Irene Burnham Recalls When Circulation Was 150

From the 75th Anniversary edition

Hampton Union

July 23, 1975

Irene Burnham Recalls When Circulation Was 150

By Cathy Wilson

HAMPTON -— Circulation is around 150. Four people supervise the printing of the paper. Every Thursday after being released from school, Irene Burnham and Beatrice Oulton hand-fold the papers for a quarter.

Of course the two young ladies appreciated their modest salary while working for The Hamptons Union because it was the turn of the century.

Irene Burnham, now 91, of 252 Winnacunnet Road, remembers the afternoons she spent working on the old-fashioned newspaper operation which was on the site of one of the Lamies Tavern dining rooms (Then the "Goody Cole Room").

She and a friend would collate the pages (about ten) in consecutive order and go about the folding chores to ready the paper for its Friday distribution.

Most of the issues were sent to mail- order subscribers in the period when founder Charles Francis Adams owned the paper.

Mrs. Burnham recalls how Mr. Adams crusaded for the construction of a road in Hampton over the marshes to the beach. Many scoffed at his far-sighted idea which appeared in numerous editorials.

Now the most travelled east-west route, the Exeter-Hampton Expressway (Route 101) stands as a memorial to changing times and changed minds.

When Mrs. Burnham wasn’t at work at the office near the depot, she often waited on tables at banquets in the Hotel Whittier on Winnacunnet Road, now Odyssey House.

One of her fondest memories didn’t concern her part-time jobs, however. Her mother’s cousin travelled by sleigh from Strafford, N.H. to present the family with a gift one Thanksgiving Day.

An organ with bellows had been lashed to the front of the sleigh for the brisk ride. It became the first organ of the Methodist Church in Hampton. The organ, which doesn’t work now, was donated to the Tuck Museum when the church received another.

The lap-size instrument can be dissembled and carried in two pieces.

Mrs. Burnham later became interested in preserving the cherished memories of her day and, along with Mrs. Vrylena Olney, became an original signer of the Meeting House Green Memorial and Historical Association charter in 1925.

As Mrs. Olney describes it, "We struggled quite long and hard to get the interest up on it." The association, now commonly known as the Hampton Historical Society, is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary.

The 87-year old mother of three, Mrs. Olney now lives with her daughter in Winchester, England, and is presently on one of her frequent visits to the States to see her family.

"We had a wonderful time before we got too modern," she said as a commentary on the good old days of her youth in Hampton.

Who else can remember when Judge 0. Raymond Garland was water boy for the East End School on Winnacunnet Road because his farm was nearby?

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