HAMPTON: A CENTURY OF TOWN AND BEACH, 1888-1988
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Chapter 12 -- Part 5
Voted $1,600 for the community nurse, but changed the appropriation from the Red Cross to the town Board of Health, which would oversee the nurse. Voted to fly all flags in town at half-mast in memory of the late ex-president, William Howard Taft. Voted $3,000 for the Taylor River Bridge. Voted $150 for a fire-alarm box in front of the Wingate house on Exeter Road. Despite this vote, the box was not installed, and, by unfortunate coincidence, fire that year destroyed the Wingate barn.
Voted $300 for hydrants at Five Corners. Voted to have the Town accept as a road the extension of Dearborn Avenue, which had been a dead-end street, through to Ann's Lane. Voted to refer to a committee for study an article to build an uptown fire station (an adjourned town meeting gave this committee $500 to investigate the need and prepare plans). Voted to send back to the Beach the fire equipment then stored in Gale's Garage. Instead of voting $10,000 for further breakwater repairs, the meeting appointed a committee of five to appear before the Legislature to seek an appropriation "adequate to safeguard from further erosion that part of our Ocean front adjacent to the State Boulevard. This is from the Plaice Cove on the north to Haverhill Street on the south." This resulted in the passage of a joint resolution of the Legislature calling for the Town to deed over the oceanfront land to the State in exchange for building a breakwater. At a June special town meeting, the residents voted against acceptance of the State's proposal. A special August *
town meeting also voted against the State's proposal.
Disagreements with the Hampton Water Works Company resulted in two motions. One called for working with the company to install hydrants on High Street, the other called for the selectmen "to do something to make the Water Co. change their rates and service, and if necessary that they take it up with the Public Service Commission." Voted $5,000 to repair the present sewer (which was only at the Beach), and appointed a committee of 10 "men" to study a new sewer system (at an estimated cost of $75,000) and to report to an adjourned town meeting. Voted $5,000 for a new uptown fire station. This vote resulted in the remodeling of the old Grammar School into a fire station. The Town accepted the roads in Surfside Park, voted $500 to repair the "worst places," and authorized the health officer to investigate all toilets in Surfside Park and to condemn those that were nuisances. Surfside Park was an early development, and most of its dwellings only had outhouses. American Legion Post 35 was given free use of the hall over the courthouse (which was the remodeled Grammar School), and the Legion was given responsibility and Town funds for conducting Memorial Day services. The selectmen were asked to give consideration to abating the taxes for seven years on the Oceanside Grange Hall and real estate. A request by druggist Nathan Tobey for permission to sell liquor by prescription for medical purposes was indefinitely postponed. After a meeting with the State Board of Health, the sewer study committee reported at the adjourned town meeting that the State would approve repairs to the existing system but that further study had to be given to an expansion and update of the present system.
At a January mass meeting, residents approved a resolution opposing the state legislation to take by eminent domain the beachfront lands. The report of the sewer committee was accepted and placed on file, and the committee was "retained for service whenever the town deems it advisable to build a sewer system." Action on an article calling for $120,000 to build the sewer system was postponed to an adjourned town meeting in April. At that meeting, voters supported the proposal by a 173-62 vote. On the same day, a special town meeting was held, and residents ordered the selectmen to stop their opposition to the State's takeover of the beachfront and gave support to the legislation, which would transfer the land east of the boulevard to the State, called for the State to build a protective breakwater, and called for state acquisition of the Hampton River Bridge. This decision was reconfirmed at a special town meeting in July. The Town's lack of money to build and maintain adequate breakwaters, and a series of destructive ocean storms, had finally convinced residents that only by deeding the land to the State would the Beach receive the protection it needed. At a June special election, voters opposed the selling of beer in town by a 285-266 vote. In November, another special town meeting was held, asking the Town to accept $160,000 in federal funds for the sewer, with $40,000 as a gift and the balance to be paid by a bond issue. The article calling for a bond issue to borrow the funds (needed to repay the federal loan) failed to get a two-thirds majority. The State Board of Health then informed Hampton that if the Beach sewer was not replaced, the State would not permit bathers to enter the water the next summer. Another special meeting was held about a month after the previous one and voters finally approved the sewer project.
