Poof Tardiff: 1978 X

Hello fellow Berlinites. In November of 1978, there were about 230 parking meters in downtown Berlin. Local citizens had backed into them with their cars, bumped into them with their bodies and devoted much of their shopping efforts to keeping them well fed with coins.

Now, in late 1978, the Downtown Revitalization Committee was fighting to get them removed, if they got the approval of the City Council. Committee members voted to recommend removal of the meters at a meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 1978. They had directed Jeff Taylor of the development staff to meet with the Chamber of Commerce and downtown merchants to gain more support.

Other recommendations were made by the members of the community development department. One was for a two-level parking deck on the site of the old Buber Block on Main Street, between the Princess Theater and Smith and Town. This would provide additional 60 off-street parking spaces and be a supplement for the projected hotel-motel-restaurant complex that was going to be built at the southern end of Green Square. Of course, the complex did not happen.

Also endorsed was the closing of Bickford Lane to car traffic, which was one away from Main to Pleasant Street. Everything that was recommended was done to give downtown Berlin an entirely new look.

Just under one month later, the headlines read “Meter Fees Suspended.” People could put away their pennies and nickels, because, effective immediately all parking meter fees in Berlin were temporarily canceled.

The police department was advised by the city council not to collect parking meter fees and to dispense with enforcing the parking meter laws until Feb. 12, 1979. This decision came in response to a request by the city’s downtown merchants for removal of the parking meters. Sixty-three of the 70 merchants polled voted in favor of their removal.

The merchant’s arguments were that: 1. They were unattractive. 2. Some did not work. 3. It would be easier to plow sidewalks and streets without them. 4. The revenue from the meters was negligible. 5. It would give the merchants a more competitive position with nearby shopping centers. 6. They did not contribute to the turnover of traffic.

The final decision and not been made at this time, and the city council opted for a two-month trial period to determine whether or not the downtown merchants' claims were valid.

By Nov. 22, 1978, forensic experts and state police were still trying to find out the identity of the skeleton found in Pinkham Notch during September. State police officer Robert Lovin said that his department did not have much to go on. About all that they had determined was that the skeleton was definitely that of a male in his early to mid 20s.

From the condition of the bones, forensic experts believed that the skeleton had been in the notch since 1972. Experts were unable to determine the cause of the death either. Lovin said that the department had one missing person report from out of state and that they had to check it out. If this account fell through, the department would then be releasing information to the public, in hopes that someone could provide a clue to the skeleton’s identity.

The skeleton was found on the “Square Ledge Trail” in Pinkham Notch by two hikers. After reporting it to the Appalachian Mountain Club, the state police took over the job of finding its identity. The remains were taken to Concord and later transferred to a Boston lab.

Listed in the local papers on Dec. 6, 1978 was a short story of one of the city’s great heroes, Michael Durant, who was shot down in a helicopter while fighting in Somalia in the early 1990s. After six days of being a POW, Michael was released by the warlords. The book "Black Hawk Down" was written about the incident by journalist Mark Bowdin.

In the paper was a picture of Durant that said “Delayed entry enlistment” and that he was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Leon Durant of 400 Madison Ave. in Berlin and had enlisted in the U.S. Army under the delayed entry program.

Mike, who was a senior at Berlin High School, graduated in 1979 and left for basic training at Fort Leonard Wood Missouri on Aug. 30 of that same year. After basic training, Durant was going to report to the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif., where he would receive training as an electronic warfare signal intelligence interceptor.

He was then to report to the Goodfellow AFB in San Antonio, Texas, where he would receive his skills training and ultimately be assigned to an electronic warfare cryptology unit. Mike’s status must have changed during his Army career, as he was the pilot of a Black Hawk helicopter that was shot down and survived the crash and the beatings that he received at hands of his Somalian captives.

Mike is the nephew of my great friend Sam Paquette, who passed away in June of 2015. Mr. Durant’s story made the headlines of all the major newspapers, television networks and magazines in this country. He finally did return to Berlin for a great hero's welcome.

