Hello fellow Berlinites. The contract for another new school building at Eighth and Main streets in Berlin was awarded to Robert Snodgrass in October of 1913. Snodgrass was well and favorably known in the North Country as a successful and superior contractor and builder.
The school buildings in Gorham and Groveton back then had attested to his ability in this particular branch of architecture. The contract for the brick work was sublet to Rowell and Houston; who were also local contractors. Work on this building was started as soon as the written agreement was completed.
It was gratifying to Berlin, as well as the contractors, to know that we had men right at home that were competent to erect such structures as were now (1913) in demand for the education of the rising generation.
The new school house would occupy grounds comprising, with the exception of one building lot, an entire city square and would be a noteworthy addition to the number of our really magnificent school buildings back then. They were: the High School on Hillside Avenue, St. Regis Academy on Main Street, St. Patrick's School on the corner of Emery Street and Madison Avenue, Burgess School, on School Street, Cole School on Mason Street and Marston School on Willard street.
In November of 1913, the cross that had surmounted St. Anne's Church was replaced by a new one made of aluminum. The new cross was cast by the Berlin Foundry and Machine Company and was of the ultimate perfection of the foundry's art.
Before the contract was given to this work, a large number of foundries were given an opportunity to bid on the agreement, but finally it was awarded to this Berlin company, as it was the only concern that would give sufficient assurance of ability to carry out the requirements.
The new cross was nine feet and seven inches in height and would be a prominent feature in the local landscape. The Berlin Foundry and Machine Shop by achievement of their perfect work back then, added to their already high reputation for top grade products at their plant. I wonder if that is the same cross that stands today (2016)?
The position of superintendent of schools that was made vacant by the resignation of Mr. Witcher was filled in November of 1913 by the appointment of Mr. Harry L. Moore of Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. Mr. Moore served until September of 1921.
At 6:30 Thursday evening November 18, 1913, the city of Berlin officially opened the new contagious hospital with ceremonies well calculated to demonstrate the efficiency of this institution. This new building, which was also called the “Pest House” was in itself a complete hotel and was provided with every requirement for the welfare of those who were unfortunate as to need the services of its attendants.
There were reception rooms, a dining room, kitchen, two store rooms, five ward rooms and two fumigating rooms. For the purpose that it was erected, it was not surpassed in the North Country. This building was located in Jericho section of Berlin near where today's “Crabby Patty's” fish store now stands.
A December 25th issue of the local paper had a headline that said: “Winter Sports in Berlin”. With the available facilities for winter sports, it would be possible to have an ice carnival here. This was almost eight years before the huge winter carnivals that attracted thousands of visitors were started.
During the advent of winter, Berlin was in the forefront when it came to winter sports. As for indoor sports, this city had long held the highest position in basketball, the favorite game of the season back then. In outdoor pastimes our ski jumpers maintained the reputation of the city for sports and athletes.
It was said that Berlin had the advantage of most towns in an almost perfect park for skiing and there was a sufficient mixture of blood from the native home of this sport to produce phenomenally great jumpers.
By 1913, Berlin had entertained clubs and teams from other cities during past winters and had the prizes and hardware won by local talent. It was also hoped to see visiting teams in Berlin during the 1913-1914 winter and they would extend all possible courtesies to them as guests. They would also be pleased to impress upon them the superiority of the Berlin boys as top performers in this branch of sport-ski jumping.
With the available facilities for winter sports, it would not be impossible to have an ice carnival here. Along with the ski park, the opportunities were excellent for skating and snowshoeing, along with horse racing on the ice. A place could be found where the ponies cold show their speed. This was done in two places that I know of, the Bog just below Mount Jasper, and on the Androscoggin River, just above the walking bridge.
The merchants, businessmen, board of trade and other organizations interested in the advancement of the welfare of the city were asked to take into consideration a project of this kind, as one calculated to benefit the city from a business point of view.
Every enterprise that brought into this city a large concourse of visitors, would have been advantageous to the city and it was difficult to say just anything better calculated to attract the public from near and far than an ice carnival.
With the ski park and ski jumping as a central feature, it would not have been difficult back then to develop sufficient enthusiasm as to get a carnival going and once started, the idea would develop into one of the regularly recognized establishments of this city, increasing in popularity with each recurring season.
This great dream did develop and after 1921 was a growing event every year for over 50 years. Thousands and thousands of people came here by cars and trains to enjoy our great winter carnivals.
Finally, the new Brown Schoolhouse which replaced the one on the corner of Main and Fourth Street was completed. It stood on the corner of Seventh and Norweigian Street (Norway) and was a notable addition to the public buildings of this city by January 1, 1914.
In this line of architecture, contractor Snodgrass had established an enviable reputation and in the building he had just completed, he broke all records for swiftness in the construction business. Ground was broken for the new school house on October 24, 1913 and the exterior was completed on December 24, just two months later.
Berlin had always been liberal in the matter of school accommodations and the latest addition was built on the most modern lines, in every aspect and up-to-date. The city, the school board and the contractors took great pride in this new building.
I will finish with the year 1913 in my next story.