Voted to lease land between Winnacunnet Road, Locke Road, and High Street for an airport, using $1,000 in federal funds. The airport lasted until World War II. In 1945, the new Hampton Airport opened in North Hampton, operated by Henry Dupuis of Hampton and David Clemons of Newburyport. Adopted a resolution prohibiting police officers from soliciting voters to go to the polls and driving them to the polls in police cars and prohibiting a member of the Board of Selectmen from serving as chief of police. Selectman Harry Munsey had served as chief for nine years, and many residents thought that it was a conflict to be in both positions. The meeting also voted to go on record as supporting daylight saving time. Hampton had not always adopted daylight saving time, while surrounding towns had used the system, and the result was local confusion. In May, "nearly all" stores in Hampton, as well as the schools, changed to daylight saving time, but the churches remained on standard time for one week until congregations voted whether or not to change. One year later, a survey indicated that Hampton retail merchants had decided to remain on standard time while schools, churches, the shoe factory, and the bank changed to daylight saving time at the end of April. Hampton Beach businesses planned to follow the Casino and remain on standard time. The Casino owners thought the advanced time was too early to begin their dance program. However, the Union
reported, "There is dissatisfaction of closing so late when Exeter, Portsmouth and Newburyport are observing daylight time." With Prohibition repealed, the Town supported the manufacture or sale of alcoholic beverages in Hampton by a margin of one vote. Following a recount, the results changed and the vote was against selling liquor in town. At a special, well-attended town meeting in May, 477 voted in favor of liquor sales, with 412 opposed. In October, Selectman Edwin L. Batchelder was appointed acting postmaster and
resigned from the board.
Voted not to adopt the Municipal Budget Act, which would have replaced the Town's informal Appropriations Committee with a legally established Budget Committee. The selectmen were instructed to send a letter of thanks to wealthy international banker Edward Tuck in Paris, thanking him for his municipal gift, which resulted in Tuck Park. Over a number of years, until his death in 1938, Tuck gave thousands of dollars to support the Meeting House Green Memorial and the athletic field. Tuck's mother was the daughter of nineteenth-century entrepreneur David Nudd. His father, Amos, once principal of Hampton Academy, became a lawyer, a member of Congress, and a founder of the national Republican party. While the Town did adopt a number of new ordinances to strengthen the powers of the fire chief in dealing with actual or potential fires, the meeting rejected a long article to buy a new fire truck, build reservoirs, and install a number of new alarm boxes. In 1935 and 1936, the town paid small sums to rent a "poor house."
Voted $30,000 to extend the sewer to White Island. Voted $500 to assist the new Seacoast Development Association to pay for a promotional brochure. Voted $2,000 for work at Tuck Field and Tuck Park and to have the Town administer both as one project. At the November election, the Town again voted against sales of alcoholic beverages.
Voted to appoint a five-member Planning Board and appropriated $500 for mapping and other expenses. Accepted Kershaw Avenue as a public road. Accepted Towle Avenue (or the 805-foot length of it as then constructed) as a public road. Voted to appoint a committee for the 300th anniversary with a $500 appropriation. Voted $2,500 for an incinerator plant. Indefinitely postponed a multipart fire department appropriation, which included $1,500 to allow the department to go on the two-platoon system. Chief Homer Whiting had requested the selectmen to place this article in the warrant, but he had not consulted first with the Precinct commissioners, who opposed the two-platoon system. As a result of requesting this article, Whiting was fired by the commissioners.
Voted $5,000 for the expenses of the tercentenary celebration. In an action that received national headlines, the meeting declared that Eunice "Goody" Cole had been unjustly accused and tried for witchcraft in the 1600s, and her rightful place as a citizen was restored. Voted to accept the southerly end of Towle Avenue as a public road. Voted to accept newly laid out Moulton Road. A motion also passed requesting the selectmen to seek information regarding the construction of a much-needed new high school to replace the ancient Hampton Academy building.
Voted $2,500 to complete the park at Five Corners. Voted $3,000 for a sewer on Charles Street, and $2,500 to gravel and tar the new Moulton Road. Voted to authorize the selectmen to purchase the depot yard if the railroad decided to sell the land.
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