New Hampshire Magazine’s 10th Anniversary Top Tens
Here are Ten Top Ten Lists Equaling 100 N.H. Milestones on the Road from 1999 to Now
It was ten years ago this month when we decided the Granite State — with its balkanized economic districts and rooster-proud cities and towns — was ready to come together. We’d been covering the whole state for years with the regionally-focused New Hampshire Editions, so we decided to lead by example, changing our name and our mission to become New Hampshire Magazine.
It would be neater, perhaps, if we had waited until the year 2000 so we could celebrate along with every other decade wrap-up. But between Y2K and the dot-com bubble, the millennium had enough on its mind. Rather than pick a tidier date, we decided to party like it was 1999.
Now it’s 2009 and, as far as we’re concerned, the party is just getting started.
#1 N.H. PoliticsN.H.’s political milestones are as common as frost heaves. Here are 10 axle-busters.
1. July 15, 1999: U.S. Sen. Bob Smith leaves the Republican Party and campaigns for president as an independent. Three years later, Republicans trade him in for a new Senate candidate, John E. Sununu.
2. Feb. 7, 2001: Gov. Jeanne Shaheen proposes a 2.5 percent statewide sales tax. The proposal is rejected in the Legislature but it dogs her in later campaigns.
3. Nov. 5, 2002: Voters soundly reject a Democratic proposed income tax by giving Republicans every major office and historic majorities in the Statehouse.
4. Meanwhile: Republicans plot to jam phone lines at Democratic-leaning phone banks. The resulting scandal sends three to jail and demoralizes state Republicans for years.
5. Oct. 31, 2004: New Hampshire becomes a closely watched presidential swing state. All three nominees (including the Green Party’s Ralph Nader) visit in the final election weekend.
6. Sept. 7, 2005: Republican Tom Eaton is ousted as state Senate president, removing from power Democratic Gov. John Lynch’s biggest critic.
7. Nov. 7, 2006: Democrats have their most successful election day since the 1870s, ousting two Republican Congressmen and taking over majorities at every level of state government.
8. Dec. 7, 2007: Perkins Bass — a four-term Republican Congressman, son of a Republican governor and father of a six-term Republican Congressman — changes his voter registration to independent to vote for Democrat Barack Obama in the presidential primary.
9. May 31, 2008: Democratic National Committee sets precedent in preserving the state’s first-in-nation primary by heavily punishing states attempting to encroach on New Hampshire’s power.
10. Feb. 2, 2009: President Barack Obama appoints U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg to be his Commerce Secretary, ending the legislative career of New Hampshire’s most successful politician and most powerful Republican official.
#2 WomenKeeping tabs on the better half of the New Hampshire populace
1. 2001: Jane Coplan is appointed as the first female warden of a men’s prison by Governor Jeanne Shaheen.
2. Summer 2002: Lawyer Susan Rockwell files a lawsuit against the Roman Catholic dioceses of Manchester and Boston, Mass., citing their violation of women’s rights to freedom of expression and religion because church doctrine prohibits a woman’s right to become a priest.
3. 2003: Novelist Jodi Picoult of Hanover receives the N.E. Bookseller Award. In 2007, she becomes the second woman to ever write the Wonder Woman comic, penning four issues.
4. 2004: Bedford’s potty mouth comedian Sarah Silverman pushes the comedy envelope to feminine depths and takes home awards ranging from Teen Choice (2004) to an Emmy (2008).
5. 2004: Jenny Thompson of Dover becomes the oldest member of the U.S. Swimming team at her fourth Olympics in Athens. She wins a total of 12 medals, making her the most decorated female U.S. Olympian in history.
6. November 2006: The first N.H. monument honoring an African-American is of Harriet E. Wilson of Milford (1825-1901), America’s first published African-American novelist.
7. January 2007: N.H. becomes the first state to offer the human papillomavirus vaccine for girls 11-18 at no cost. HPV is linked to cervical cancer, the second-leading cancer killer for women.
8. Jan. 7, 2008: A question causes Hillary Clinton to tear up in a Portsmouth café, revealing a vulnerability that likely turned the N.H. Primary, assumed a lock for Obama, in her favor .
9. November 2008: N.H. elections put 13 women in the 24-seat state Senate, making it the nation’s first legislative body with more women than men.
10. January 2009: Jeanne Shaheen becomes New Hampshire’s first female U.S. senator 12 years after making history as the first female governor of the state.
#3 News MakersDaring deeds and dire disasters
1. Dec. 3, 2001: Unveiling of Dean Kamen’s Segway gives the nation psychic whiplash as expressions of wonder and awe give way to chortles of derision.
2. Earth Day, 2002: N.H. is the first state to pass legislation aimed at reducing emissions of carbon dioxide.
3. May 3, 2003: The Old Man of the Mountain falls from his ancient perch.
4. Oct. 1, 2003: The Free State Project announces plans to move 20,000 activists to N.H. to influence liberty legislation. So far less than 1,000 have made the move.
5. Nov. 2, 2003: Gene Robinson’s consecration as the first openly gay Episcopal Bishop puts the Granite State on the international map of religious controversy.
