Windham Life and Times – June 19, 2020

Windham Mid-Century Modern

The New Hampshire Sweepstakes

ABOVE: Salem N.H.— State police of New Hampshire flank the large drums containing the first-in-the-nation sweepstakes tickets, as they arrive at Rockingham park in Salem from drawing on July 15th.

RIGHT:  Second Sweepstakes Drawing— Judy Morrison of Dover, N.H., hands tickets to Dave Rubinstein at the second drawing of the New Hampshire Sweepstakes at Rockingham Park, in Salem, N.H., July 29. The New Hampshire Sweepstakes is the country’s first legal lottery since the Louisiana lottery closed in 1894. Winning tickets are guaranteed a minimum $200 to $300. They will win more if their horses enter the September race. The payoff will crest at $100,000 for tickets held on the winning horse. A third drawing will be held in early September.

     If you are interested in the subject there is a great book titled, “American Sweepstakes” by Kevin Flynn. It tells the story of “how one small state bucked the church, the feds, and the mob to usher in the lottery age.”

 

Windham Life and Times – June 12, 2020

Windham Mid-Century Modern

Photograph above- March 12, 1964: “New Hampshire Sweepstakes…people line up at ticket dispensing machines at Rockingham Park, where the nation’s first legal lottery of the 20th Century, the New Hampshire Sweepstakes commenced on March 12th.”

New Hampshire Sweepstakes – How the Game was Played

“Sweeps tickets went on sale March 12, 1964, at Rockingham Park. In a ceremony of much fanfare, Ed Powers sold the first $3 ticket to Governor King: #0000001. He held the slip high — the first legally purchased lottery ticket in the modern age — and the gathered crowd exploded into cheers. Then the rest of the sales windows opened and a crush of dreamers kept clerks working until one hour after the track was supposed to close.”

The genius behind the New Hampshire Sweeps was Ed Powers, who was a former FBI agent who had cracked the 3 million dollar Brinks heist. Powers was hired as the Executive director of the New Hampshire Sweepstakes because of his “unimpeachable reputation”  which quelled fears of “mob infiltration.”

“The major obstacles to a sweepstakes were federal rules prohibiting lottery material from the mail and laws against transporting gambling paraphernalia (like tickets) across state lines. Also, the Justice Department had publicly announced its fear a lottery would attract racketeers who would infiltrate and corrupt the operation. In secret meetings with the DOJ, King’s staff determined operating a lottery within New Hampshire would be permissible. But the FBI would take action if tickets crossed the border — an inevitability nearly impossible to prevent (and greatly encouraged).”

How did Powers and the state of New Hampshire get around the obstacle of federal restrictions? Easy! The Sweepstakes created a loophole by providing a carbon copy of the ticket to the people who bought them. The actual ticket remained in New Hampshire so never ran afoul of federal laws against crossing state lines. This opened the way for people from New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts to purchase tickets without breaking federal laws. The Sweeps were genius in another way. They promoted tourism in New Hampshire. Since the ticket had to be physically purchased in New Hampshire, people often planned a vacation around purchasing a Sweeps ticket.

So how did it work? Sweepstakes tickets were drawn from a giant drum. The winners then were matched with horses that ran in the Sweepstakes race at Rockingham Park. “In July, a pair of beauty queens pulled names from a rotating 2,400-pound Plexiglas drum and matched each one with one of the 332 horses hoping for a position in the race. For every $1 million in tickets sold, another batch of players and stallions would be drawn. In the end, there were six people whose fortunes rode on each horse. Among those selected to win prizes both large and small were an 8-year-old boy, a recently deceased immigrant, an office pool from New England Telephone and someone who signed the slip ‘Old Man Sunshine.’ ” So the six ticket holders who were matched with the winning horse, each won $100,000.

If you are interested in the subject there is a great book titled, “American Sweepstakes” by Kevin Flynn. It tells the story of “how one small state bucked the church, the feds, and the mob to usher in the lottery age.”

