Era 8: Great Depression & World War II – 1929 to 1945
Compiled by Tom Sullivan and Louise Troehler
Keene’s first traffic lights began operating on Central Square.
Sunday baseball was proclaimed unlawful by Mayor Carey.
St. Joseph School first opened on Wilson Street.
The Sentinel newspaper moved to a new building on West St.
Population of Keene was 13,774.
Construction of the Dakin Reservoir and Babbidge Dam began in Roxbury.
Sports on Sundays were lawful again. Motion pictures, lecture, concerts and theatrical performances were allowed only after 6 p.m.
All banks in Keene were closed per order of Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Depression came to Keene.
Beer went on sale as Prohibition ends.
The Hampshire Press Old Timer calendar was inaugurated. Each year featured a scene from Keene’s past.
The Cheshire House closed and torn down.
The Garden Club was formed.
The 200-mile National Championship motorcycle races were held in Keene.
An earthquake strikes Keene and the region.
Municipal sidewalk plowing first began.
Summer theater was launched when the Repertory Playhouse Associates of New York moved its activities from Putney, Vermont to Keene.
Massive flooding in Keene after a heavy rain storm and a water main breaks.
Barry Faulkner’s murals were presented in the Keene Evening Sentinel, portraying the Nation’s birth and painted for the National Archives building in Washington, D.C.
The Keene Post VFW was established with 15 members.
T.H. Bergeron builds Fuller School, replacing the older wooden structure.
The Keene Lions Club is organized with 20 members.
The first cancer-detecting clinic in Keene opens.
First municipal street plowing began.
Winter Carnivals are first held.
Monadnock Region exposition attracts more than 20,000 people.
The worst natural disaster in local history hit Keene, the Hurricane of ’38. Damage was estimated at one million dollars. Nearly 1,800 shade trees were destroyed.
Hickey-Desilers Park is dedicated in memory of two Keene soldiers who died in WWI.
Keene Normal School becomes the Keene Teachers College — Keene State College.
A nine man Planning Board is formed, one of the first in New Hampshire.
Battery G, 197th Coast Artillery, NH National Guard was activated.
1,656 men signed with Selective Service.
The dedication of the Cleveland School.
Keene gets its first radio station, WKNE.
Dr. Albert C. Johnston and family move to Keene. They were a Negro family that “passed” as white family. Later made famous by the book Lost Boundaries.
Population in Keene is 13,832.
With the beginning of WWII, the city of Keene prepared for war like all communities throughout the United States. During the war, residents were prepared for air raids and blackouts along with coping with rationed goods, services and scarcity of items. Many local industries worked to produce goods under government contracts to support the war effort.
Japan attacks the United States bases at Pearl Harbor.
Cards are printed and delivered to Keene citizens, with blackout and air raid instructions.
Scrap metal was collected, resulting in the loss of Fuller Park’s WWI German cannon.
Rationing began in Keene.
Dillant-Hopkins Airport is dedicated. It was dedicated in honor of Thomas David Dillant of Keene and Edwin Chester Hopkins of Swanzey, who gave their lives in the War. Regular air service was begun on November 1, 1946.
An honor roll was erected and dedicated in the Park, honoring Keene’s WWII men and women who saw action.
The Cheshire Railroad was streamlined into the Cheshire Branch.
Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt comes to Keene to give a speech.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt dies. The city mourns his death.
Church bells rang, factory whistles blew, and people gathered in Central Square to celebrate the end of WWII.
Keene’s last surviving Civil War veteran, Frank E. Amadon, dies at the age of 99.
Tom Sullivan teaches elementary school in Keene and Louise Troehler is a HSCC volunteer.