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Gayle Hedrington

August 2, 2009

Old Home Week

In years past, the month of August meant homecoming week in towns throughout NH. Past residents came home and on the first night of the celebrations bonfires burned throughout the towns, followed by various events throughout the week, culminating with "Old Home Day".

Gov. Frank Rollins instituted Old Home Day, in 1898. The celebration developed from hard times in the rural communities of NH. Many towns lost more than half of their population after the Civil War, residents left for new opportunities in the West or moved to the larger industrial centers of the Northeast. 

In 1899, approximately 100 towns participated in Old Home Week, and an estimated 10,000 visitors came to New Hampshire; Old Home Week was a success. I do not know why this tradition stopped, but I imagine it was changes in life style with people having difficulty getting back home due to time or finances. The tradition stopped when returning residents dwindled. Some towns still celebrate Old Home Day, but the event is no longer a statewide celebration. 

Croydon like other towns celebrated "Old Home Day" to the fullest. Events took place at the Congregation Church in the village. Keynote speakers addressed the crowds, Baseball games entertained the crowd, and although Croydon did not have its own team, Grantham and North Newport would come to Croydon to play against each other. If anyone has information on these ball teams, I would love to have more information on them. 

One year the Old Home Day committee underestimated the crowd, and ran out of food to feed some of the attendees. It was an embarrassment, and the committee took steps to assure it would not happen again. Some invitations, programs etc. are available for viewing at the Samuel Morse House for those who are interested in Croydon's Old Home Day. 

Therefore, in honor of "Old Home Day" I am going back to my second hometown in NJ, Cape May. It is where my family summered and where my sister currently resides. If you have news you can contact me by email, I will be checking it daily.


Historical Society

On Saturday, August 8, the Historical Society gives a tribute to the Gross Family, following their business meeting 10:30-Noon. The meeting and tribute are free, and open to the public. Refreshments served. 

The Samuel Morse House and Museum on Rt. 10 across from the Coniston Store, is open for tours on Sundays through August. Admission is free and hours are from 1-4 p.m. Stop by for a free tour, check out the Old Home Day items and get a free ice cream cone. 

The Croydon Historical Society has its annual Christmas ornament ball available for sale. The ball depicts the Perkins/Phillips House. Perkins one of the earlier owner's of the property, established a sawmill on the property and later a water trough graced the front of the property. Price is $10 and comes with box, bubble wrap and a card containing information about the historical home. There are some ornaments from Christmas' past available. Anyone wishing to purchase an ornament can call Bert Smith at 863-4027. 

Bap Kresse's antique store is open! (Gayle Hedrington photo)

Bits and Pieces

Bap Kresse is on her way to realizing her dreams. For years, she wanted to have an antique store in the old barn across from her Croydon Brook Road home. On Saturday, she opened the doors and put a sign up on Rt. 10 letting folks know that she is open. The shop is a hobby and is open by chance. 


On The Cheap

If you have internet access you can join Canobie Club, which sends you discounts on admission to Canobie Lake Park. The current offer is for August 6 and gives you $8.00 off the admission price. You can access them by going to

Free passes to The Fells and NH History Museum are available if you are a member of Richards Library in Newport. Also for genealogists, you have access to Heritage Quest on line when you are a member. 

Little Red School House, 1835 schoolhouse is opened from 1 to 4 p.m. located on Route 10 south, Newport. Members of the Reprisal Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution sponsor the free event. Open on Wednesdays. 

Friday August 7, Nighttime Astronomical Observing: 9 to 11 p.m. At the Shattuck Observatory, Dartmouth College, Observatory Road off Wheelock Street, Hanover. Free. For additional Information, call 603- 646-9100.

Saturday, August 8 Off-Trail Farnum Hill Outing with Naturalist Alcott Smith: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., meet at Poverty Lane and Slayton Hill Road, Lebanon. Read the landscape from a human, wildlife, and historical perspective. Free, however there is limited enrollment call 603-448-2950 to register.


  • Saturday, August 8, Croydon Historical Society Meeting, Samuel Morse House 10:30-Noon. Tribute to the Gross Family following meeting, all are welcome and refreshments served. 

  • Sunday, August 9, Samuel Morse House and Museum tour 1-4 pm.

  • Tuesday, August 11 Selectmen's Meeting 7:30 p.m. Croydon Town Hall 

  • Wednesday, August 12, School Board Meeting 6:30 p.m. in the Croydon Village School.

Please feel free to contact me with any information, news, announcements or just to say hello at Have a great week.

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