Poof Tardiff: Odds and Ends

Hello fellow Berlinites. As I do my history research about the specific years in Berlin, I find some interesting articles about either people, places, or things, in this city. I always save them for further use in a story that I can put together that would interest my readers. One of these was a place that older folks always talked about. It was called “Emma's” Restaurant.

Among the few woman in business back in Berlin's earlier days, the name of Emma Beaudoin stood high on the list. Her success was due to much hard work and concentrated effort, after devoting more than a quarter of a century to learning and practicing the art of candy making.

She was born in a small town in Québec during 1896 and when she was six months old, her parents moved to this city. Emma was educated here in Berlin and graduated from St. Regis Academy. After graduation, she worked for one year at a fruit store.

Following this, Miss Beaudoin entered the employ of Mr. Archie McDonald working at his candy store. Mr. McDonald was referred to as the pioneer in Berlin candy making circles. Emma was employed in the kitchen here as a candy maker.

In 1926, she left Mr. McDonald and opened a store of her own which was called “Emma's” and was located at 169 Main Street, in the vicinity of the now (2016) closed Morin shoe store. She stayed here for ten years and then moved across Mason Street, just below where JC Penney used to be.

Then, late in 1939, the original Morin Block burned and Emma's was one of the unfortunate establishment's which were burned out. In September of 1940, Emma moved her business to a location just below today's Central Fire Station.

During the 40's and 50's, she was well known for many miles around for her delicious candies, all of which were homemade and hand dipped. She also made and sold 24 flavors of ice cream. Emma then branched out gradually from the initial beginning of a small candy store to a very successful restaurant. I can remember how all the folks used to rave about this Berlin restaurant when I was a kid.

During my research of 1947, I found the story of Alphonse Michaud. “Mich”, as he was called like to talk about the good old days when Berlin was a one horse town, didn't have sidewalks and played second fiddle to Gorham, where the Grand Trunk car barns were located.

There were two stables on Main Street then, one operated by a man named LePage and the other by a Mr. Tucker. There was also a small sawmill opposite the Stahl Clark store, where Mechanic Street comes into Main Street.

He proudly pointed to the old days when the Berlin Mills Company policy on Thanksgiving Day was to distribute turkeys to its employees with dependents including a three pound can of Kream Krisp, plus two hours off for dinner.

Alphonse Michaud also had the distinction of having been the first and only boy to graduate with girls in the new St. Anne's Church in 1902. He started his schooling in 1892 when St. Regis had its humble beginnings in the former Cascade House, donated to the parish by the Berlin Mills Company.

Mr. Michaud served as Berlin's tax collector from 1924 to 1925, left Berlin for Manchester in 1928 and used to commute to Boston every day for his radio program called “Joe”. This program at WHDH was about stories in Canuck dialect, which created a lot of interest at the time among French speaking groups. I would love to have heard this radio program.

There were a few more interesting stories about this lovable Berlin character, who must be a relative of citizens still living here. Men like him were a great source of local history.

Finally, for 60 years the F. W. Woolworth Company had been making progress in its business and in its trade practices by the 1940's. The Berlin branch of this great business organization was likewise, making progress on the same scale as the entire company.

By 1912, the chain had grown to include 596 stores throughout the country and several years later they were established on Lower Main Street in Berlin. That space is now (2016) occupied by the Northway Bank.

Between 1936 in 1940, Woolworth's had completed 726 construction jobs in 635 cities. 46 stores were opened in cities which never had Woolworth stores before. Berlin was not neglected in Woolworth's attempt to give the best possible service and accommodations to its customers. In 1941, one of the above construction jobs took place in Berlin and renovations took place in the Wagner block (Old Gerrish Block).

On September 12, Manager R. C. Leggett, moved up from Lower Main Street and threw open wide the doors to one of the most modern of the many new Woolworth stores in the entire system. Once opened, many residents came to visit this establishment, availing themselves to the values and pleasant atmosphere that was always present at a Woolworth store.

Among the great features of Berlin's newest business house, one could find: one of the most modern soda fountains and luncheonette's in New England, which contained a 34 foot counter, new tools for customers, as well as the most up-to-date equipment for serving quality meals and soda specialties available.

They also had several new departments, as well as nine thousand square feet of added floor space, which was made available by the new edition in the rear. This made entrance to the building possible from both Main and Pleasant streets.

New fixtures were placed throughout the entire store and a new front was put on the building together with two double door entrances with steel trimmings. These renovations and changes caused much comment in the city's trade circles and in the conversations of the citizens of the city back in the early 1940's.

