Site Number 31.  The Newmarket Memorial Bandstand. 

    Late in 1918, a committee of 20 citizens began to make plans to erect two war memorials.  One would commemorate those who had fought in the War of the Rebellion—the Civil War.  The other memorial would honor those who had just served in the Great War.  Also called the War to End all Wars, it would be 20 years before it was called World War I.

    The committee focused first on raising funds. They scheduled a three-day event in February 1919.  Mill agent Walter M. Gallant removed all the machinery from the basements of Mills #5 and 6 to make room for a large indoor carnival—Newmarket’s  “Victory Bazaar”. 

    Entertainment varied from the Hicks Jazz Band from Boston to the Newmarket Cornet Band that provided free dancing each evening.

    Outside there was a dignified military parade, while inside—straight from New York City— there was Minnie the Mermaid, a native of the Amazon River Basin.  A local newspaper ad must have aroused curiosity: “Wanted:  live fish to feed Minnie the Mermaid at the Victory Bazaar.  Fish to be delivered alive each day.  Eels not accepted.” 

    It turned out to be the most successful indoor event ever held in town.  Over 7,000 people from surrounding towns attended the event, and it netted nearly $2000.  While taxpayers did end up paying some of the cost for the memorials, the Victory Bazaar got the effort off to a rousing start.

    At the request of town veterans and local businessmen, both memorials were placed along the public parade route through town.  Construction began in October 1920, and the Memorial Bandstand was dedicated on July 4th 1923. 

    Before the mills left town, there were noontime concerts for factory workers on their lunch break.  Barber Bennie Kendrigan would often put down his razor, pick up his violin and jog across the street to play for a number—and then go back to his lathered-up customer.

    After the next world war, a new Honor Roll was installed that also included the names of women who served.  Forty-four years later, plaques were placed here to honor those who served in Korea and Vietnam.

    The bandstand underwent some repairs before Newmarket’s 250th celebration in 1977.   It became a focal point for several of the 250th events and continued to be used for heritage festivals and old home celebrations.

    There was a 2001 proposal to move the bandstand to Arbor Park; but it never managed to find enough support.  However, the town’s Memorial Trust Committee has plans for a new memorial to honor those who served after World War II.  It will be the first in a century.

    Site No. 32, Central Street is back across Main Street.

    END OF AUDIO TEXT. See below for photos and more information.

    Site # 31 The Newmarket Memorial Bandstand



    Prior to 1922, the town’s first public band stand was courtesy of the Newmarket Manufacturing Company and consisted of a platform at the end of the delivery shute from Mill #6  to Main Street.

    The printed insert shows the spot where during the day bundles of silk slide down the shute to the ground level platform where wagons waited to be loaded. and by night the town band entertained residents by the hundreds who gathered on Main Street to listen and dance to the  Friday night weekly concerts.  

    Patriotic Fever WW I 

    Patriotic fever was running high during the Great War, there were public gatherings, displays,  speeches and marching bands whenever a group of men left the town hall marching to the train depot or climbing into into buses and trucks bound for  Portsmouth as they joined other convoys heading off  to war.

    A the end of the war townspeople sought a  way to pay tribute to those returning from the front, those discharged state-side, and for those who died in service to their country.

    In the fall of 1918 a committee of 20 citizens, headed by town businessman Bela Kingman, began plans for the Great War and the Civil War memorials. Walter M. Gallant, the few surving Members of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), the Women’s Relief Corps (the womens auxiliary to the GAR), and the newly formed Chateaux Thierrey (the predecessor of the American Legion) and the Newmarket Women’s Sewing  Group were instrumental in gathering support for a memorial.  

    After taking suggestions  from the public on the type of memorial to be built, it was decided that rather than relying solely on tax dollars, the committee sought other venues of donations, and planned to hold public events such as carnivals and food drives. 

    Plans were put in place to generate funds for the public memorials with the creation of a  “Victory Bizaar” scheduled for February 11, 12 and 13 in 1919 in the basements of Mills #5 and #6.  Mr. Gallant removed all the machinery to make room for a large indoor carninival to accommodate all the booths and entertainment space needed.  It turned out to be the most successful indoor event ever held in the town. 

    As printed in the Newmarket Advertiser, January 17th, 1919:

    The committee has secured three big time acts that will come direct to town from the Keith’s theatres in Boston and New York.  There will be free dancing each evening with music by the Newmarket Cornet Band.

