is lifelong learning. The two books that have most influenced my own writing are William Zinsser’a “Writing to Learn” and the same author’s “On Writing Well.” Both have been read and re-read many times. The subtitle of Zinsser's “Writing to Learn” reads “How to Write - and Think - Clearly about Any Subject.” That is the responsibility of any worthwhile writer.
Do your homework. Do as much research as time will allow. And then express your conclusions as clearly and concisely as possible. That is what I have been trying to do for these past sixteen years. I take pride in much of what I have written. Other pieces I wish did not have my name on them. That is the lot of the writer.
Regardless, thank you, Rose, for giving me the platform of opportunity. Sleep well.
Ithaca Bound writes a weekly column for The Berlin Daily Sun. Ithaca Bound is the pen name of Dick Conway. His email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..