 

Windham Life and Times – June 5, 2020

Windham Mid-Century Modern

April 30, 1964. Gov. John W. King of New Hampshire as he prepared to sign into law today a bill making his state the first in 70 years to sanction a sweepstakes. King , 44, signed the bill over the opposition of Protestant clergyman and other Citizens of the Granite State

The New Hampshire Sweepstakes | Lotteries in America

The investors in the first permanent colony in the Untied States, Virginia, were granted permission to hold a lottery in order to help raise money in 1612. “In 1616, the company sent people on the road to sell tickets in “instant” lotteries outside of the capital. In these small-scale games, people could find out if they won a prize immediately after buying a ticket, similarly to scratch-and-win lotteries today. “To put an incorruptible face on the drawings, they made sure that a child drew the lots from the drums,” writes Matthew Sweeney in The Lottery Wars. These “instant” games were a huge success. Over the next four years, they brought in an estimated £29,000—nearly £8 million today…” “I am of the Company of Virginia, but I hear these lotteries do beggar [impoverish] every country they come into. Let Virginia lose rather than England.’ Public criticism of the lottery grew louder and the King eventually shut down the lotteries.”

Michael Troy at Unlearned History has a detailed account of lotteries in America for anybody who is interested. According to Troy, “Massachusetts Colony held its first lottery in 1745. “The Colony planned to sell 25,000 tickets at a cost of 30s (£1.5) per ticket.  The lottery would be overseen by a Board of Directors made up of leading figures in the colony: Samuel Watts, John Quincy, James Bowdoin, Robert Hale and Thomas Hutchinson…The total amount collected from the sale of all tickets was £37,500.  Prizes ranged from two top awards of £1250, to 5250 awards of £3,15s (about double your money-back). There were a total of 5422 awards, meaning your chances of winning something was about 25%.  To total amount awarded as prizes was £37,500.  But wait, you may ask yourself.  If total tickets sales was £37,500 and total award money was £37,500, how did they make money? The answer is with taxes.  Each award came with a 20% tax, meaning the winner only received 80% of the award amount.  Total collections from taxes would be £7,500, minus the costs of running the lottery.”  Lotteries were used to help fiancé the Revolutionary War, provide extra money for state governments and to fund the establishment of colleges such as Harvard.

“Then, in the 1830’s public opinion began to turn against lotteries. Several lottery scams helped turn public opinion against gambling.  Traditional religious opposition to gambling, combined with social reform movements that saw the cost of gambling with no real societal benefit caused many leaders to decide it was a harm to society that needed to be abolished. In 1833, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and New York banned all lotteries.  Other States soon followed.  By 1860, only three states still permitted lotteries: Delaware, Missouri, and Kentucky. Although it was illegal, many enterprises sold lottery tickets for these States throughout the country. After the Civil War, a federal law made it illegal to use the US mail to distribute lottery tickets….But the reconstruction years were hard times.  In 1868, the Louisiana legislature was desperate for money.  Its notoriously corrupt legislature made a deal with a criminal syndicate from New York to create a State lottery with a 25 year charter, and establishing the syndicate as the sole lottery provider. The Louisiana Lottery became wildly popular throughout the country, despite restrictions on using US mail.  About 90% of its revenues came from out of state sales.  Louisiana soon became the only legal lottery in the US.  Finally in 1895, Congress barred any transmission of lottery tickets across State lines by any means. With out of state sales becoming impossible, the Louisiana lottery was abolished. With the death of the Louisiana Lottery, all States had outlawed lotteries…For nearly three generations, Americans would not have any options to play the lottery legally anywhere in the US.”

