Poof Tardiff: 1903

Hello fellow Berlinites. I have a few stories about the year 1903 that I wrote over 15 years ago, but never covered it like I have all of the other years. Therefore, I will try to relate all of the important events and tales that helped make this year’s history for the city of Berlin 114 years ago.

Of course, when I am in this year, I do have two local papers to use, but they do not differ much in their news and facts. They do differ at times in their editorials.

By January 1, 1903, the word was out that Berlin might get a public library, if the City Council saw fit to accept the offer. The following letter had been sent to Mr. A. I. Lawrence Esq. of Berlin on Dec. 27, 1902: "Dear Sir, responding to your letter on behalf of Berlin, New Hampshire. If the city agrees by resolutions of consults to maintain a free public library at cost of not less than $1,500 per year and provide a suitable site for the building, Mr. Carnegie will be glad to furnish $15,000 to erect a free public library building for Berlin. It was then signed by Andrew Carnegie’s secretary Mr. James Bertram."

It was almost unanimous among the men and woman in Berlin to accept the gift from Mr. Carnegie. People though, were wondering what the conditions were so that this library could be built and it was slowing the process of this matter. If there were strings attached, maybe the city of Berlin would not go along with Mr. Carnegie.

The letter that finally got the approval from the city fathers arrived and stated that there were no strings to his offer of $15,000 to the city for a public library building. Even with this, the city thought of putting this issue on the ballot, and this did not please Carnegie, as the city might have thought he was pulling something on them. By the end of 1903 though, we did have a public library and it still stands on the same spot today, 114 years later.

A curious and interesting document that showed how things had changed from 1861 to 1903 in Berlin was posted as a headliner in a January 1903 paper. This strange and interesting document was in the possession of Mr. Dean Paine of this city. It was given to is father by one of the town’s “old timers” and was an accurate map or plan made up of Berlin in 1861 from a survey made at that time, showing the location of every building standing here back then.

While 1861 was not that long ago in the year 1903, many of Berlin citizens were not here back then, as it was mostly the pioneers. If they were here, they were considerably crowded, as the actual count showed 21 buildings total in town.

Six of these buildings were on Main Street, one was a bowling alley near the Glen Mill, one was a saloon and billiard room and one was a hotel. Where Badger Realty is today, the Androscoggin covered the land and the “Heights” where Upper Hillside Avenue is today was nothing but wilderness. Nothing could better illustrate the great strides that Berlin had made during one half a century back then.

Before the advent of the automobile in Berlin, with over 10,000 citizens roaming around the streets, accidents still took place. During this time though, it was with horses and buggies in the summer months, or sleighs in the winter.

An early January paper had two painfully serious accidents that occurred on Berlin streets and one was blamed on criminal carelessness on the part of the driver of a pair of horses.

Saturday morning, Jan. 4, 1903, Miss Mary Marshall left her room in the Clement Block on Main Street to go to her work in the shoe factory on Green Street. She went by way of Mason Street and the new Pleasant Street extension, which was being built to Green Street.

According to Miss Marshall’s statement, she was at the extreme right of the road and just about opposite the Gerrish Block (back of old Woolworth’s), when she heard a team approaching rapidly behind her. She could not move over any further and was struck from behind and finally thrown to the ground as to render her unconscious.

Besides the injury to her back and side, her face was frightfully lacerated, presumably by one of the horses trampling upon it. She was then picked up and brought to a nearby house where medical attention was summoned, and at this time, was made as comfortable as possible under the circumstances.

It was ascertained that no bones were broken and provided that she had no internal injuries, she would recover, save for the disfigurement of her face. It was understood that the lady had retained counsel and would sue to recover damages for injuries. She would also claim that in addition to the criminal carelessness of the driver, he had no bells attached to his sleigh, which was a law back then.

The other accident, while more serious in its results, was not due to any personal fault or carelessness. Dr. McCabe and Dr. Pulsifer were driving down what is now called Exchange Street from the Grand Trunk Railroad station with McCabe’s team, on the same morning mentioned earlier. When they reached Post Office Square, the horses became frightened by an electric car and broke into a run up Main Street, in spite of the efforts of the men in the sleigh to check them.