Finally, for this week’s story of 1978, City Manager James Smith put in his resignation. After five years of service to the community of Berlin, Smith felt that he no longer had the support of the city council necessary to effectively pursue this city’s business.

He could, therefore, see no other alternative than to resign the position of city manager of the city of Berlin. His resignation became effect of on Dec. 31, 1978.

His resignation and its reasons for this, were presented in a three-page letter to the city council on Monday night Nov. 13, 1978. Smith’s major contention was that the city council members had lost sight of the overall objectives of the city’s revitalization and development projects.

Rather than looking at the overall picture, Smith claimed that the council had bogged down in the details of the smaller projects that made up larger and more important revitalization programs.

He referred to the lengthy debate on the location of today’s (2017) James Cleveland Bridge as an example. He also said that if the city spent as much time on other projects as it did on this bridge, it would never see the completion of the revitalization effort.

Mr. Smith went on and on about the failure that he had with the City Council and after the work session, summed up his feelings about his resignation. “I am happy with where we have gone, but not so much where we are going.” He truly wished Berlin well.

With this resignation, Community Development Director Michael Donovan became Berlin’s newest city manager on Jan. 1, 1979.

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.

Smith James C. 2James C. Smith

Scan 20170704 8Globe Shopping Center

Parking meters 1Parking meters

Durant MikeMike Durant


Poof Tardiff: 1978 IX

Hello fellow Berlinites. On September 29, 1978, Paul Nadeau came close to losing his life in an accident that closed the corner of Pleasant and Mason Streets for a whole day. The accident shut down electrical power to 500 customers for one hour and 15 minutes and required a 10-man force and five trucks from Public Service Company to repair the damage done by Nadeau’s front end loader.

This is how it happened 39 years ago. During the morning of Sept. 26, 1978, Mr. Nadeau picked up the front end loader from a construction site near the Northland Dairy Bar and headed south on Main Street toward Gorham for another job.

As he crossed the tracks in the back of the Bowling Center on Pleasant Street, he lost his brakes heading for the busy intersection of Pleasant and Mason Streets. He quickly shifted into reverse, hoping to slow the vehicle down, but lost control of the machine. Within seconds the loader had snapped off a telephone pole at the base and engulfed the loader with a mass of high voltage power lines. The loader had a mass of sparks that shot from over 4,000 volts of electricity.

Nadeau thought that he would die very quickly, but did not move at all. That was a wise choice, as a Public Service arrived only minutes after the accident. They then told him to remain in the cab until they cut the power. Then, he was helped out of the vehicle, lucky to be alive.

The brand-new Androscoggin Valley Hospital was dedicated on Nov. 26, 1978. This new hospital represented the largest investment ever made in an Upper Androscoggin Valley community, in terms of its time and money and it was truly a community hospital.

At this time, it became the most modern building in probably the entire state of New Hampshire. The new hospital did not open for patients until Dec. 9, 1978 which was after the dedication. This hospital keeps adding modern technology today, keeping up with the times almost 40 years later in 2017.

Beside having a new hospital, we had a new route to this facility and it had to acquire a name. Here is a short story of how this road got its name. This particular name was the idea of Mrs. Lucy K. Beaudoin, daughter of former Berlin Mayor Eli J. King. Mrs. Beaudoin, who lived at 1625 Upper Main St., was a member of the AVH dedication committee. She presented the idea to the trustees and directors of the hospital on Thursday night Nov. 23, 1978, in response to the committee’s concern for a name of this new Berlin Road. Approval for the name, which was Page Hill Road was almost unanimous.

Mrs. Beaudoin reasoned that the name ought to have some historical significance and was encouraged in this reasoning by Mr. Harold Titus, who helped her research local historical records. Their findings led them to settle on Page Hill Road as the most representative historical name for this street.