    The entire proceeds of the carnival will go to erecting a bandstand and memorial for the boys who served in the present war and the Civil War Veterans, each name of those having served their country being placed on the memorial in bronze”.

    A military escort of 50 Newmarket men who were currently serving or had been in the service escorted Governor Bartlett from the hotel to the bizaar.   It was estimated that over 7,000 people from all the surrounding towns attended the event.

    The end result of the bizaar was a startling  $1,910.94 profit.  [ a value of $313,415.00 in April 2022 dollars ]

    Of the published expenses of note is the War Tax on Admissions to public events $57.93, [$950 in 2022] and the cost of Bunting for all the town & interior events provided by H.L. White Bureau Entertainment was $169.40 and his personal fee of $25.00. 

    Henry L.White and his wife Carrie (Mathes) White lived over the years in NYC, Florida, Worcester, Dover, Manchester, and by 1919 they were living on Exeter Street in Newmarket with Carrie’s aunt and uncle. 

    Carrie, the daughter of Constantine Mathes, was originally from town, and Henry grew up in Dover.  The couple ran a  successful, well-known event co-ordinating business in New England and in Florida.  They furnished, at cost, all the spectacular bunting used in town during Victory Bazaar Week.  They personally hung over 1,000 display pieces.

    (Photo taken of the Weave Shed with patriotic bunting hung by the Whites.  Multiply that display throughout the DTN area for the Victory Bizaar.  Photo donated by Mr & Mrs Archie Charest in 1968 to the museum)


    Admission was charged for 1919 Bizaar daily events or if you paid a weekly fee you were guaranteed entrance for all events all week long.  For the Tuesday opening night the Newmarket Cornet band gave a short out-door concert,  Minnie the Mermaid  arrived from NYC on Monday and was on view, and the Hicks Jazz Band came up Direct from Boston to play.  It was reported as being the biggest crowd ever assembled under one roof in town.  There were special prizes handed out Wednesday night, and Thursday night’s special was a musical show put on by the Revue Company consisting of five NYC show girls, direct from Broadway full of pep with snazzy costumes.



    Minnie The Mermaid

    Minnie reportedly came from the Amazon River basin and was claimed to be “from the famous race of Amazons of South America”.  In any event there enough intriguing ads run prior to her arrival to keep the public’s interest piqued.

    Evidently she was a picky eater—she wouldn’t eat eels.

    A great deal of money was collected for the memorials for the Civil War and WW I veterans.

    It was pretty much determined by the committee that one memorial would be a permanent bandstand, and another a bronze tablet.  But where would they go?  The committee ran notices for several weeks in the local paper:

    Several people wrote in with various suggestions, some wanted to place it in one of the cemeteries, some wanted to create a park by the waterfront, some suggested the creation of a new park in the field behind the town RR Depot field.

    Some suggestions were met with some rather sarcastic anonymous Letters to the Editor, which resulted in equally sarcastic rebuttals.   

    A prominent voice above all came from the Veterans themselves who asked that wherever the memorial was placed, it would be somewhere on the  public parade route through the downtown.  They also strongly supported turning the large granite ledge by the Fire Station into a memorial site.

    It was finally decided to erect a large bronze memorial plaque set in the stone at the foot of Zion Hill for Civil War Veterans, and to erect a new bandstand located on Main Street for the Great War Veterans.   The committee came up with a solution to satisfy both the veterans and the downtown merchants who hoped to see their own businesses increase during bandstand concerts and public events.

    The merchants were especially pleased since they had been so generous donating prizes in support for the Victory Bizaar; but most importantly, the committee knew they would have to call on those same merchants in the future, as more money would be needed to make the memorials happen.  

    Evenutally the committee approached the town for additional funding resulting in two years of tax support.

    From the Newmarket Town Report 1920:

    Article 5 - To see what sum of money the town will vote to raise and appropriate for a memorial bandstand….

    Result … at the Town Meeting in March 1920, a vote was taken and the sum of $1,000 was appropriated by for the Memorial Bandstand, and $400 was appropriated for Band Concerts.

    Construction begins

    The Memorial Bandstand construction began the last week in October 1920, on Main Street opposite the Hotel Willey with George F. Handy, contractor using velvet tapestry bricks.