“While legal lotteries disappeared, gamblers turned to organized crime for their lottery fix.  The “numbers racket” grew increasingly popular in many cities.  Most of these operated much like the daily lotteries run by States today.  A random three digit number would give a pay out, usually of 600 to 1…Other Americans turned abroad.  The Irish sweepstakes began in 1930.  It derived most of its revenue from US purchases. The importation and sale of such tickets in the US was illegal.  Nevertheless, the Irish Sweepstakes became wildly popular for many years.”  Everything changed in 1964 when the Sweepstakes was legalized in New Hampshire.

http://unlearnedhistory.blogspot.com/2016/01/america-built-by-lottery.html

https://www.history.com/news/13-colonies-funding-lottery

Windham Life and Times-May 29, 2020

Windham: Mid-Century Modern

New Hampshire First in the Nation…Lottery.

Oh how far New Hampshire has fallen from it’s long held “Live Free or Die” roots. The story of the New Hampshire Sweepstakes is a fascinating journey into the workings of a state with no sales or income taxes, in need of revenue sources, and how it was seen by many politicians in Concord as a lesser evil to institute a lottery than introduce broad based tax measures.  And even if it meant going up against all of the power and regulatory power  of the federal government.

On April 30, 1964, Governor John W. King, a democrat, signed into law a bill making New Hampshire the first state in 70 years to sanction a sweepstakes.

According to the New Hampshire Lottery Commission: “State Representative Larry Pickett of Keene saw a sweepstakes as a viable and voluntary method of raising money for education. Between 1953 and 1963, Pickett proposed a Sweepstakes bill five times, finally succeeding in getting it passed in 1963. On April 30 of that year, Governor John King signed the bill.

There was opposition to the “Sweepstakes.” It was an interesting tight-rope walk since it was seen as fine for the state to sell booze, but gambling was somehow a moral menace. A February 28, 1964 editorial from the Derry News states, “Throughout New Hampshire the Committee of One Hundred has met with surprising support in its campaign to get a ‘no’ vote against the sweepstakes ballot question on Town Meeting day, March 10… Even Salem, with backing of the very top management at Rockingham race track, has organized a local committee to get out the ‘no’ vote for sweepstakes in that town. This is not surprising  for there are many, many people in New Hampshire who have a very uneasy-feeling about supporting a lottery scheme as a means of financing the cost of state government”

“Let it be understood that a vote against the sweepstakes in not a vote against the governor, nor the legislature, nor the law of the state. In fact, the legislators specifically made it mandatory that the voters have a chance to vote on the issue in every town in New Hampshire before the sweepstakes is finally accepted or rejected as a taxing scheme…We urge the people of Derry to vote against the sweepstakes on Town Meeting Day…The sweepstakes can’t begin to fill the gap. Let’s scrap this costly tax gimmick and put our minds to the business of coming up with an effective and more efficient tax program. Sooner or later we are going to have to face it. If the sweepstakes is killed in New Hampshire on balloting day March 10, the air will be cleared so that a sound taxing program can be developed. It cannot come until we lay this half-measure scheme to rest…” (Needless to say, this seems a very odd way to build support for a sweepstakes no vote…vote no so we can pass a sales or income tax, which the state still has not seen fit to pass.)

William Loeb, the publisher of the Manchester Union Lear backed the sweepstakes; we assume because of his opposition to broad based taxes. “And now the publisher of the Manchester Union Leader isn’t so sure that he has completely sold the majority of the people in the state, despite his repeated statements that an overwhelming number of people support the sweeps. In an impassioned front page editorial last week, the out-of-state publisher strongly urged those in favor of the sweeps to get out and vote.”

Again from the Derry News, “Delores Bridges Joins Bass In Denouncing Sweepstakes. Effective opposition to the New Hampshire Sweepstakes went into high gear this week with the mailing of 20,000 copies of a four page broadside that brought the names of additional citizens to public attention. ‘Considered’ the official publication of the Committee of One Hundred that seeks repeal of the sweepstakes, took to newspaper tabloid form this week with page one headlines that highlighted the opposition of Mrs. Styles Bridges, widow of the former United States Senator, and former congressman Perkins Bass of Peterborough. Mrs. Bridges is quoted from a newspaper interview in Manchester two weeks ago in which she cited the sweepstakes as further evidence of the ‘moral decay’ of our society. She says in the interview that there is no evidence to convince her that the majority of New Hampshire residents approve the sweepstakes… The publication draws heavily on a recent study conducted in Nevada that shows the impact of legalized gambling has made in that state. Officials of the Committee of One Hundred cite the high incidence of crime—in Nevada and insist this can be an expected end for New Hampshire if the sweepstakes be approved at the March 10th primary.”

