Windham Life and Times – July 28, 2017

Windham Anniversary Celebrations

June 9, 1892 | August 16, 1942 | August 7-30 1992

The photograph above came to me a few weeks ago, by way of Jim Bull, from Peter Griffin. It just dawned on me today, that this is a photograph of The Windham 200th Anniversary Celebration in 1942. It is showing the dedication of the war service flag with nineteen stars. The mothers of the service-men are seated to the right.


“In 1942, Windham was a sleepy little town of farms and woodlands and a population of about 735 people. The town had one industry, a tack factory, manned entirely by the gentleman who owned it. There was no regular fire department and the one truck, that had recently been purchased, was manned entirely by volunteers. There was one place of worship; The Windham Presbyterian Church. ‘And Windham laid claim to only four street lights, all located near the Canobie Lake Railroad Station. Somehow or the other the town gets along without streetlights and will not have to worry much about blackouts.’ ”

“Windham at that point was dependent on the summer resort business. And 1942 was a bad year as a result of the war and rationing. Many of the visitors who spent the whole part of the summer there were staying home, not being able to make long trips with their cars. The folks who were living in cottages at Cobbett’s Pond, Shadow Lake and Canobie Lake, were driving from their camps to catch the train at the Canobie Lake Station, rather than driving the full distance to work.”

The Program for the Windham 200th Celebration

“At the time of the celebration there were nineteen Windham men wearing the uniforms of the armed services and fighting in World War II. Because of gasoline shortages and rationing, Windham was forced to limit the size and length of the long planned celebration. ‘Instead of three days of merry-making, water carnivals, historical pageants and old homestead reunions, the town will keep the celebration down to one day.’ ”

“Giving orations that day were clergymen, prominent citizens and Governor Blood. The highlight of the celebration was the dedication of the war service flag containing nineteen stars and honoring the boys that were fighting in the war.”

The folks lined up are Barbara Myers, Florence Garland, John Cochran, J. Arthur Nesmith, Gov. Robert O. Blood, Rev. Lester Evans, Maurice Tarbell, Mrs. Cassius Campbell, and Audrey Hughes. The

“Lester Evans, Presbyterian pastor, presided over the morning and afternoon rites. J Arthur Nesmith, general chairman of the observance, and a direct descendant of one of the 16 original settlers of the town welcomed the crowd in the afternoon and spoke about previous anniversaries. The dedication of the service flag was conducted by Maurice Tarbell, a World War I veteran. Ironically, his son would be the only Windham casualty in World War II. There were papers delivered, more speeches made, letters of congratulations read, poems spoken and more prayers offered. Music was provided by the Masonic Band and a chicken dinner was served to nearly 400 people at town hall.

     The Windham 275th Anniversary Celebration will be August 4 – 13 , 2017.




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