June 12, 2008
Home Day a Success
By STEPHEN BEALE
GOFFSTOWN - The annual Old Home Day celebration successfully returned to Goffstown Village on Saturday, June 7, after a hiatus of two years.
The celebration had been rained out in 2006. It was also canceled the following year, when the town weathered yet another 100-year flood disaster. Volunteers rebuilt their organization last year, so that everything came together for Old Home Day 2008, according to Robbie Grady, the executive director of the Goffstown Main Street Program, the primary organizer of Old Home Day.
A number of community groups turned out in force. St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church ran a yard sale, while around the corner Goffstown Congregational Church sold plants and pies to benefit an orphanage in Haiti. The town library also had a book sale and the Goffstown Rotary Club held a silent auction and barbecue.
Firefighters and volunteers demonstrate
to use an antique D.A. Taggert fire pump.
(Photo by Stephen Beale)
Main Street was dotted by various crafts and activities. George the Chandler — or George Boddie — was selling his locally made candles and had children make brownie sundae candles for Father’s Day. A local beekeeper also had a booth and the New Hampshire Giant Pumpkin Growers Association was scheduled to do a demonstration.
One of the popular new attractions this year was guided trolley tours of Goffstown Village and the Uncanoonuc Mountains, where there used to be hotel resorts and ski slopes early in the 20th century. The Main Street Program rented an antique trolley which carried people through the village center to the summit of South Uncanoonuc Mountain.
On the trip they saw many of the old homes of Goffstown as well as other historic sites on the mountain. Stops included the home of Gov. David Morril, the 1810 home of Willie Richards, the incline railway station at the base of the Uncanoonuc Mountains and the location of the hotels.
Jim Beauchemin guided the tour, dressed in a conductor’s uniform and one of the original hats, with antique tickets still inside it.
Tickets sold out days in advance and people who went on the tour had high praise for it when they got back, according to Grady. She said it is an activity the Main Street program expects to bring back.
“It fits so well with our mission of preserving our heritage,” she said.
For those seeking out town heritage at lower altitudes, there was plenty to do in the village. For the patient ones, the Main Street Program organized an architectural scavenger hunt, handing out sheets of pictures of small details from the many historic and iconic buildings in the downtown area. The winner was Barbara Langton Heiman.
Also, the Goffstown Fire Department throughout the day demonstrated how to use an antique D.A. Taggart fire pump, which dates to 1849. That year it was purchased by the town of Stoneham, Mass., for $1,000. Goffstown later acquired it for $150 in 1885.
The pump is powered by people who stand on opposite sides and push down on handles connected to pistons, which builds the water pressure.
Grady said the revived Old Home Day had been a success. She estimates that 1,000 people turned out, although high temperatures kept them from staying too long for what was scheduled to be an all-day event.
Reproduced by the Goffstown