Main Street was crowded both with teams and people and several collisions were narrowly averted. In front of the American Express office on Lower Main Street, a team stood near the curb and another was coming on the trolley track next to it. Dr. McCabe made a successful effort to guide his turn out between these two and as he did so, Harold McGowan, employed in the American Express office, stepped from behind the team near the curb and tried to cross the street right in front of the runaway.

The flying hooves of the horse struck him with great force in the side and chest, breaking several of his ribs and causing a most serious injury, as was found afterward. His lungs were ruptured, causing an internal hemmerage that was feared could prove fatal.

Mr. McGowan was taken to his home on Green Street and all medical aid could do was done to help him. My research shows that he did survive.

While this accident was in no way due to carelessness, is still served to illustrate the extreme danger of fast driving on Main Street and to warn people that they must be cautious when crossing a main thoroughfare or any other street.

I will continue with the year 1903 in my next writing.

Poof Tardiff writes a weekly column for the Berlin 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 previously posted weekly mystery pictures.

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Poof Tardiff: POWs of Stark

Hello fellow Berlinites. From what I have researched, the first trainload of German prisoners of war came to the Percy, N.H., railroad station in the Spring of 1944. They were then brought to the small village of Stark, where it was that a camp had been built for these war prisoners.

Two months later, a reporter went to this place to observe its population. Never having been in the vicinity of a prisoner of war camp and being devoid of knowledge concerning such a wartime necessity, he brought pen and paper.