    Photo of bandstand between the fall of 1922 and before the memorial plaques where in place July 4th, 1923.


     From the Newmarket Town Report 1921:

    Article 6 - To see what sum of money the town will vote to raise and appropriate to complete the Memorial Bandstand….

    Result… at the Town meeting in March 1921, a vote was taken and the sum of $3,000 was appropriated.

    The July 4th, 1923 Dedication, as printed by the Manchester Union, Thursday, July 5th, 1923

    It wasn’t until the July 4th, 1923 that the memorial bandstand was officially dedicated with a huge celebration.  It started with a 10 am parade and ended with a nighttime fireworks display that lasted an hour and a half.  The parade consisted of several town fraternal organizations and a band formed with members of the Robert G. Durgin Post, American Legion which marched thru the main thoroughfares of the town and gathered at the bandstand.  Following a selection by the band, John Uniack former principal of the high school who had a great many of the boys who served in his classes, eulogized the work of the boys in the service.  Rev. C.W. Carvell, pastor of the Community Church, lauded the people of the community for erecting such a beautiful tribute to the four Newmarket boys who paid the supreme sacrifice and the other 180 who entered the service.   The oration of the day was delivered by Olin C. Chase who was quickly secured when Governor Brown sprained his ankle at the last minute  and couldn’t attend.  Vocal solos were rendered by Boston concert singer Josephine Elberry.   An address by Mrs. Chase was followed by a trio of three tiny boys dressed as boy scouts and a trio of little girls dressed as Red Cross nurses who pulled the cords, unveiling the two bronze tablets.  The exercise closed by the singing of the “Star Spangled Banner”.

    From 2 to 3 in the afternoon there was a band concert in the new bandstand, following which the band was taken to the ball grounds to play for the record crowd that turned out to watch the Two Great Rivals: Newmarket and East Rochester battle for supremacy on the diamond.

    In the evening another concert was put on between 7 and 8 with Miss Elberry and her partner Billy Barker singing at all of them.  Main street was roped off for street dancing between 8 and 10 p.m.,  and at 10 p.m. sharp a thousand dollars’ worth of fireworks were shot off.

    The committee in charge of the celebration and to whom much credit is due, includes Chairman Bela Kingman, and William J. O’Conor, Albert Sands, A.W.Barton and Percy H. Burrows.  Mr. O’Connor, chairman of the board of selectmen, acted as master of ceremonies during the exercises which was attended by thousands of people throughout the day.




    Between 1925 and 1929 several summer noontime concerts were presented by the Newmarket Band for factory workers on their lunch break.  Barber Benny Kendrigan would often put down his strap, pick up his violin and jaunt across the street to join the band for a number or two, then go back to his customer left lathered-up in the chair.

    For almost the next two decades patriotic speeches and concerts were held from the bandstand and the street was roped off for public dances; however, they lessened considerably after the mills closed and moved out of town and  during the Great Depression.  With the outbreak of WW II, more activity once again started to emanate from underneath its portico.

    The Memorial Day parade of 1941 was the beginning of more patriotic speeches and activity

    From the Portsmouth Herald, 06/02/1941:

    Patriotic orders of Newmarket had a larger than usual turnout for the annual Memorial Day parade and services at the three cemeteries today.  Flags flew from practically every home and families thronged the cemeteries to remember their dead.

    The Eagle drum corps in their snappy new red, white and blue uniforms gave zest and color to the parade.   Calixte Baillargeon, commander of the American Legion, led the parade, followed by the colors and a firing squad from Fort Constitution. The young girls who led the drum corps added a touch of color to the line of march. The legionnaires, auxilliary members, Sea Scouts and Boy Scouts, Sons of Legion, Girl Scouts, Woman’s Relief corps, ands Mrs. Mattie Durgin, Gold Star mother, composed the line.

    Wreaths were placed at the bandstand, at the GAR monument on South Main Street and services were held at Calvary, Riverside and  the Old Town cemeteries.  A military mass preceded the parade at Calvary cemetery where Rev. Hector A. Benoit, D.D. and Rev. J. Desmond O’Connor were in charge.  Rev. Russell G. Schoffield pronounced benediction at the services following the parade at Riverside cemetery.