In their research, they found that in 1773, a log cabin was built on the hill behind the new hospital facility by an early North Country settler called Hunter Page. Remnants of the cabin’s foundation and hearthstone were found and documented by Mrs. Beaudoin’s husband the late Victor Beaudoin the great Brown Company photographer, back in the early 1940s. Lucy still had pictures of the old cabin site taken by her husband. Victor had searched for this site for a number of years.

According to an excerpt from the “History of Coos County,” the cabin was located in the town of Success, a town granted to Benjamin Machay and others, who owned the R. C. Pingree and Company of Lewiston, Maine in 1773.

It must have been a terribly short-lived community, for apart from Hunter Page’s residence being there, the records show that prior to 1823, only five other families occupied the house for a very limited period of time. These were the families of Benjamin, Abiatha and Lowell Bean (Bean Brook), John Messer and Elijah Griffin. After this date, there were scarcely any inhabitants in the Success area.

Having discovered this information, Mrs. Beaudoin felt that the name Page Hill Road would be historically suitable for this route. Cates Hill Road was an historical name for the road on the West Side of the Androscoggin River, so now they needed an historical name for the East Side of the river. Page Pond in Shelburne was also named after Hunter Page, this early pioneer settler of Success.

During early November, 1978, Berlin High School, which started playing field hockey during the fall of 1951, won its first state championship in this sport and since then has won many more. I have to vouch for the great girl athletes of Berlin High School back then, as I coached varsity softball during the years before, during and after they took all honors in the state, with this great field hockey team.

Sportswriter Mike Gaydo said that a colossal tip of the hat had to go out to Ellie Emery’s BHS girl’s field hockey team in the fall of 1978. They capped an amazing season by copping the state championship in field hockey with a 4-2 double shootout win over the Dover High Green Wave in the Division 1 finals.

This championship was Berlin’s first in this sport which had been played for 27 years here at Berlin High School. This fall, 2017 will be the 66th year that field hockey girls at BHS have taken to this sport.

The victory in 1978 took away some of the sting caused by some very tough tourney losses for the Berlin High School girls in softball, basketball and field hockey, during the mid-1970s. Since the inception of the NHIAA field hockey tournament, Ellie Emery had led the Lady Mountaineers to a 30–6-7 record. The locals did not qualify in 1976, and bowed to White Mountain Regional in a heartbreaking loss in 1977.

The year 1978, was completely different though. During this year Berlin outscored its four opponents 13 to 2 in the tourney, although they were outplayed statistically and territorially often in these games.

Senior Liza Morrissette and Gail (Winger) Richards had 29 goals between them during the season and junior sensation Sonia Fillion, score 20 goals on her own. Linda Morrissette and Ellen Bertrand were also high-scoring juniors.

The locals were often outplayed and it seemed that they were also whistled for a majority of the violations. However, they had what was required in the clutch, scoring the goals when they needed to. Also, they had senior goaltender Sandy Larochelle.

Sandy was simply immense throughout the season and tournament. Over the final four games, she had a scoreless streak of 260 minutes. In addition, she allowed only two of 15 penalty strokes to get by her.

There have been many gyms and fields where the Berlin High School girls lost heartbreaking tourney contests, and I was part of them many times. This day in November of 1978 though, the tears were tears of joy and victory.

I do know that Ellie Emery will get this story wherever she is, and when she does, I just want to say I to say hello to an old friend and fellow coach. Hope all is well, Ellie.

I will continue with the year 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 previously posted weekly mystery pictures.

New AVHNew Androscoggin Valley Hospital

Coach EmeryCoach Emery

Beaudoin Lucy KLucy K Beaudoin

1978 State Champs1978 State Champs


Real Value of a Summer Job


By Jeff Woodburn

It’s summer and the kids are out of high school and home from college, but what are they doing? For the vast majority teenagers — more than two-thirds — the answer is nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Studies reveal that as few as a quarter of all students aged 16-24 work summer jobs. The number of young people temporarily joining the workforce has declined consistently from about 50 percent a decade ago. The economy and demographics are certainly a factor as is the "product development" mentality that sends many kids to specialized camps when they're younger or unpaid internships when they're older.

