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"Our Town" By James W. Tucker
Thursday, January 24, 1952
In gathering material concerning our town, we often pick up miscellaneous bits of interesting information, not sufficient in themselves to be the subjects of entire columns. And it may be that these scraps of miscellanea have been gathered too late to be included in columns where they naturally belong but which have already been written. So, from time to time, we may put these unrelated bits of informative material together and include them in a single column like this one, in the hope that they may bring as much pleasure to the reader as they have to the over signed.
Hollis Remembers Manager
Alan Hollis of Concord is probably the best informed man in New Hampshire with relation to all phases of public utility management. Although his years number a few more than four score and he no longer is spry in a physical sense, his keen business acumen is in no way impaired and his sound business judgement still predominates in the affairs of the Exeter and Hampton Electric company. In the long series of articles, relative to the electric railways which appeared under this heading, his name was frequently mentioned. After he had been given an opportunity to read the stories, which, we are delighted to learn, he seemed to enjoy, Mr.. Hollis suggested that due credit had not been given to J. A. MacAdams, who, for many years was the manager of the Exeter, Hampton and Amesbury Street Railway.
A Man Named MacAdams
We agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Hollis. "Mac", as we all called him, deserves a higher tribute as manager of a trolley system than we are able to pay — merely because we know nothing of the intricacies involved in such a supervisory job. But the fact that Alan Hollis remembers him in such a friendly way is a higher tribute to the memory of his great ability than any we could possibly pay. You couldn't ask for a better man. He was a big Scotchman, his ruddy countenance bisected by a walrus moustache of red that matched his thatch of red hair. And in his voice was a soft burr, as humorous as the perpetual twinkle in his deep set eyes. Here was no dour Scot. He had a keen sense of fun and a fund of stories that would almost match that of Parson Watson, who, to digress, will be greatly missed in our town.
And "Mac" was constantly referring to a thick gold watch, especially if he even glimpsed a passing trolley car out of the corner of his eye. And, if he supervised the expenditure of trolley nickels as carefully as he watched the payment of Board of Trade funds, he certainly must have endeared himself to Mr. Hollis, who sat at the head of a dozen trolley directorate tables. "Mac" was a good public relations man and his first interest, aside from his family and his business was the Board of Trade to which he contributed valuable and extensive personal service. J. A. MacAdams was much more than a good trolley transportation manager. He was a good citizen to whom our town is greatly indebted for the unselfish part which he played in its development during the transitory era of the trolley.
The Original Toll Schedule
On January 3, we wrote about the "Mile- Long Wooden Toll Bridge" which originally spanned the inlet to Hampton Harbor. This bridge, dedicated to public use on May 14, 1902 was ostensibly a toll bridge. However, a complete schedule of rates was not put into daily effect until the middle of July. The schedule, in view of the development of the motor car which followed almost immediately, is most interesting.
It was as follows: Pedestrian or Bicyclist, 5c; Horse attached to Carriage, 5c; Passengers, 5c; Carriage, two or more horses, 10c; Loaded Wagon, 10c; All Other Vehicles, 5c; Neat Stock, 1c; Horse and Rider, 5c; Sheep and Pigs, 1c; Beast of Burden -- Not ridden nor attached to Vehicles, 1c. It will be noted that automobiles are not specifically mentioned. Later, they were included and the rate was five cents for the car and five cents for each passenger. As a matter of fact, it was not until automobiles came into general use that our Hampton Harbor Toll Bridge began to make money.
Native of Our Town in White House
Man famous people were born or have lived in Hampton, including a small girl who eventually became the first lady of the land and dwelt at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in the nation's capital. Rev. Jesse Appleton was pastor of the Congregational church in Hampton from 1797 to 1807 and during his pastorate, a daughter, Jane Means Appleton, was born. Dr. Appleton and his family moved later to Brunswick, Maine, where he served as president of Bowdoin College. And Jane, born in Hampton, became the charming and accomplished wife of Franklin Pierce, fourteenth President of the United States.
Famous Men Educated Here
Rufus Choate, outstanding jurist and statesman, completed his preparatory education at Hampton Academy and Amos Tuck, internationally known banker and philanthropist, also graduated from our town's Academy. Mr. Tuck was later the preceptor of the Academy and for many years served as a member of the school's board of trustees.
Beach Closed On Sundays
Back in 1905, there was quite a stir in our town about the Sunday opening of business in the beach section. In a half century, custom surrounding the observance of Sunday has changed in a great degree. So, it is now interesting to read the following news items, gleaned from the June 23, 1905 edition of the Exeter News-Letter
"Things have been wide open at the beach thus far this season, so much so as to cause considerable comment. One of the local clergymen went to the Beach last Sunday p.m., and found skating rink, bowling alley and slot gambling machines in full operation. The W. T. C. U. are circulating a petition asking selectmen to stop all illegal sports and to close places of business on the Lord's Day, and we understand the Board will take immediate action. It certainly cannot help the beach in the long run to make it a resort for the lawless and the sooner it is cleaned up, the better for all parties."
The effort of the unnamed local clergyman were successful for the News-Letter of the following week carried this story in its column of Hampton news: "As a result of the petition of several townsmen, Selectman Warren H. Hobbs has ordered Manager Phinney to discontinue opening the bowling alleys, skating rink and other amusements on Sundays."
Hampton's First Old Home Day
Gov. Frank Rollins, New Hampshire's chief executive in 1899-1901, originated "Old Home Day", which is observed now by only a very few towns. Hampton first celebrated "Old Home Day" on Thursday, August 25, 1904 and hundreds of our town's sons and daughters returned to participate in the elaborate exercises which marked the event. The chief feature of the program was a paper prepared and read by Enoch P. Young
, in which Mr. Young related stories of the Hampton he knew as a boy in 1834. This remarkable historic document was printed in full in the Exeter News-Letter
of September 16, 1904.
St. Peter's By The Sea
For three years, our town had an Episcopal Church. St. Peter's By The Sea, located just off the Ocean Boulevard on the north side of Highland Avenue, was dedicated on July 21, 1912 and burned during the great conflagration of late September in 1915. St. Peter's was the first church on Hampton Beach and it was erected at a cost of $3,5000 as the result of four years of activity on the part of its first and only rector, Rev. Charles W. Tyler, D. D., of St. John's Church, Haverhill, Mass. The altar was the gift of St. Mark's Society of Fall River, Mass. and the bell formerly hung in the old Wingate Church in Haverhill. Col. George Ashworth was active in the building of this church.
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