6. Summer 2006: A Portsmouth baseball team goes to Little League World Series.
7. Summer 2007: French President Nicolas Sarkozy vacations in Wolfeboro.
8. 2007-2008: Biggest snowfall total in N.H. history is missed by inches.
9. July 2008: A freak tornado rips up 10 N.H. communities on a 50-mile tear.
10. Also in 2008: A major December ice storm leaves 400,000 homes and businesses in the dark — and cold, some for weeks.
#4 Health CareThe shape that we’re in
1. N.H. is named “healthiest state” three times starting in 1999.
2. August 2003: Dean Kamen’s iBot 3000 mobility system is approved for sale by Johnson & Johnson. By 2009 the stair-climbing, self-balancing wheelchair is no longer sold, though service is guaranteed through 2013.
3. Summer 2004: A case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) is reported in N.H. for the first time in 22 years. Of 20 U.S. cases in 2005 N.H. reports seven, two of them fatalities.
4. 2006: New Hampshire is first state to use e-prescribing, a cost-saving data-entry process linking participating pharmacies, preventing errors from illegible prescriptions and monitoring prescription drug abuse.
5. August 2006: Implementation of N.H. Medical Society-led Medical Malpractice Panel requiring lawyers and physicians to mediate prior to lawsuits. The law gets mixed reviews and currently faces repeal.
6. July 24, 2006: Giovanni Guglielmo is born with an immune deficiency disorder that requires a bone marrow transplant to survive. More than 21,000 donors register at Giovanni bone marrow drives and 18 life-saving matches are made.
7. November 2006: Scientists at Dartmouth find a gene that alters muscle metabolism and performance. The find could help treat muscle diseases, delay deterioration and improve performance in endurance athletes.
8. March 2006: N.H. slips to a “D” rank for its services to the mentally ill. In 1990 the state was second from the top in quality of care.
9. 2007: N.H. becomes the last New England state to ban smoking in bars and restaurants.
10. 2008: Hospitals introduce robotic surgery equipment. CMC and St. Joseph Hospital begin performing computer-assisted “key-hole” procedures.
#5 New Hampshire MagazineWe’ve got you covered: 10 choice issues, one per year.
1. 1999 March: The last issue as NH Editions. That year, as NH Magazine, celebs Dean Kamen and Ken Burns graced our covers.
2. 2000: After picking “Bests” and “Worsts” for years, in July we went positive, picking only the Best of NH and praised them with the new logo.
3. 2001: We snagged interviews with stars from “West Wing” in February. That year we also inaugurated our popular “Top Doctors.”
4. 2002: Our annual “Remarkable Women” feature was launched. So was our annual “NH Home” edition, now an independent pub.
5. 2003: We started “Chocolate Challenge” that year and scored an interview with Tom Bergeron. Interest grew in the Top Docs issue.
6. 2004: We rocked in September with an exclusive interview with Aerosmith’s Joe Perry. We nabbed author P.J. O’Rourke that year, too.
7. 2005: “Top Dentists” filled our pages for the first time and we examined the storm around Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson.
8. 2006: SNL’s Seth Meyers and Sarah Silverman helped initiate our “It” List in November. In June we featured hot young chefs.
9. 2007: March’s cover story was one of our most controversial ever. That year we also indulged in stunt journalism, seeking an “Honest Town.”
10. 2008: In August we managed to get Bode Miller to sit for a cover (not easy) and featured travel tips from hip editors in all N.E. states.
#6 CusineThe cuisine scene is a pretty good gauge of social evolution, and since 1999 we’ve had a foodie renaissance.
1. March 2000: The magazine’s first food cover. We finally acknowledged that Granite Staters like to eat.
2. February 2002: The first Chocolate Challenge begins with an assay of chocolatiers and way too many chocolates.
3. June 2002: The Best of New Hampshire Party at the Verizon Wireless Arena gathers the best chefs and restaurants from around the state for the first time.
4. December 2002: Slow Food Monadnock becomes the first New Hampshire convivium to join the movement.
5. January 2003: The Winter Wine Spectacular to benefit the Easter Seals of New Hampshire starts to becomes the biggest wine event north of Boston.
6. 2004: Chef Koz opens the Orchard Street Chop Shop, the first new generation prime steakhouse in the state. It was followed in 2005 with the Hanover Street Chophouse and Buckley’s Great Steaks in 2005.
7. April 2005: The New Hampshire Farm to Restaurant Connection is chartered and begins the business of linking local producers to area chefs.
8. November 2005: The first Best New Restaurants issue. Each year we are glad to find and promote new restaurants.
9. Farmers Markets explode. Sure, there have always been farmers markets, but now people are doing serious shopping for fresh and local produce at seasonal and indoor markets around the state.
10. 2006: Chef Mary Dumont of The Dunaway in Portsmouth is named best new chef by Food & Wine magazine. Dumont left soon after for greener pastures in Cambridge and the restaurant was later sold by owner Jay McSharry.
#7 CultureCarving (painting, writing or acting) out a creative niche
1. 1998: Gerry Williams, studio potter, is named N.H.’s first artist laureate for a two-year term. The current artist laureate is painter James Aponovich.