I would presume it has more to do with our prevalent culture of comfort and abundance that has become the norm for people of widely varying economic conditions. Beyond the short-term money, menial summer employment gives young people a sense of responsibility, humility and rare common sense. Academic settings are hardly equipped to provide the tough love and simple truths that come from a few summers at the college of hard knocks.

This year, like many teenagers before him, my 14-year old son landed a summer job at the iconic White Mountain theme-park Santa's Village, where generations of youngsters before him developed important social, employment skills along the way, and had a lot of fun and freedom. Unlucky by almost every economic standard, Coos County is a great place to get summer job with a plethora of tourist-related seasonal job opportunities enhanced by a rapidly aging population and a declining labor pool.

While in high school and college, I had several different jobs, including a cemetery landscaper, janitor, factory worker, dishwasher and carpenter’s helper. I learned as much in these jobs as in any classroom. It was at my earliest job at the cemetery where I got some inkling of what life had in store for me. Every so often, an old vacant graveside would need to be opened up for a new burial. The old lots were too tight for a backhoe to fit around the old tombstones, so I’d have to dig the grave by hand. One day waist-high in hole, I encountered a large rock that seemed immovable to me and my puny efforts. I went to the sexton and explained the finality of the situation. I was off the hook, or so I thought. I was told matter-of-factly that it couldn’t stay there, and I had to get it out – one way or another. I dug, chipped and cussed away at the impossibility of this chore, but finally I got it out. I don’t remember any satisfaction or epiphany from this experience — only an aching discomfort.

I recall the dreary rhythm of the night shift at the old paper mill, degrading looks from some of my dorm-mates as I cleaned their toilets, the rigid and demeaning social segregation that once defined the grand hotels, and trying to avoid the scorn of a hot-headed chef and a quarrelsome old carpenter.

Mostly, these jobs made me feel insignificant, often inadequate and easily replaceable. They hardly added to my intellect or training, but they made me tough when dealing with adversity and tender when faced with human frailty. It has mostly served me well by humbling me in success and sustaining me in failure. It is these lessons that our kids need most.

Jeff Woodburn of Whitefield, is a freelance writer, former teacher and the North Country's State Senator.


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

Brown Company 1Brown Company


Yale University's letter on Northern Pass lease


Recently, Yale has been asked to intervene in the development of a 192-mile transmission line, known as Northern Pass, that would bring hydropower from Quebec to New Hampshire and other New England States. The focus of petitioners has been lands in northern New Hampshire owned by Bayroot LLC. Responsibility for managing these lands rests with Wagner Forest Management, which in 2012 decided to lease these lands to the developer of the Northern Pass project.

Pointing to the July 1, 2017 expiration of the initial term of lease, petitioners sought the termination of the lease and prevention of its renewal.

The petitioners fail to recognize several important facts. First, institutional investors such as Yale typically invest with managers through partnership arrangements that limit the investors’ ability to control decisions from both a legal and best practices perspective. Second, Wagner Forest Management did not have the ability to terminate the option to renew under the terms of the lease. Third, as a matter of public record and as reported in the press, the developer of the project has exercised its option to renew the lease and the term has been extended to 2110.

The Northern Pass project is undergoing rigorous review in the State of New Hampshire, under the purview of the Site Evaluation Committee.

Wagner Forest Management practices sustainable forest management on the Bayroot LLC lands in conformance with certification standards promulgated by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), as confirmed by independent auditors. Moreover, the firm works closely with major conservation organizations, participating in a range of conservation initiatives. The Yale Investments Office views Wagner Forest Management as a world-class manager of timberland.

Yale’s longstanding approach to Endowment management is to identify and engage high-quality investment managers and to give them investment discretion. This approach has served Yale well, as demonstrated by the significant financial support the Endowment has provided to students and faculty over the decades.

Editor's note: The above statement was put out by the Yale University Office of Public Affairs and Communications in response to requests that the university intervene in the Northern Pass project and public criticism of its position to date.