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Pittsfield NH News

October 21, 2015

The Suncook Valley Sun News Archive is Maintained by Modern Concepts. We are NOT affliated in any way with the Suncook Valley Sun Newspaper.




The Pittsfield Area Senior Center is teaming up with the Josiah Carpenter Library and hosting a presentation  given by the Historical Society at the senior center, located on 74 Main St. in Pittsfield, on October 22, 2015 at 1:00 PM.  Larry Berkson and William Provencal will be discussing the history and highlights of the “2016 Historical Pittsfield Calendar.”  You can call the center at 603-435-8482 or the library at 603-435-8406 for more information.





Revs. Tim and Bethany Groves, along with their four children, Mackenzie, Mikayla, Megan, and Micah, travel full time advancing God’s Kingdom through praise & worship, anointed singing and sign language, and the preaching of the Word. Join them at the Lighthouse Church of God (29 Watson Street, Pittsfield), Fri. & Sat., Oct. 23 & 24 at 7 pm and Sun., Oct. 25 at 11am and 6 pm.



Annual Suncook River Cleanup

Saturday, 10/24, 10 am - Noon


Meet at the Drake’s Field Boat Launch.


Bring work gloves and a canoe if you have one.


Sponsored by Friends of the Suncook River,


For more information, Paul Oman, 435-7199, [email protected]



Friends of the Josiah Carpenter Library

Annual Poinsettia Sale


The Friends are taking orders now through Nov. 4, 2015 as part of their Annual Poinsettia Sale.  You may pick up an order form at the library during regular business hours, or go to the library’s website to download an order form.


Thank you for supporting your local library!



Pittsfield Park and Rec Basketball Sign Ups

Grades 1 through 8

Sign ups held at the Pittsfield Community Center

October 31st and November 1st 

9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Any questions contact Darrell Wages (603)-812-6741.



VA’s Million Veteran Program hits 400K Milestone

Program Expected to be Among World’s Largest Databases

Submitted Via Merrill Vaughan


WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Million Veteran Program (MVP) has enrolled its 400,000th Veteran volunteer, squarely putting it on track to become one of the world’s largest medical databases, linking genetic, clinical, lifestyle and military-exposure information, with the goal of learning more about the role of genes in health and disease.


“We are proud to see the progress being made in MVP, and we are confident the knowledge gained through this research will have a very tangible and positive impact on the health care that Veterans and all Americans receive,” said VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald. “We applaud our Veterans participating in the program. The selfless sacrifice they are making will allow researchers to gain valuable, important information.”


Veterans who volunteer for the program donate blood, from which DNA is extracted, and periodically fill out surveys about their health, health-related behaviors and military experiences. They also consent to having authorized researchers access the information in their VA electronic health record, and to being re-contacted for future research opportunities. All information, genetic and otherwise, is kept secure and de-identified. Samples and data are coded; no names, birthdates or social security numbers are shared.


MVP, in operation at more than 50 VA medical centers nationwide, is already the largest database of its type in the United States. Data collected through MVP are available to researchers for use in approved studies, to include posttraumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, substance use disorders and heart and kidney disease.


MVP is a part of the Precision Medicine Initiative announced by President Obama earlier this year. The initiative aims to move health care forward into an era in which disease prevention and treatment will be tailored to individual patients on the basis of their genes and other factors.


“VA is thrilled to be working closely with the White House and other federal partners on the president’s Precision Medicine Initiative,” said VA Chief Research and Development Officer Timothy O’Leary, M.D., Ph.D. “We are committed to making precision medicine a reality for Veterans and the nation.” 


For more information about MVP and VA research in general, visit



The Truth About 70, Girls, 70

By Meggin Dail

PIttsfield Players.jpg

Jean Gentile and Gerri Casey ham it up as the waitresses Fritzi and Melba of the Cornucopia Cafe just off the Sussex Arms Lobby and just off Broadway. Come see why the trouble with the world today is “Coffee in a Cardboard Cup,” as The Pittsfield Players present “70, Girls, 70”


There are a lot of people who are asking what The Pittsfield Players fall musical is this year. The answer is “70, Girls, 70.” The response is, “What is the musical??”