     The Beginnings of the WW II Honor Roll

    In 1942 a movement was underway in town to collect the names of men who were in military service to the country.  In December the first town-wide service was conducted by the Newmarket Parent-Teacher’s Association at the school .

    The town had not recognized its servicemen collectively, as there was no easy way to determine  1) who had been in the service prior to war being declared,  or 2) who was actively in service now; or 3) what serviceman enlisted from town, served their time and were discharged only to move to another town.  This was a familiar challenge over the next 75 years  as during Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan Wars,  men and women enlisted in other cities, or were inducted by the Portsmouth Draft Board, or went directly to the Portsmouth Navy Yard or enlistment offices of the varying branches of the military and signed up.   Unlike the Civil War or WW I,  there was no groupings of men leaving town at once, nor did they come together  at any one place at any one time.  It wasn’t until after 2000 that the Veterans Memorial Trust Committee was able to obtained military records from the NH Adjutant General. 

    Although various lodges, clubs and churches knew the status of their own members, the PTA was the first town-wide program paying tribute to the 200 and more Newmarket young men serving the colors all over the world.

    A town-wide roll was then compiled by Robert G. Durgin Legion members who canvassed homes for information. St. Mary Church had about 145 names and the Community Church had 45 more,  other names were cleaned from different clubs and organizations, i.e. The Polish Club, Red Men’s Club, Granges, Masons, etc.  In 1943, those names were placed on a temporary wooden bulletin board placed next to the bandstand.

    In 1943 a wooden bulletin board  adjacent to the bandstand was the beginning of an honor roll. It contained  over 300 names of men in military service.

    In 1944  A new Honor Roll  was installed and dedicated  at the bandstand on Armistice Day.

    The new honor roll contained 372 names and seven gold stars.  The new Honor Roll flag replaced the old flag which hung across the Main Street strung on wire from the old Town Hall. The new flag was hung from a standard under the portico of the bandstand, where it was more protected from the weather.  At that service there was a  parade by the Legion headed by Commander John Renzulla with their own color guard and drum & bugle corps.  At the bandstand the Armistice Day ritual was performed before a speech entitled “Armistice Day” by Rev. J. Desmond O’Connor, with remarks by Selectman Lewis Filion and by Charles H. Stevens.

    Women Recognized

    This new Honor Roll now contained the names of women who served.  The Board was not meant to be permanent, the name plates were not made of metal, and they were filed  alphabetically with room for more names to be added when the list became finalized.  

    Photo taken 2009 of former Veterans Memorial Trust Committee Member Wayne Rose with the touch up paint required to preserve the WW II Honor Roll.

    Town Celebrates V-J DAY

    Portsmouth Herald 09/12/1945:

    Newmarket formally observed V-J Day Sunday with a parade to mark the end of the Second World War.  They formed in front of the bandstand, marching up Main Street, turned around and marched back where further ceremonies were held.

    A group of four horsemen from a riding school in Greenland led the procession with the Legion, auxiliary unit, school children, the Happy Workers 4-H club of boys, Lamprey Aerie of Eagles, the drum corps, Red Men, Troop 200 of the boy scouts and the Polish club carrying a large flag recently presented to the club by Carl Millette.  The Rev. J. Desmond O’Connor was master of ceremonies at the bandstand.


    End of War Summer Concerts


    Political Rallies

    Over the years countless  political groups would hold rallies  such as in  November 3rd, 1950 when Republican candidates held a rally at noon with a following reception in town hall at 1 pm.. 



    Newmarket Presented Destroyer Name - Plate

    Portsmouth Herald 11/13/1950

    “A nameplate from a lend-lease British destroyer, the HMS Newmarket, was presented to the town of Newmarket yesterday afternoon during out-door ceremonies attended by town officials, navy officers and representatives of various veterans, civic and patriotic organizations”.

    The emblem today at the Stone School Museum.

    “Before L. C. S., Barber, British consul-general Boston, made the presentation, there was a parade down Main Street to the bandstand, The round nameplate, 12 inches in diameter, bears a horseshoe on a light blue field and weighs about 50 pounds. There is a white star in the center of the horseshoe.  Capt. John Holmes, Royal Navy attaché in Washington, D. C, explained that the nameplate Is a symbol, of the town of Newmarket, England, which is well-known as a horse- racing center. Holmes explained the history of the HMS Newmarket and other lend-lease destroyers.

