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"The Centa"

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Leaving the encampments of Jones Road, we traveled west on Beard Brook Road, over Gleason Falls Stone Arch Bridge and then north east up Gleason Falls Road to East Washington Road and east again to Hillsborough Center.

Parking proved tight, yet we did find a spot by the old town stables across Center Road from the Congregational Church.

I know I promised “magic, music and school…” but first…

Wandering onto the church lawn, we discovered an old Concord stagecoach on display. It was most likely built in the 1840’s. (That's DH indicating the inside, dressed as a colonial, not mid-1800's!) Most coaches gave a jolting up and down ride because of spring suspensions banging about as the wheels hit ruts and rocks. The Abbot Downing Company of Concord, New Hampshire developed leather strap braces that swung the carriage gently from front to back. Those leathers look similar to the metal suspensions used in vehicles today.

As I looked inside this coach, I saw nine “insides” or seats in three rows of three. The front and back facing one another and the middle ones being like stools with a leather back strap hanging for the ceiling of the coach. Now we think our Economy Class airline seats are cramped. Wow, they have nothing on these nine. The “outsides” hung on the back and faced forward. On some models there were six seats facing one another with the driver and his “shotgun” having another seat up front.

Here’s a photo of a horse and carriage, like a covered farm wagon giving people a taste of yesteryear. Didn’t have time for a ride.

One hundred and fifty years ago, Robert Potter,(1783-1835) a magician, hypnotist and ventriloquist, performed at the Columbian Museum in Boston. He was the first American-born magician to gain fame in this country. He also was the first black magician. Potter Place in New Hampshire, where he lived later in life, has his name.
Robert Olson, dressed in fitting garb, gave us as his audience a taste of Potter’s skills last weekend in Hillsborough Center. All kinds of things disappeared and re-appeared between jokes and children’s guessing games for the young people.

The Centa, as it is known in these parts, had people plying their crafts as well.

Lastly, teachers and Laura Engles Wilder kept us on our toes in the 1818 school house.
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