 So here’s the long story short: “70, Girls, 70” is a musical comedy that my parents just happened to see some years back when they were traveling. They came back to rave about the show. Dad couldn’t really remember the plot and mom couldn’t quite remember how the music went but they both loved it. I remember my mother, eyes twinkling, saying” The best part is the cast is all OLD!” Why was this the best part? “Because that’s who we have in The Pittsfield Players, old people! Old people like me and Maye Hart and Mal Cameron and Chet Fuller, Lena Luongo, Gerri Casey, the Gentiles, Dee Dee Pitcher and Bea Douglas, Nella and Mike Hobson… we’re all old! Well, sure some of us are older than others but it would be perfect for us to do. And it’s funny because it makes fun of old actors too.”


So we weren’t able to mount the show in mom’s lifetime but in the last few years Maye Hart  and dad kept pushing for me to direct it. So with Jeff Gregoire’s assistance and Carole Neveaux and Dee Dee Pitcher on choreography and Phil Breton accompanying on keyboard (plus a lot more younger or newer cast members) we’re finally bringing you “70, Girls,70”; a show about being old and sometimes beating the odds and sometimes not; about being in love and being alive; about acting and singing and dancing or limping. A show that you’re going to love just like mom did. You may not know the music but you’ll fall in love with the characters  right away. Tickets, $17, are already moving, get yours now for 70, Girls, 70; November 13 & 14 at 7:30 PM; Nov. 15 at 2PM; November 20 & 21 at 7:30 PM. Call (603) 435-8852 to reserve! You may also visit us online at



Main Street: In The Late 1940S And Early 1950S:

Part I

Submitted By Larry Berkson

Pittsfield Main Street Looking West.jpg

The requests seem to keep coming. This time it was about Main Street and the occupants of the buildings in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Well, Mr. Mitchell, as opposed to today, it was an extremely busy place, filled with shops, stores and huge single family residences. There was so much going on that it will take two articles to cover the subject. In Part I, I will discuss the northwest side of the street. 


Beginning at the top of Factory Hill, was The Washington House which evolved from town founder John Cram’s house. Next came the Union Block, erected in 1876 after the Valentine’s Day Fire which leveled the former building. The third floor was added in 1895. In the late 1940s and early 1950s it contained three businesses. On the left side was the Pittsfield Savings Bank run by Courtland Paige. In the center was the Paige Insurance Agency run by Gilbert Paige. On the right side was a series of stores, the A & P grocery store, Joe and Tony’s vegetable stand, and later other variety stores, such as Boyd’s Market and now K-2. Upstairs there were at least two apartments. One was occupied by the Chagnon family who had two daughters, Cecile and Gloria, whereabouts now unknown. By this time the Odd Fellows Hall on the third floor was no longer occupied.


Next came the Congregational Church also built after the conflagration of Valentine’s Day, 1876. This was followed by what was known in the olden days as the infamous “Fort Wilkins,” which was owned by the eccentric dentist, barber and jack of all trades, G. G. Wilkins. He ran a store there with a bear tied up out front. During the 1940s through the 1960s it was occupied by Hemeon’s Store, run by Bob Hemeon who retired to Maine and lived well into his 90s.


Then came Kenneth “Buster” Danis Barber Shop. Originally run by his father “Fedo,” it was a hang-out for many men. The topic of conversation was often baseball. A die hard Yankee fan, Buster often threw out Bill Meyers, a die-hard Red Sox fan, after a loud and vitriolic argument. One of the interesting features was the small opening between the shop and Hemeon’s Store through which Buster could order his cigarettes. Upstairs was an apartment occupied by the Hemeons. 