Woolworth's eventually closed and the building was reconstructed into a Family Dollar. Today, that building is now vacant and the once vibrant store of F. W. Woolworth's is just a memory.

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 weekly mystery pictures that have been posted.

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Pick candidates who will protect Social Security

By Todd C. Fahey
State Director, AARP New Hampshire

Wouldn’t it be great to live in nation where candidates and the media alike discuss and revisit Social Security again, and again, and again ... and again - with the same consistency with which it was/is deducted from our pay during our working years and with the very same certainty with which it is received each month by those who depend upon it. Updating Social Security – to allow it to pay adequate benefits for generations to come – can be accomplished with leadership from our next president and with real support from our next congress. The days are few, the dollars are many and the stakes are high for we citizens of the Granite State.
The challenges facing this most cherished program are well documented. Unless the next President of the United States and next Congress take decisive action, current retirees will face a 25% benefit cut come the year 2034. Put another way, such a cut could mean between $4,000 to $10,000 less in benefits each year for the typical Granite Stater. Those cuts will reverberate throughout the economy. Our state’s beneficiaries would collectively experience a loss of $1.1 billion dollars of income annually. But that’s not all. When that money is spent, it kick starts a chain of economic activity that creates a “multiplier effect” in the economy that equates to $1.9 billion less in economic activity and the potential loss of over 11,000 jobs. And, beyond less money and fewer jobs, we’ll have some tough decisions to make as a result. It’s important to consider some context and realities.
Older Americans will be forced to make hard economic choices with such a loss of income – the average New Hampshire family will lose $4,700 per year forcing choices between cutting food, utilities, and/or healthcare expenses. If Granite Staters are politically frustrated now, imagine how unhappy they will be when they find themselves increasingly hungry, cold and sick (come 2034) because the leaders we elected and trusted to represent us failed to act soon enough to forestall the foreseeable. To be clear, acting now will ensure the needed changes to safeguard the social security program can be done gradually in an economically prudent way, not at the last minute with 2034 looming. Governing by crisis is not acceptable, not with a key component of American financial security.
Updating Social Security is a math problem. And, like any math problem, it is solvable. But like the leaking pipe we ignore, the worn tires we don’t replace, the funny noise in our car or home furnace we don’t investigate, ignoring the problems and symptoms usually does not make for a good outcome. Over time, we all tend pay for our inaction. And as surely as social security gets deducted from our paychecks, this problem will most certainly not go away without action now. This is not child’s play. Americans are aging and generally not saving enough as it is. To be sure, Social Security wasn’t intended to be - nor can it be - all sustaining to those in retirement. But this income is critical to thousands of our friends and neighbors. About 96% of those over 65 in New Hampshire receive it (around 180,000 people) and it’s the only source of income for three out of 10 of us.
The next president should commit to addressing Social Security within the first hundred days of the new administration. Social Security lifts millions out of poverty (about 68,000 in New Hampshire alone) and allows millions more to enjoy life in their golden years. In our working years we rely upon the program’s promise of future income; in our later years, the reliance shifts from expectations to income as we begin receiving benefits earned during our working years. How can this not be a national priority?
We’re very close to electing our next leaders to represent us in Washington. It’s both critical and fair that we expect them to act swiftly – across the aisle and otherwise - to prevent preventable cuts. While we may all be a bit tired of the lack of substance in this election, we’re probably not yet too hungry, too sick or too cold to demand that our leaders address social security. Hopefully, we never see that day in our nation. Solving this problem does start with leadership from out next president and with the support of the four leaders we choose to represent the Granite State, three of whom we will be choosing in a few days. We must ask the candidates these fair questions on Social Security, weigh their answers, and – once in office - hold them accountable so that they act swiftly to safeguard a critical constant of American financial security.

Senator Jeanne Shaheen: Nobody Works Harder than Jeff

Throughout my time as Governor and in the United State Senate, I have gotten to know and appreciate the people and challenges of the North Country. Like many Granite Staters, the North Country is a special place for me and I've always prioritized bringing good-paying jobs to the region and working to improve its economy and services.

It's because of my dedication to the people and businesses of the North Country that I’m writing to offer my support for your District 1 State Senator, Jeff Woodburn.