Poof Tardiff: Exploring the history of Mount Jasper

Hello, fellow Berlinites. Many people who come to the Berlin area for the first time in their lives are taken aback by the mountains that surround this Upper Androscoggin Valley city. Not only that, they can’t believe the amount of hills that we have.
Cates Hill, Enman Hill, Mount Forist, Jericho Mountain, Mount Carberry and Mount Jasper are some of the high points of interest that surround this city. These smaller rises are then surrounded by larger ones such as a Presidential Range of the White Mountains, the Kilkenny Range out toward Route 110 and the Mahoosic Range on our Maine border.
Our Native Americans were probably all over these mountains at one time or another gathering supplies, hunting and fishing, but our most famous mountain for these earliest inhabitants was the one down the street from me and where I spent many days of my childhood roaming. It is called Mount Jasper.
The cave on the side of this mountain was always the object of our climb and we spent many hours playing in it, on top of it, below it and around it. We called it the old “Indian Cave” and we knew that at one time it had something to do with these archaic natives. We did not know, however, the whole story, and in the last 40 years there have been many answers to why it is here.
There were a couple of tribes of Native Americans that were mentioned as being in this area. They were the Penobscot, who had possession of all the country watered by the Penobscot, Kennebago and Androscoggin rivers. There was also another tribe called the St. Francis who lived in Canada and were friendly with the Penobscot.
The St. Francis tribe’s great thoroughfare was here on the Androscoggin River, and their camping places whenever possible were located on its islands. Often, the curiosity seeker would find many things that richly rewarded their search on these islands. Maybe they were not very valuable as far as dollars and cents were concerned, but valuable relics, such as spear points, arrowheads tomahawks and even bullets after the white man arrived were found.
Now these arrowheads and other things were made of what was then called Jasper (rhyolite today). This stone was very hard, and most of these old camping places had some, which were evidently chipped from larger pieces.
It had been a source of wonder where these natives had obtained this stone. This was settled in the year 1859, when William Sanborn found that what then became locally known as Jasper Cave on Cave Mountain. Mr. Sanborrn was a great outdoors-man, hunter and fisherman. It was said that he knew this area like the back of his hand. Certainly this is why the name was changed form Cave Mountain to Mount Jasper.
When Sanborn found and went inside this cave, he was convinced that this was where the natives mined for their weapons and equipment, some of which have been found four hundred miles away, many years ago.
Mr. Sanborn was the original owner of the Sanborn Place, where the Body Line is today in Berlin on Route 16. At one time in 1857, Sanborn lived on the old Murray Place on Upper Main Street. This was almost opposite where Bean Brook enters the Androscoggin River.
When it was first discovered by white man, the cave was about 14 feet long, 9 feet high and 6 feet wide. In all probability this entire cave was made by early Native Americans to obtain material for the purpose previously mentioned. There was no place on the three rivers previously referenced that had this special material.
It was in 1978 that an archaeologist named Richard Gramley decided to undertake a thorough excavation of what he called a mine and related sites on Mount Jasper and the valley below. This was to start in the spring of 1979.
In November of 1978, Gramley sought permission from the city of Berlin on behalf of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at Harvard University to do some excavations. The city of Berlin held the title to this mountain and gave this man the OK.
Gramley found out through library research that archaeologists had come to this area in 1882 and 1961, but a thorough investigation did not take place. His excavation would be exhaustive.
Gramley’s findings in the 1979 survey put Mount Jasper on the map as a famous spot. The earliest inhabitants of the White Mountains were hunters who knew nothing about raising crops, making pottery, or using metal.
Several hundred years after the ice sheets retreated from what now is New England and 11,000 years ago, small bands of native hunters camped periodically in their favorite places along the headwaters of the Androscoggin River.
They left evidence of their presence in the form of skillfully made flaked tools of chert (flint). As sources of chert were rare in Northern New England and not accessible, hunters constantly searched for other stones in good supply that could be substituted for chert
Mount Jasper and it’s outcrops of excellent raw material for making flaked tools passed unnoticed until about 7,000 years ago or 4,000 years after the Native American’s pioneering exploration of the North Country.
The stone sought back then on Mount Jasper is called rhyolite, a variety of igneous rock. It outcrops as thin seam or dikes in metamorphic rocks perched nearly 400 feet above the Androscoggin River Valley.
This seam is inconspicuous and archaeologist Gramley believed that it might have been discovered accidentally. Once the natives found it, the location was never forgot until the white man brought firearms and iron tools, to replace the stone weapons of the Native Americans.
In its heyday, of Indian mining, Mount Jasper was visited regularly by the early inhabitants of this area, at least every two years and perhaps every season.
How did this igneous rock help our native Americans? Well, first and foremost they lived off the animals and fish that existed in this area and they grew very little crops. The rhyolite on Mount Jasper is tough and would fracture yielding a tough edge. With this tough edge, they were able to make such stone implements as knives, scrapers, drills and projectile points.
Being curious about this stone, I asked a geologist that I had met one day why it was sought of so many years ago by the local Native Americans. He told me that if I had a piece of rhyolite in my hands and snapped it into two pieces, the edges would be very, very sharp. That is why it was used to hunt or fish and for many other things.
Let us put it this way: Our Indians were great hunters, but I do not think that they could catch a trout by hand or outrun a deer. Getting your hands on a running or flying roughed grouse is also impossible. Once they found Mount Jasper, their lives must have changed with the use of better weapons.
There was no evidence that the earliest Americans remained for long periods of time on Mount Jasper. There were at the site only a few days and as soon as fresh tools had been manufactured, these hunters departed for their camps to the North along the Upper Androsscoggin River and mountain lakes. They moved on foot or by canoe, carrying only enough rhyolite to meet their immediate needs.
There are a lot more facts about this stone that people can find. On that point, we now have a great trail to the top of Mount Jasper and some artifacts on display at the public library here in Berlin. The hike takes about 25 minutes. If people talk about local mountains, tell them that Mount Jasper is the most historical in this area and is accessible to almost everybody.
Poof Tardiff writes a weekly column for The Berlin Sun. Questions or comments e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Also, join the many fans of the “Once Upon a Berlin Time” on Facebook and guess at the previously posted weekly mystery pictures.
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Evaluating non-profit organizations

By Kathleen Kelly

There are over 1.5 million nonprofit organizations in the United States and almost 8,000 in New Hampshire. One in eight people in New Hampshire works for a nonprofit. Nonprofits in New Hampshire represent 14 percent of the gross domestic product. There are 5.76 nonprofits per person in New Hampshire. 31.7 percent of New Hampshire residents volunteer for a nonprofit on the board or providing services to clients, or fund raise. Four out of five households in New Hampshire financially support nonprofits.