Next came the Green Block, formerly the Batchelder Block, built in 1887. On the left side was Greens Drug Store, founded by Charlie Green but later taken over by his daughter Margaret “Babe” and son-in-law Alfred Jenisch. It had an old fashion soda fountain. I remember Florence Philbrick and my sister among others who worked there. On the right was the First National Store run by Clarence “Toot” Daley and later the A&P run by Melvin Severance. Upstairs there were three apartments, one occupied by my grandfather Barney Berkson who ran his store, Barney’s Clothing, there until moving down to Depot Street. The third floor was occupied by a series of secret societies including the Pythian Sisters.


Across Elm Street was a building occupied by Montgomery’s men’s clothing store on the left and Mayland Foss’s Jewelry Store on the right. Upstairs there were apartments, occupants unknown to me. 


The next building was Volpe’s Grill, which had its beginnings in the next building attached to the Opera House Block, location of the present flower shop run by Ginny Hayes. It was one of the better restaurants in town, along with Grace’s Lunch on Elm Street. There were apartments upstairs. It was destroyed by fire in June 2009.


The little building attached to the Opera House was occupied by Cotton’s Flower Shop which later moved across the street into the old John Berry Stand.      


The Opera House itself was built in 1883 by Charles H. Lane. On the left was the Public Service office. Then came Dustin’s Store which sold dry goods. The next was John Varney’s Meat Market. Later he took over his parents’ business, the Chichester Country Store. On the right was the Pittsfield National Bank run by Herbert Fischer. 


The second floor of the Opera House Block contained apartments, in one of which the Courtland Paige Family lived for a while. There my sister and I were baby sat while my parents attended the gala events on the third floor—plays, dances, singing, magic acts, graduations etc.--  and even roller skating races in the early years. Indeed, it was the town’s social center for decades. There were also offices on the second floor, one occupied I believe by a dentist. The third floor was removed in 1963.


After the Opera House Block came Dustin Park with its World War II Memorial and Green Bandstand. Next was and is St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, built in 1863, with the undercroft added by R. C. Foss in 1975. This building was followed by the little Mobil Gas Station run by Dosilva “Tee” Bouchard from its construction in 1939 into the early 1950s.


It was later replaced by a larger station operated by Ralph Esburnett. In 1976 the building was torn down and replaced by the bank building still standing there today.


Across Carroll Street John Perkins and family occupied the old Tuttle Mansion erected in 1875 by future New Hampshire Governor, Hiram A. Tuttle. There Mr. Perkins, an undertaker, ran his funeral business. The parlor and waiting rooms were magnificent. He performed his work in the attached barn.


The next building was a private residence owned by Superintendent of Schools George Holloway, and for many years in the early days the home of the esteemed Dr. John Wheeler. I’ll never forget Mr. Holloway’s nasty little black dog that always chased me on by bicycle as I rode by. 


The Second Advent Christian Church, attended religiously by a small congregation which included Beverly Adams and her children Margie and Arthur, and Ruth Cram and family was next. The building was erected in 1891, a partial basement added in 1912, the attached stable converted into rooms in the 1920s, a new basement room added in the 1960s and a complete undercroft in 1996.  


The church was followed by the Old Meetinghouse which was occupied by the town offices on the first floor and the upper floors by various organizations such as the Masons, Red Men and Boy Scouts. First occupied in 1789 by the town and Congregational Church, it became the exclusive property of the town in 1841. In 1881 the third floor was added by the Masons for their use. After the fire of 1984 it remained unoccupied for several years until the end of the decade when it was restored as the Pittsfield Community Center. 


Across Broadway was painter Edward “Brush” and Zula Riel’s home occupied by their large family. Next came the Fred and Mary Newell Place, occupied by two school teachers, Ida Fowler and Grace Marden. It was followed by a brick apartment building. In the early 1950s the right-hand one was occupied by my fifth grade school teacher, Mrs. Rand. 