2. 1999: N.H. celebrates on the mall at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C. It was re-created in 2000 at the Hopkinton Fairgrounds.
3. 2002: Bob McQuillen, contra dance musician/composer, receives a National Heritage Fellowship.
4. 2003: Dan Brown of Exeter becomes the best-selling author in history with “The Da Vinci Code,” then moves to Rye and builds a large fence around his mansion while writing a follow-up to “The Da Vinci Code.”
5. 2004: Valerie Cunningham completes the Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail and writes the book “Black Portsmouth,” forever changing the way Granite Staters view their racial past.
6. 2007: MacDowell Colony for artists celebrates its 100th anniversary, just as it debates tax-free status with the host town of Peterborough.
7. 2007: Granite Media Center, a full-service film and video studio space, opens in Tilton just as local filmmaking comes of age with three local festivals and numerous majors projects under way.
8. 2007, 2008: Two U.S. poets laureate from N.H., Donald Hall and Charles Simic, are appointed consecutively in 2007 and 2008, bringing the state’s number of poets to hold that post to four.
9. 2008: The League of N.H. Craftsmen celebrates its 75th anniversary.
10. 2008: The Currier Museum of Art reopens after a $21 million expansion.
#8 FashionWe’re not famous for couture, but it’s our style and we’re proud of it. Ayup.
1. Chuck Roast fleece vest: It is practically the state’s official garment until the company goes belly up in 2008.
2. Bailey Bag: The creation of a former Portsmouth bike messenger; de rigeur and durable.
3. Timberland Boot: Footwear that ages like fine wine — or maybe cheese.
4. EMS jacket: Look good in the après ski club or survive in the wilderness with this amazing piece of apparel.
5. Cordwainer Shoe: Handmade shoes by this shop attracted buyers from Hollywood and the continent to Bedford.
6. Fritz Wetherbee’s Bow Tie: Of course, not just anyone can pull it off like Fritz does.
7. Harley Davidson leathers over bathing suits: Hot for Laconia’s Motorcycle Week.
8. The N.H. Tie: Available from George’s Apparel in Manchester, this red-and-black silk tie becomes a ubiquitous fashion statement of political and corporate power.
9. Life is Good T-shirt: Three simple words sparked a casual revolution. A style statement and lifestyle choice that fits like a T.
10. Bug Baffler: Wearable mosquito netting that becomes très chic during black fly season.
#9 TourismMilestones on the Road Less Traveled
1. N.H. is named most livable state in the nation five times starting in 1999.
2. 2000, 2003: The Keene Pumpkin Festival makes the “Guinness Book of World Records.”
3. November 2001: The Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester opens. The first big performance is by local rockers Aerosmith and by the end of its first year it’s the 4th busiest arena in the world.
4. 2003: AMC opens Highland Center at Crawford Notch, an outdoor program and education center based on an award-winning “green” architectural design.
5. 2003: Ocean Properties of Portsmouth risks $26 million to rehabilitate a crumbling Victorian luxury hotel that has been unused and uninhabited for 20 years.
6. 2005: Connecticut River Byway receives a designation as a National Scenic Byway.
7. 2006: The 25th anniversary of “On Golden Pond,” filmed at Squam Lake.
8. 2008: N.H. International Speedway is sold to Speedway Motorsports for $340 million and becomes the newly revamped and expanded N.H. Motor Speedway.
9. 2009: The expansion of Bretton Woods/Mt. Washington Hotel adds the $25-million Presidential Wing.
10. March 2009: The Christa McAuliffe Planetarium expands into the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center.
#10 MiscellaneousLoose ends, leftovers and curiosities
1. 1999: Doris “Granny D” Haddock, 89, of Dublin walks 10 miles a day for 14 months, 3,200 miles, for campaign finance reform.
2. 2006: Manchester Airport rebrands as Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.
3. April 2006: Democratic Congressional candidate Gary Dodds gets in a car accident along the Spaulding Turnpike. Wackiness ensues.
4. 2007: Goofball film mogul Adam Sandler gives $1 million to his hometown Manchester Boys & Girls Club.
5. 2007: Portsmouth horror author Joe Hill is outed as fear-meister Steven King’s son.
6. 2008: Writer Kevin Flynn pens a grisly Sheila LaBarre murder tell-all.
7. 2008: The Cog Railway introduces bio diesel to its fleet.
8. October 2008: The Big Foot Research Organization follows up on reports of Big Foot sightings in the White Mountain area.
9. 2009: “To Die For,” the film about sordid Pam Smart murders, is set to become a Broadway musical.
10. N.H. produces more astronauts per capita than any other state.
A Note from the EditorsIt took the New Hampshire Magazine staff and it’s legion of advisers many, many hours of brainstorming, adding milestones, deleting some, adding deleted ideas back in… well, you can imagine how hard it was to boil down ten years of New Hampshire life and history.
Now, in the limitless space of the online version, we invite you to add in some New Hampshire moments – from Granite State art to political doings and everything in between and beyond from 1999 to the present. Have at it in the comments section below.