    “Consul Barber presented the name-plate to George Hauschel, president of the Newmarket high school student council, and Kenneth Griswold, council vice president. Arthur H. Beauchesne, chairman of the board of selectmen, was master of ceremonies. The British consul also presented the ship’s logbook to the student officers. Capt. Leon N. Blair, USN, Portsmouth naval base chief of staff, also spoke”.


    The New Market Historical Society  has recently been in contact with the family of  Douglas Teague shown here.  Mr. Teague was in the British Navy during WW II and was assigned to the HMS Newmarket.  His story and portions of the ship’ s log can be seen at the Stone School Museum.




    Recognition of Korean War Veterans

    In August, 1955 N.H. Superior Court Chief Justice Stephen M. Wheeler spoke at a dedication ceremony for returned Korean War Veterans at the bandstand.  It was held in conjunction with the N.H. convention of the Veterans of World War I which was being held in town.  A plaque was presented to the Korean War veterans by the judge.  After the dedication ceremony, a parade with several Legion Drum Corps from different Legions Posts in the seacoast  marched  down Main Street to the Newmarket Legion Hall.

    The host group for the convention was the Chateau Thierry Barracks, Veterans of World War I, of Newmarket.          

    Spruce up for 250th  

    Years out in the elements had taken its toll  on the roof and pillars of the memorial.  In 1975, two years prior Prior to the 1977  250th celebration, the bandstand underwent some structural and decorative repairs in 1975. The Honor Roll was removed, repainted and new glass installed in the door panel. 

    The Bandstand was the focal point of downtown during the 250th celebration.

    Events began and ended at the site.

    On August 17th,1977 at  7 :pm a burst of canon set off by Newmarket Militiaman John Lambert from the Library lawn opened the Friday Night ceremonies for the Newmarket’s 250th Celebration. Made from an ancient  oak tree from Ash Swamp Road, the cannon is still in use today.  Richard Schanda  and Doctor Forbes Getchell  address the gathered Newmarket Militia and townspeople at the beginning of Newmarket’s 250th  Celebration which began the week’s long event.



     The cannon started the militia parade down Main Street where it stopped for opening night remarks from the bandstand.



    The opening ceremony was followed by a High School Band concert performed at the bandstand, under the direction of Peter Carr.




    The bandstand has been used as a central gathering point for the community over the following decades for Veterans Day Events, public addresses, summer concerts, street dances during Heritage Festivals, Old Homeweek celebrations, sidewalk fares, as well as road races and Christmas Caroles.


    On Memorial Day 1988 the American Legion, Robert G. Durgin Post dedicated two plaques mounted at the Bandstand for those servicemen who served in Korea and Vietnam.

    To Move or Not To Move

    In 2001 there was a controversial plan to move the bandstand to the Arbor Park area during the renovation of Main Street as the road was widened and wires strung underground. 

    Art Teska, a member of American Legion Post 67 and chairman of the bandstand committee presented a plan for the move so that concertgoers could gather to hear bands again without the sounds and safety issues of street traffic.   A bell tower would be created for the front of the park, bordering Main Street. The old bell from the mills would be refurbished and placed in the park’s new bell tower as a memorial to the mills and to act as call to townspeople to special events.  The veteran’s bandstand would include new plaques, placing the names of those who fought in Vietnam alongside those of fellow veterans from earlier wars.

    Teska said the project would need to take place within the next year since the town received funds to put its downtown utility lines below ground. When that project begins, the bandstand would be slated to be removed as the road widened.  But like everything else, to save the bandstand from the urban renewal project, it would cost money  —and as there would be no attempt to use taxpayer funds, the committee tried fund it with private and public support.

    Ultimately, there was no public support to fund such a move.  The Bandstand Stayed, and So It Remains Today.

     Later on in the 2010’s,  while an individual soloist or  a quartet may have performed at the bandstand, it was decided to hold full band concerts in Schanda Park, a  safer location for pedestrians and street dancing;.  This move meant Main Street  did not  have to be closed off  which removed the permitting obstacles involving closing a state highway and police department costs for detail coverage.



                                                   Photo taken May 2020 during the Covid- 19  Pandemic Lockdown,  


           the Memorial Bandstand Remained a Stately Symbol of Remembrance, Sacrifice and Perservance