After the brick building were a series of residential homes, the first a two-story apartment building owned by Ernest Barnes, the bottom floor of which was occupied by “Toot” Daley and family. It was followed by the old Charles H. Lane Place, then owned by the Remington Family, the Albert and Dora Page Place, the Ernest and Emma Barnes Place, later occupied by the Cheneys, and the Delmore French Place, later occupied by Willard and Evelyn Bishop.



Elks Pledge Four Million Dollars To End Veteran Homelessness

Commitment is Part of VA and Community Partnership

Submitted Via Merrill Vaughan


The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is strengthening community and non-profit partnerships to better serve Veterans. The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the United States of America (BPO Elks) today announced that it has committed $4 million over a 4-year period to help end Veteran homelessness.


This partnership and pledge embodies the mission of MyVA, launched last year to transform VA by putting Veterans in control of how, when and where they wish to be served. In order to achieve transformation, the Department has been reaching out to community partners working to meet the needs of Veterans.


As a part of this partnership, the Elks will work with VHA staff on pilot programs in the cities of Washington, Chicago and New York City. In addition, the organization is calling on the group’s 800,000 members accross the country to support efforts to support homeless Veterans in their communities. The Elks have a strong tradition of service to VA. In this fiscal year alone, approximately 1,300 Elks members volunteered more than 117,000 hours of service at VA facilities nationwide.


“We’re so excited about partnering with the Elks on this important issue impacting far too many Veterans,” said VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald.  “As we move closer to our goal of ending Veteran homelessness, partnerships like these will be critical to ensuring that all Veterans have access to safe and affordable housing.”


“Our goal is to provide the tools and support necessary for homeless Veterans to transition successfully into healthier and more stable lives,” said Mary Morgan, Director of the Elks National Veterans Service Commission. “Most Americans agree that Veteran homelessness should not exist, but few people know how they can help.”


For more information about VA’s homeless initiatives, visit  For more information about the Elks’ service to Veterans, visit



Dorcas Guild – October 2015


The October meeting of the Dorcas Guild of the First Congregational Church of Pittsfield began with a call to order and welcome to the 14 attendees by President Nancy Fogg.


To begin a time of devotions, hostesses Corine Miller and Carolyn Davis offered the “short version” of the 10 Commandments from Exodus 20 as well as the “10 Commandments on Human Relations.” They also read, “A Lesson from Geese.” All joined in “The Lord’s Prayer.”


Diane Vaughan passed around some cards for signing; Nella Hobson read some correspondence. The September 2015 minutes were approved as written, as was the treasurer’s report.


The food basket brought by Peggy Jacobs went to Reny Boyd and will go next to Evelyn Sheehy Richard. The mystery package brought by Reny was won by Bev Murdough.


Discussion followed about a new refrigerator needed. A motion was made and approved to donate funds for this purpose. Motions were made and approved to donate to various charities. A copy of our program guide was again circulated for any corrections.


Refreshments provided by Corine and Carolyn consisted of delicious apple cake with whipped cream and ginger cookies with pumpkin dip. During our time of refreshments, discussion of our Christmas Fair proceeded with Gail Ann Newton describing the details of the luncheon. A sign-up sheet for the items needed was circulated with any additional items to be solicited by Gail Ann. Nancy discussed the other aspects of the fair including set up, staffing and clean up.


This coming Sunday, October 18, the Guild will host the Fellowship. Next month’s meeting, November 10 at 7 pm, will include our “sock hop” – bring new socks to give to charity. Wednesday work group continues each week 10 am to 2 pm. All ladies are welcome.



Program: Pittsfield Historical Society Calendars


Join Larry Berkson and Bill Provencal for their presentation on the calendars produced annually since 2003 by the Pittsfield Historical Society.  All these calendars, with more than 150 photos depicting and describing Pittsfield’s colorful history, will be on display. Many of the older calendars along with the new 2016 calendar will be available for purchase for $10 each.  The program begins at 1:00 PM on Thursday October 22nd at the Pittsfield Community Center.  The Josiah Carpenter Library and the Pittsfield Historical Society are collaborating for this presentation.








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