When I have a great idea for a nonprofit, I go to CharityNavigator.org, which rates nonprofits in different ways, and GuideStar.org, which features information, including tax returns of nonprofits. There I usually find 10-20 nonprofits within 100 miles doing something similar to my great idea! Then I call them or email them a few questions about their mission and clients they serve, read their Facebook page, their blog, their newsletters, their Tweets, and determine who has served on their board. Most often I know someone who works there or volunteers there, willing to talk about their organization.

If I feel they are doing great work, I might even suggest the idea I have or consider being a part of the board or volunteering for them or contributing in-kind services. I might even donate to their cause. But I do not rush out to start a new nonprofit. You may ask, “why?

I am a fundraising coach, a grant writer and a retired CPA with nonprofit accounting experience. There are a few things that people do not know about nonprofits:

1. They must figure out a way to be sustainable within three to five years of operation.

2. They must connect donors, government organizations and/or corporations to a defined mission.

3. They must research and follow best practices in nonprofit management as well as the problem they are trying to solve.

4. A board of directors with term limits, policies, bylaws, and procedures is a must. The board will develop a strategic plan including goals and strategies for the organization.

5. Granting agencies are not interested in funding operations/administration. They are interested in programs. The granting agency requires the nonprofit to develop a sustainability model within three to five years or less. They will require documentation that the organization did what it said it would and that they achieved the outcomes outlined in the grant.

6. The nonprofit needs to register and then annually report in every state in which it will be doing fundraising, meet unique auditing and reporting requirements and pay fees.

7. Records management and retention are critical if you are managing confidential material, supervising employees, managing reimbursement for services to clients.

8. The nonprofits must annually evaluate not only employees but also volunteers.

9. In today’s world, the executive director of the nonprofit must also be a branding, communications, database and social media specialist.

10. States like Connecticut, Illinois and New Jersey are not paying for services provided by nonprofits or are paying very late, so the nonprofit needs to have much more cash on hand than they expect.

If a nonprofit in New Hampshire needs operating support, I always suggest they try the New Hampshire Center for Nonprofits, the Association of Fundraising Professionals — Northern New England or the New Hampshire Charitable Fund. I can list more nonprofits in Northern New England providing valuable support. If you want to communicate with me, send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Kathleen Kelly, certified fund-raising executive, is a fundraising coach, a grant writer and a retired CPA with nonprofit accounting experience. She lives in Randolph.


Poof Tardiff: 1978 X

Hello fellow Berlinites. In November of 1978, there were about 230 parking meters in downtown Berlin. Local citizens had backed into them with their cars, bumped into them with their bodies and devoted much of their shopping efforts to keeping them well fed with coins.

Now, in late 1978, the Downtown Revitalization Committee was fighting to get them removed, if they got the approval of the City Council. Committee members voted to recommend removal of the meters at a meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 1978. They had directed Jeff Taylor of the development staff to meet with the Chamber of Commerce and downtown merchants to gain more support.

Other recommendations were made by the members of the community development department. One was for a two-level parking deck on the site of the old Buber Block on Main Street, between the Princess Theater and Smith and Town. This would provide additional 60 off-street parking spaces and be a supplement for the projected hotel-motel-restaurant complex that was going to be built at the southern end of Green Square. Of course, the complex did not happen.

Also endorsed was the closing of Bickford Lane to car traffic, which was one away from Main to Pleasant Street. Everything that was recommended was done to give downtown Berlin an entirely new look.

Just under one month later, the headlines read “Meter Fees Suspended.” People could put away their pennies and nickels, because, effective immediately all parking meter fees in Berlin were temporarily canceled.