“Mrs. Rodney Ellis chairman of the Education Committee of the New Hampshire Farm Bureau released the following statement…Enactment of a Sweepstakes Lottery as a means of financing education is as stupid as it is inconsistent…Present state income used for education is derived from such uncertain sources as tobacco and liquor sales and racing. Adding a sweepstakes only increases its unreliability…vote no on the referendum March 10, 1964. Then we can settle on a sound, equitable tax as a firm foundation for present and future education in New Hampshire.”

“New Hampshire cities and towns voted by special ballot, with 198 of the state’s 211 communities voting in favor of starting a lottery. On March 12, 1964, two days after the vote, Sweepstakes tickets went on sale – and the benefits to New Hampshire schools began.”

Windham Life and Times – May 22, 2020

Windham Mid-Century Modern

1960 | Rockingham Park goes Upscale

If you spent any time at the Rockingham Park Clubhouse, like I did once and a while, in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, it would be hard to imagine that this was once considered an upscale public venue. The Rock was a popular and profitable place in the 1960’s. The Edge of Megalopolis states that, The history of Rockingham Park through the 41 years since the beginning, have been for the most part a recurrence of that kind of pleasant surprise. A promotional pamphlet for the Town of Salem, prepared probably in 1939 although it does not carry a date, listed the track’s earnings for the state as $2,813,198. A history of the park drafted in 1957 used the revised figure of ‘more than $36,000,000’ and an edited copy of that printed history possibly used in the preparation of an updated account, carried the amended notation ‘nearly $49,000,000.’ ” In other words, Rockingham Park was incredibly lucrative for Lou Smith and his partners but also for New Hampshire.

“The new clubhouse was started in 1955, completed the following year, with a price tag in round figures of $1,000,000 and said to be the ‘finest anywhere.’ The opening day attendance was a new record with 2,700 more people than had ever before activated the turnstiles.” Of course the first-in-the-nation sweepstakes program (or lottery) was started right here at the Rock in 1964. I remember in the summer of 1971, I was parking cars at Dunkin Beach on Cobbett’s Pond, when a gentleman pulled up in a big ole convertible, dropped off his family, and asked me to hold a space for him so that he could go to the track. I put a barrel in the spot and when he returned a couple of hours later, I let him pull right into the spot. He gave me a twenty for my trouble because he had won big! I was 14 at the time and was pretty impressed. Of course, “horse people” rented or owned several cottages on Cobbetts.

Big Time Talent on Display At “Rock” For Charity Spectacular.

“The Derry News 1960: A glittering array of talent which would do credit to televisions most elaborate spectacular has been pledged for Lutza Smith’s annual party for the Crippled Childrens Non-Sectarian Fund at the air-conditioned Rocking Park Clubhouse on Sunday August 7.”

“Such show stoppers as Frankie Avalon, Jerry Vale, Errol Garner, and Lonnie Sattin, top a solid production worth many times the contribution price of ten dollars. And all receipts will be dedicated to Mrs. Smith’s charity which has expended more than $600,000 on crippled and handicapped youngsters.”

“From these mid-summer parties at the clubhouse the fund has derived to date more than $125,000, with the remainder accounted for by donations during the year. Virtually every horseman, jockey and employee on the grounds has reserved a tickets for the big affair, and Mrs. Smith is looking forward to another financial and artistic success. Aunt Lutza as she is known to her many ‘exceptional children’ has never let them down.”

