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In December of 1938, the Conway School Board solicited bids for building two wings on the 1923-vintage Kennett High School. The three-story east wing was to contain several new classrooms, including a science lab, with a kitchen in the basement for the then-popular Home Economics curriculum.…

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Determining the vintage of this wintertime image of North Conway’s Main Street took some thought. The black car at right appears to be a 1940 Plymouth, and it’s the newest model distinguishable. Parked just to the left in the middle distance is Carroll Reed’s 1938 Ford “woodie” station wagon…

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Photographers at the beginning of the 20th century were fascinated by Fryeburg, Maine’s picturesque Main Street and the pedestrian walkway beneath twin rows of towering elms was a favorite subject. The trees, which dated from about 1840, lined both sides of the street from Fryeburg Academy t…

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Around 1822, Eaton pioneer Joseph Snow brought his family down from his first mountain homestead to live on the main road from Brownfield to Eaton Center.

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Center Conway did not change much during the first two decades of the 20th century. Most homes were passed down through the family, instead of sold to strangers, and commercial enterprises served the community that already existed, rather than depending on unsustainable growth. Home occupati…

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At the dawn of the 20th century, both Conway and North Conway had attracted a fair number of Catholic residents. The earliest were Irish, who came in the 1870s and ’80s to work in the hotels and the mills.

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Religious fervor and political animosities combined after the Civil War to spawn a flurry of new church societies in Conway — and across much of the country, for that matter. Tensions between Republicans and Democrats in Conway led to the formation of a Methodist church there, which split fr…

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Gustave Mahler was drawing his final breath in Vienna as the sun rose on May 18, 1911. The Titanic was about to slide down the ways at a Belfast, Northern Ireland, shipyard. In Mexico City, revolutionaries were preparing to overthrow President Porfirio Diaz. But it was a bright, warm day in …

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William F. Thompson, the oldest son of the man who built the Kearsarge House, bought the former Stephen G. Hill house from his father in 1861. Except for a brief absence during the Civil War, he lived there the rest of his life.

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Once upon a time, in a land that seems far away, Route 16 between Redstone and North Conway was just a country road. It was flat and straight, which made it an inviting place to open up the four-barrels after both town cops had gone to bed. The only businesses consisted of some motels and lo…

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By 1860 Enoch and Hannah Chandler decided to give up their big farmhouse on the western face of Mount Cranmore and move to Bethel, where some of their sons were engaged in business. Levi Seavey bought the Chandler place, with its views of Mount Washington and Kearsarge, and went to farming t…

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During the first three decades of their marriage, Willard and Sarah Russell dragged their many children all around the lower Merrimack River Valley in search of more prosperous surroundings. Growing up in Middleton, Mass., Willard had learned the shoemaking trade, and his sons all followed h…

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As at least one writer for the Conway Daily Sun can attest, hordes of Eastmans have lived in and around Conway, hailing from an assortment of tribes. Alfred Eastman, who was born in Kearsarge in 1843, made an effort at farming in his youth but soon gravitated to the hotel business. He remain…

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Harry Chandler Blanchard did not rise from auspicious beginnings. His parents were Canadian immigrants who worked in the cotton mills of Lawrence, Mass., and he lost his father at an early age, but he did all three things that still almost always lift people out of the cycle of poverty. He g…