The police department was advised by the city council not to collect parking meter fees and to dispense with enforcing the parking meter laws until Feb. 12, 1979. This decision came in response to a request by the city’s downtown merchants for removal of the parking meters. Sixty-three of the 70 merchants polled voted in favor of their removal.

The merchant’s arguments were that: 1. They were unattractive. 2. Some did not work. 3. It would be easier to plow sidewalks and streets without them. 4. The revenue from the meters was negligible. 5. It would give the merchants a more competitive position with nearby shopping centers. 6. They did not contribute to the turnover of traffic.

The final decision and not been made at this time, and the city council opted for a two-month trial period to determine whether or not the downtown merchants' claims were valid.

By Nov. 22, 1978, forensic experts and state police were still trying to find out the identity of the skeleton found in Pinkham Notch during September. State police officer Robert Lovin said that his department did not have much to go on. About all that they had determined was that the skeleton was definitely that of a male in his early to mid 20s.

From the condition of the bones, forensic experts believed that the skeleton had been in the notch since 1972. Experts were unable to determine the cause of the death either. Lovin said that the department had one missing person report from out of state and that they had to check it out. If this account fell through, the department would then be releasing information to the public, in hopes that someone could provide a clue to the skeleton’s identity.

The skeleton was found on the “Square Ledge Trail” in Pinkham Notch by two hikers. After reporting it to the Appalachian Mountain Club, the state police took over the job of finding its identity. The remains were taken to Concord and later transferred to a Boston lab.

Listed in the local papers on Dec. 6, 1978 was a short story of one of the city’s great heroes, Michael Durant, who was shot down in a helicopter while fighting in Somalia in the early 1990s. After six days of being a POW, Michael was released by the warlords. The book "Black Hawk Down" was written about the incident by journalist Mark Bowdin.

In the paper was a picture of Durant that said “Delayed entry enlistment” and that he was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Leon Durant of 400 Madison Ave. in Berlin and had enlisted in the U.S. Army under the delayed entry program.

Mike, who was a senior at Berlin High School, graduated in 1979 and left for basic training at Fort Leonard Wood Missouri on Aug. 30 of that same year. After basic training, Durant was going to report to the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif., where he would receive training as an electronic warfare signal intelligence interceptor.

He was then to report to the Goodfellow AFB in San Antonio, Texas, where he would receive his skills training and ultimately be assigned to an electronic warfare cryptology unit. Mike’s status must have changed during his Army career, as he was the pilot of a Black Hawk helicopter that was shot down and survived the crash and the beatings that he received at hands of his Somalian captives.

Mike is the nephew of my great friend Sam Paquette, who passed away in June of 2015. Mr. Durant’s story made the headlines of all the major newspapers, television networks and magazines in this country. He finally did return to Berlin for a great hero's welcome.

Finally, for this week’s story of 1978, City Manager James Smith put in his resignation. After five years of service to the community of Berlin, Smith felt that he no longer had the support of the city council necessary to effectively pursue this city’s business.

He could, therefore, see no other alternative than to resign the position of city manager of the city of Berlin. His resignation became effect of on Dec. 31, 1978.

His resignation and its reasons for this, were presented in a three-page letter to the city council on Monday night Nov. 13, 1978. Smith’s major contention was that the city council members had lost sight of the overall objectives of the city’s revitalization and development projects.

Rather than looking at the overall picture, Smith claimed that the council had bogged down in the details of the smaller projects that made up larger and more important revitalization programs.

He referred to the lengthy debate on the location of today’s (2017) James Cleveland Bridge as an example. He also said that if the city spent as much time on other projects as it did on this bridge, it would never see the completion of the revitalization effort.

Mr. Smith went on and on about the failure that he had with the City Council and after the work session, summed up his feelings about his resignation. “I am happy with where we have gone, but not so much where we are going.” He truly wished Berlin well.

With this resignation, Community Development Director Michael Donovan became Berlin’s newest city manager on Jan. 1, 1979.

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 posted weekly mystery pictures.

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