According to Franciscan Childrens, “A new building, sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, was constructed to help meet the needs of an expanding population and affiliations with area universities began. As the hospital’s reputation spread far and wide, so too did its list of friends. Lou & Lutza Smith, dear friends of Cardinal Cushing, became part of the hospital’s family, providing financial support, countless parties  and entertainment events for the children…In 1961, our first surgical suite opened in a new pavilion, named after Lou and Lutza Smith.

 

 

Windham Life and Times – May 15, 2020

Windham Mid-Century Modern – 1960

The Trampoline Pit Craze

The year, 1960,  saw the craze of the trampoline pit sweep across America. Windham was home to one of the first trampoline “centers” in New Hampshire, which was located next to Sandy’s bowling alley on Route 28. I know what you’re thinking, “that seems like a lot of fun,” and it was until you bounced off the thing and you landed on your head. This was a phenomenon like many in the 1960’s that was a “hit and run.” These places opened up and were extremely popular but serious accidents soon forced their demise. I remember the pits at Sandy’s and the night we were there a young girl lost her doll down in the pit and she began screaming at the top of her lungs to get it back. The attendant climbed down through the springs and retrieved it for her, and the screaming ceased.

This is the grand opening report from the Derry News: “The Trampoline Tumbling Craze which began in California as ‘kiddie-bait’ at drive in theaters has arrived in the Derry area. Local participants, however insist that it is no craze but actually a health gimmick good for the figure and weight control.”

“John P. Brown, the motion picture actor turned circus star, popularized the trampoline in 1906 and it has been standard equipment under the big top and in gyms across the country ever since. When the ‘kangaroo carpets’ were installed outside Sandy’s Bowladrome in Windham recently, passing motorists were mystified at the number of jumping people, wondering if an out of space invasion were on.”

The trampolines were an immediate hit with the people of all ages, shapes, and sizes in the Derry area. Many Derryites including Dick Laney, have become very proficient in a short time. Some go for the acrobatics, but many enjoy gentle bouncing as an aid to digestion and for keeping the body beautiful.”

Trampolining which was a popular act on the American stage since 1789, is thought by some to be dangerous to life and limb. Actually statistics indicate it is safer than Little League Baseball. For more bounce to the ounce, the place to go is Sandy’s Bowladrome in Windham.”

“Caption for the photograph above: “BOTTOMS UP — Derry’s Dickie Laney shown in temporary ‘orbit’ at Sandy’s Bowladrome trampoline area in Windham, has the poise and polish of an old time circus performer. It may come as a surprise to learn that this flight was taken after only a few trips to the popular Windham exercise spot. Experts say he could become one of the best.” Yumpin’ Yiminy! Trampolines were open from 1 p.m. to Midnight, and cost 50 cents for a 1/2 hour.

 

Windham Life and Times – May 8, 2020

Windham Mid-Century Modern

1959-60 | Rowdy Boaters on Cobbett’s Pond

The Cobbett’s Pond Association met in the lower hall of the town hall, Wednesday evening. Considerable discussion was held relative to power boat nuisances, particularly the noise annoyance late at night. A catered supper was enjoyed by the Cobbett’s Pond Association at Akerman’s Hall in Salem. The seven special prizes were awarded as follows; Transistor radio, Rudy Pivovar; Afghan, Althea Lamson; Dinner Cloth, Bertha Johnson; Grocery Order, Carolyn Cochran; Four Strings of Bowling to each: Mr. Rattatort, Roger Hardy, and R. Cameron; The hand made baby set was won by D. Burns.

Windham Life and Times – April 24, 2020

Almost Deja Flu

The 1918-19 Influenza Pandemic.

A conductor checks to see if passengers are wearing required masks in Seattle, in 1918. An open-air barber shop. Public events were encouraged to be held outdoors to hinder the spread of the disease during the influenza epidemic. The University of California, Berkeley, in 1919.