Having known and worked with Jeff Woodburn for over 30 years, I cannot think of a better fighter for the region. As a native of Whitefield, Jeff has a deep understanding of the way of life in the North Country. As an entrepreneur, reporter, teacher, and child advocate, Jeff knows the challenges that the North Country faces because he’s faced them himself. He's put that experience to good use in Concord delivering results for his constituents.
Throughout his time in the State Senate, Jeff has made improving the economy and bringing new, good-paying jobs to the North Country his top priorities. His focus on making state government work for the people of the North Country is exemplified not only in the legislation he puts forward, but also through his dedication in bringing state officials north so that they can better understand the North Country’s challenges.
Jeff has successfully sponsored many pieces of legislation to help support the fast-growing OHRV market and this hard work has helped open up a new tourism economy in the North Country. And Jeff’s diligence to help move the Balsams redevelopment project forward has the potential to transform the economy and bring in thousands of new jobs.
When budget cuts threatened to close the Gorham DMV, Jeff successfully fought to keep it open. And when it looked like the Border Patrol might not have been able to continue assisting local law enforcement, Jeff ensured that the state extended public safety protections so the Border Patrol could continue serving the region.
He has fought to open up our state’s closed rest areas, to make sure the North Country keeps its fair share of tourism tax revenue, and to give Coos County its own full-time circuit court judge to help ensure his constituents have access to justice.
Jeff has been a true champion for the North Country but there’s still much more work to do. Jeff will continue to combat the opioid crisis by urging the state to provide more prevention, treatment and recovery services, as well as the resources our law enforcement and first responders need to keep us safe.
He will fight to make sure the NH Health Protection Program, which now provides quality, affordable health care coverage to more than 50,000 hard-working Granite Staters, continues. Jeff will support increasing the state minimum wage and for more investment in our infrastructure.
Having served in the State Senate myself, I know that a hardworking senator can make a real difference and nobody works harder than Jeff. I whole-heartedly endorse District 1 State Senator, Jeff Woodburn, and hope you will give him your vote on November 8th. -- U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen

Poof Tardiff: 1977 IX

Hello fellow Berlinites. Another lucky hunter made the headlines in the local newspaper, when Debbie Gagne, a sophomore at Berlin High School and from the town of Dummer, bagged her first deer. She out did her entire family, by shooting a 188 pound buck just one town away in Cambridge.

This hunting trip was a big event for Miss Gagne, as it was the first time she fired her gun at big game. He began hunting in 1976, but never got the chance to shoot.

She shot this nice trophy when she was hunting with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Rick Gagne. This time Debbie did better than her brothers Michael, Scott and Patrick, even though the local game warden questioned whether she really did shoot the deer.

On Sunday afternoon November 13, 1977, the Vocational Center at Berlin High School was finally completed and dedicated. Vocational director Richard Pinette introduced guest speaker Governor Meldrim Thompson, who was a staunch supporter of vocational education.

The ceremony included handing over of the keys from Lawrence Richards and Eli Isaacson, general contractors, along with Deane Woodward architect, to superintendent Lawrence Dwyer and principal Frank Bruni. Many young local students have benefited from this great vocational center here at BHS and gone on with outstanding careers in fields offered here.

On December 2, 1977, Vaillancourt and Woodward Incorporated, Berlin's oldest insurance agency move from its present location at 234 Main Street, just above the Courthouse, to a different location. It had been at this location since 1934. Today (2016), that building just before Supreme Pizza, no longer exists.

According to the agency president, William A. Woodward, the company dated back as far as 1883 in the town of Berlin, when his grandfather, Jason Woodward, operated out of an office on Green Square. Business prospered and in 1933 Howard Woodward, Bill's father, acquired the agency and moved to the Upper Main Street location in the fall of 1934.

Bill joined his dad in 1970 and was now purchasing the Bilodeau Insurance Agency. With this acquisition, Vaillancourt and Woodward outgrew their space, so they had to move. The new location, as of December 2, 1977 would be at 29 Main Street, which was next door to the Berlin Cooperative Bank and was formerly occupied by the Bilodeau Insurance Agency. Today Vaillancourt and Woodward are back to a Green Square location, not far from where they originally got started.

The top news during the middle of December 1977 was a scheduled City Hall lecture by a representative of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church. It became the center of debate before the City Council and over the radio waves.

Citizens were worried that this city's youth would be “lured” into the controversial organization of this Korean leader. The WMOU ”Forum” was deluged with calls after one citizen called and warned about the meeting that would take place in the City Hall. The argument was the use of a public building for the lecture of the so-called “Moonies” that some people considered a cult.

