Poof Tardiff: 1978 VIII

Hello fellow Berlinites. A news headline from the local newspaper in September, 1978 stated “Less odor in Berlin?" Late in August of 1978, the Brown Company completed a project in the Berlin plants which they claimed had reduced the level of objectionable odor around the mill and in the city.

The new air emissions that were supposed to have taken effect had collected non-condensable gases from a digestible low heat recovery system and directed them to the lime kilns where they were burned. These smelly gases were thus prevented from being vented out of the stacks.

The total cost of this area emissions system was estimated to be $4.2 million. This represented only a part of a large pollution control program which totaled $28 million at the end of a five-year period. The purpose of the overall five-year program was to reduce, as much as possible, the emissions of the air and water pollutants from the company’s two plants.

So, at this time in 1978, the Brown Company had met the standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency and installed all required pollution-control equipment for air and water. They would also be working on more control systems in the near future. By 1980, Brown Company was gone.

By the beginning of August 1978, the new Androscoggin Valley Hospital was almost 90 percent complete and today, is approaching 40 years of service to this community.

During the beginning of October 1978, the site for the James Cleveland Bridge had changed again. Instead of being where Norm’s Trading Post once stood, the City Council voted to endorse the Smith Hydroelectric Plant parcel, as the new location for the proposed bridge over the Androscoggin River.

The decision was a reversal of an earlier Sept. 11, 1978, council endorsement of the trading post site and went against the strong recommendations of the Community Development Office and the City Planning Board for the Smith Hydro spot.

This battle took place and now went on for which site was the best one for this project, the southern bridge across the Androscoggin for Berlin. I did not know that there was so much bickering, and as we all know today, the winner was the trading post point.

During the end of September 1978, two hikers discovered a skeleton on the “Square Ledge Trail” in Pinkham Notch. These hikers had just made up their camp for the night and were walking around the area when they spied a white plastic water bottle. When they went to retrieve this bottle, they found the skeleton and the remains of a campsite.

The hikers reported their findings to the Appalachian Mountain Club the next day, Sept. 23. The club, in turn, notified the state police and detective Butch Lovin, along with the state Fish and Game Department. The remains were then taken to the forensic lab in Concord to be examined. Lovin said that the skeleton would then be transferred to a more comprehensive lab in Boston.

It was reported that the skeleton was found in a reclining position, as if the person had been asleep. A green sweater, buttons off Levi dungarees, and unbuckled belt buckle, untied leather shoes, a tattered sleeping bag, corncob pipe, toiletry items, fragments of a backpack and several European, near East and American coins were also found.

From the condition all the bones, Lovin said the body had been there quite some time, perhaps over six years. He also believed that they were the remains of a male. The detective did not know what caused the death, but it appeared the hiker died of natural causes. It might have been a heart attack, exposure or some type of other injury.

Forensic experts would examine the body using things like bone marrow, skull shape and teeth to try and learn about this find. Also, it would take time to get some concrete answers.

Along with this, there was a very good possibility that they would never find out the identity of this person. If he was not from the area, there probably wasn’t even a missing persons report.

The trail on which the skeleton was found is less than a 20-minute walk from Route 16. This is a popular trail for hikers that can’t camp along the highway.

I know a few more missing hikers that have been reported missing and never found. The mystery lingers on today. If I find an answer for this one, I will let my readers know of the results.

In a story written by Mr. Doug Hancock in October of 1978, Ralph Peloquin, a subject I have written about before, was considered the youngest fight promoter of his time. This was officially given to him in 1979 by the “Guinness Book of World Records.”

During September of 1978, Mr. Peloquin received word that he had been awarded this special honor. So, he bought the book to see if he was in it or was that a mistake. After purchasing the book, Ralph went through it from cover to cover and could not find his name anywhere. Being disappointed with his findings, Peloquin called the publishers of the book to see if the information that he was given was true or false. It was at this time that Mr. Peloquin was informed that the 1979 edition would have his title officially listed.

The event that won him this special title occurred back in 1937, 80 years ago, when he was 17. With the guidance and support of Reverend Father Lauzier, Peloquin was responsible for promoting an amateur boxing show at the St. Anne Parish Hall, where the new hall now stands on School Street. This hall trained approximately 50 boxers a day and was called the Catholic Boys Boxing Club.

He was also more than an active promoter before World War II, as he was also a boxer. Ralph began his fighting career in 1934, at the age of 14, but was two years under the legal age and lied to get into the ring.

Boxing was one of the major sports in this city back then and even had top-notch contenders come to Berlin and enter the ring.

Although he was a small man, Ralph held the light weight and bantamweight amateur tri-state championship of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont three years in a row. His final amateur boxing record was 34 knockouts, three decisions and three losses. What made the record though, was that he was the youngest fight promoter.

I will continue with you 1978 in my next writing.

Poof Tardiff writes a weekly column for The Berlin Daily Sun. Questions or comments email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Also, join the many fans of “Once upon a Berlin Time” on Facebook and guess at the posted weekly mystery pictures.

Square Ledge TrailSquare Ledge Trail

Smith HydroSmith Hydro

Peloquin RalphRalph Peloquin

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