“Between 1918 and 1919, an outbreak of influenza spread rapidly across the world, and killed more than 50 million—and possibly as many as 100 million—people within 15 months. The speed of the pandemic was shocking; the numbers of dead bodies overwhelmed hospitals and cemeteries. Quarantine centers, emergency hospitals, public use of gauze masks, and awareness campaigns were all undertaken swiftly to halt the spread. But as World War I was coming to a close, millions of soldiers were still traveling across the globe, aiding the spread of the disease. While its exact origins are still debated, it’s understood that the “Spanish Flu” did not come from Spain. The name seems to have arisen as reporting about influenza cases was censored in war-affected countries, but Spain was neutral, so frequent stories appeared about the deadly flu in Spain…the battle against one of the deadliest events in human history, when the flu killed up to 6 percent of the Earth’s population in just over a year. The Atlantic. April 10, 2018

The congregation prays on the steps of the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption, where they gathered to attend mass and pray during the influenza epidemic, in San Francisco, California

“The strain was not only virulent and lethal but extraordinarily violent. It presented a suite of symptoms rarely seen with influenza—symptoms so unusual it was sometimes misdiagnosed as dengue, cholera, or typhoid. Patients exhibited a range of complications including hemorrhage from mucous membranes in the nose, stomach, and intestine. Flu sufferers sometimes bled from their ears and eyes, or even right through unbroken skin…And the 1918 flu targeted young adults. Those between ages 20-40 accounted for most of all deaths. The over 50 age group was far less affected. Perhaps more disturbing is the fact that the actual flu disease was not responsible for the majority of deaths associated with the influenza in 1918-19, it was secondary bacterial pneumonia so nasty pathologists conducting autopsies found the lungs in such a devastated condition the only thing they could compare it to was victims of poison gas. Military doctors called it “atypical pneumonia” back then. Today it’s referred to as Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). The Army’s board judged that ‘more than half” of all the deaths among soldiers came from this atypical pneumonia.”

University of Montana, Missoula, 1919. During the influenza epidemic, classes were held outdoors. Influenza patients getting sunlight at the Camp Brooks emergency open-air hospital in Boston. Medical staff were not supposed to remove their masks. Photos from the (National Archives)

“Intense and protracted prostration led to hysteria, melancholia, and insanity with suicidal intent,” reported New York City Health Department’s chief pathologist on patients bedridden for so long if the disease didn’t kill them they were often driven mad with depression. https://buckrail.com/covid-nothing-new

“Putting infected patients out in the sun may have helped because it inactivates the influenza virus. It also kills bacteria that cause lung and other infections in hospitals. During the First World War, military surgeons routinely used sunlight to heal infected wounds. They knew it was a disinfectant. What they didn’t know is that one advantage of placing patients outside in the sun is they can synthesize vitamin D in their skin if sunlight is strong enough. This was not discovered until the 1920s. Low vitamin D levels are now linked to respiratory infections and may increase susceptibility to influenza. Also, our body’s biological rhythms appear to influence how we resist infections. New research suggests they can alter our inflammatory response to the flu virus. As with vitamin D, at the time of the 1918 pandemic, the important part played by sunlight in synchronizing these rhythms was not known. Doctors who had first-hand experience of open-air therapy at the hospital in Boston were convinced the regimen was effective. It was adopted elsewhere. If one report is correct, it reduced deaths among hospital patients from 40 per cent to about 13 per cent. According to the Surgeon General of the Massachusetts State Guard.” https://medium.com/@ra.hobday/coronavirus-and-the-sun-a-lesson-from-the-1918-influenza-pandemic-509151dc8065

Today’s Covid-19 or SARS-CoV-2 or whatever they’re calling it this week shares many of the attributes of past influenza outbreaks. Only time will tell if this time its different and to what degree. Hopefully, its not nearly as deadly.

California A Physics class, University of Montana, Missoula, 1919. During the influenza epidemic, classes were held outdoors.