The “Moonies” did come to town the following week on Tuesday, December 13, to face a hostile crowd of modest size in the City Hall auditorium. “America and God's Providence” was the title of the lecture delivered by Charles Wheeler, head of the Unification Church in New Hampshire.

The Reverend Dale True of the Shared Ministry here in Berlin, was the only clergymen to publicly criticize the Unification Church, but that they also had the right to present their ideas. Berlin's citizens didn't want them using taxpayer money by speaking at the City Hall. Not much more became of this religion in Berlin, as far as I know.

The long search for a qualified city engineer came to an end during the last days of 1977. City Manager James Smith appointed Luke J. Carriere of Summit, New Jersey as Berlin's newest city engineer. Mr. Carriere filled the vacancy left behind when city engineer Clarence Brungot retired. I do not know how long this man stayed with the city of Berlin.

A tragic accident took place during the last week of December 1977 at the municipal airport in Milan. Federal and state agencies were investigating a crash that occurred during the holiday week and claimed the lives of three people.

Killed in this horrible accident were the pilot, Benjamin H. Coffin of Cates Hill Road, Matthew Vance Coffin, 11, of Topsham, Maine and Esther Chiche, 21 also of Cates Hill Road. All three were pronounced dead at the scene by Dr. E. M. Danais, Medical Referee.

This single engine Cessna 180 crashed on the airport runway shortly after takeoff at about 9:30 am on the morning of December 28. According to the report filed by state police officer Peter Roberts, the plane climbed approximately 200 feet into the air before it came to a “stall”, then took a nosedive into the runway. This meant that the forward motion of the plane was not sufficient enough to keep it airborne.

There were several eyewitnesses to the accident and one of them was local city electrician at the time, Leo Therriault. Mr. Therriault was driving toward the airport to work on the lighting in the main terminal building when he noticed the plane going down.

Leo recalled that the aircraft climbed into the air and rolled over, lunging downward. His first thoughts were that it was a pilot doing some stunt flying, expecting the pilot to pull out of the dive. Because his view was blocked by a snow bank, the electrician did not see the actual crash.

When the plane did not recover from its dive, Therriault rushed out to the runway to assist in the rescue efforts, but to no avail. The would-be rescuers feared that a fire would take place, so they dragged the left wing away from the main wreckage. Using tools in Therriault's truck, they tried to gain access to the cockpit.

Trooper Roberts and ambulance personnel were able to check the pulses of the occupants, but found none. The medical referee was then summoned to the scene. Reporters and members of the public were not allowed near the accident until the bodies were removed. After this, many onlookers quickly went to view the plane, but were not allowed to touch any of the scattered parts.

An official report of the probable cause of this tragedy was not available, but I'm sure that I will find it when I do the history of Berlin in 1978. This was such a sad ending to the events which took place and made history in Berlin during 1977.

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 friends of “Once upon a Berlin Time” on Facebook and guess at the weekly mystery pictures that have been posted.

Rev. Sun Myung MoonRev. Sun Myung Moon

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Ithaca Bound: An informed and thoughtful voter

In the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania of 1952, courses in Civics and Problems of Democracy were required, in order to receive a high school diploma. In the high school to which I went, Civics was taught in the freshman year and Problems of Democracy in the senior. Both of these courses had to do with being a responsible citizen of one’s city, state, and country. Both of these courses were taught by members of the social studies program.
Whether such courses are required in today’s high schools, I do not know, but I am grateful they were sixty-four years ago. The lessons learned in those two classes remain to this day. Especially as we approach another presidential election day. Especially so, this one.
As was learned sixty-four years ago, the past couple of months have been spent carefully studying the backgrounds of the candidates, their strengths and weaknesses, and fact checking their public statements. Based on that research, decisions have been made as to whom the checkmarks on my ballot will go. In some cases, the decision was an easy one; in others, not so much so.
Let me make clear that my voter registration these days is classified as Undecided. For the majority of my voting life, I was a registered Republican, but as the party moved farther and farther to the right, it became clear that it no longer spoke for me.
Neither do the Democrats, however, and so my vote goes to the candidate who most closely speaks to the values I hold for my life, regardless of that candidate’s political affiliation. Traveling as much as I have been fortunate enough to do, has certainly broadened ny outlook on life, and that has shown itself in the voting booth. Neither an ardent conservative nor an ardent liberal, my vote goes as my research and conscience guide me. Those high school classes of so long ago emphasized thoughtful consideration.
That is good advice in all walks of life.
As cartoonist Walt Kelly’s lovable character Pogo reminds us: “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” You got that right, my friend.”

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..