Abbot-Downing’s truck - Gilford Cruise Night attracts rare vehicle which was built in 1923


GILFORD — Some old and unusual vehicles turned out for the Gilford Community Church's Family Car Cruise Night last Thursday, including a rare truck which was made in Concord and an unrestored 1940 Ford Deluxe Coupe which was the People's Choice Winner in last year's Lakes Region Rotary Club Car Show at Weirs Beach.
Some 60 vehicles, including hot rods, dragsters, sports cars, muscle cars and pickup trucks from different eras filled the parking lot at the church for the annual cruise night, which continues to be major attraction for Lakes Region automobile enthusiasts.
A 1923 two-ton, four-cylinder Concord truck built by Abbot-Downing, the firm which made the famed Concord Coach, was one of the more historic attractions. Owned by Ted Valpey of Dover, who recently restored it, and is one of only a handful still left.
Andy Buckman, who was driving the truck for Valpey, said that Abbot-Downing built about 625 Concord trucks between 1916 and 1925 and only about 13 are still known to exist. The truck had originally been bought by Stratton and Company, which ran a mill in Penacook which produced flour up until around 1920.
Valpey said that the truck found its way to the Rowe Farm in Dover, where he first saw it and had been trying to buy it for over 30 years.

"They used it to haul around a Cletrac tractor, but I'm not sure how good it was for that," said Valpey, who brought the Concord truck five years ago and has since restored it.
He said that Thursday marked its first appearance at a car show and that he plans to make the round of car shows in the Northeast the rest of the year with the vehicle.
Another auto at the show with a lot of history was a 1917 Chalmers Record Speedster, owned by Bob Valpey of Center Harbor, which set an endurance speed record that year by averaging 81.4 mph in a 24-hour race on a wooden track at Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn, New York.
Larry Young of Belmont, owner of Young's Old Tyme Service Station in Rumney, says that he bought the business from Aaron Short, who had run the garage for 64 years and was the personal driver for General Douglas MacArthur during World War II.
Young brought along an unrestored 1940 Ford Deluxe Coupe, which sports a well-rusted coat of paint and has a license plate which indicates that the car may have been used to transport moonshine liquor.
He says that he bought the car out of a garage in Charlotte, North Carolina, on 2006 and let it sit for several years before his son worked on it and it got it running five years ago.
"It's an unrestored original with the same paint job that it had when it was new. I'm not going to change a thing about it because I like the way it looks just fine,'' said Young.
Young is proud of the fact that the coupe was the People's Choice award winner at last summer's Lakes Region Rotary Club Car Show at Weirs Beach.

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A 1923 two-ton Concord truck built by Abbot-Downing, the firm which made the famed Concord coach, was a big hit at the Gilford Community Church's Family Car Cruise Night last Thursday. It is owned by Ted Valpey of Dover, who recently restored it, and is one of only a handful still left. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)

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A 1940 Ford Deluxe Coupe owned by Larry Young of Belmont is an unrestored original which sat in a barn in Charlotte, North Carolina for many years before Young was able to buy it several years ago. It was the People's Choice award winner at last summer's Lakes Region Rotary Club Car Show at Weirs Beach. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)
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Bob Gage and Bill Pond by Pond's 1956 Thunderbird during Cruise Night at the Gilford Community Center on Thursday evening. (Karen Bobotas/for the Laconia Daily Sun)

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A jail 'break' - Groundbreaking held for county community corrections center


LACONIA — Ground was broken Tuesday afternoon on a $7.3 million project which will see an 18,000-square-foot, 64-bed community corrections facility built next to the current county jail, which will have repairs and renovations as part of the project.
Belknap County Commission Chairman David DeVoy (R-Sanbornton), who chaired the jail planning committee which came up with a design for the new facility, said that a little over 18 months ago there was talk of a $42 million plan for a new jail and said that a well-thought out program was developed which brought in a plan which is both affordable and holds great promise for dealing with inmates who have drug and alcohol addiction problems.
The community corrections center will feature a rigorous regimen of substance abuse, mental health and educational programs and services, which Corrections Superintendent Keith Gray says the county currently lacks. The new facility will have 64 beds, 44 for men and 20 for women and will have mental health and drug abuse professionals available on site to provide programs for inmates.
The architectural plans were developed by Sheer, McCrystal, Palson Architecture Inc. of Concord and project manager Anthony Mento of the firm says that plans call for the project, including renovations, to be completed in September of 2017.
The county commission has hired Bauen Construction of Meredith as construction manager for the project.
The Belknap County Delegation last November unanimously approved an $8 million bond for building the community corrections center and renovation of parts of the current county jail, which will now have 60 beds.

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County officials gathered for the official groundbreaking of a new Belknap County corrections facility on Tuesday. Renovations will also be done to the current facility. Construction should be completed by September 2017. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun.

Howes tell neighbors to stay off their property


GILFORD — A few of the neighbors who have been vocal in their objections to Andrew and Martina Howe operating an outdoor wedding venue on their property on Gunstock Hill Road have received notice of trespass letters from the Howe's attorneys.

The letters serves as notice that these particular individuals are not allowed on any of the Howe's property, including but not limited to the Howe property that abuts their own.

What is not clear from the communique is whether these neighbors are barred from Beans and Greens, which is a local farm stand and shopping venue the couple has operated for years on their commercial property on Intervale Road.

When asked, the Howe's attorney, Ethan Wood, said he wasn't able to comment on how they would like him to respond to the question but only that the letters were sent at the request of the Howes.

Much of the property that abuts their neighbors is in a conservation trust managed by the the Society for the Protection of N.H. Forests.

According to Forest Society Director Jack Savage, the Howes donated their land to conservation, meaning there were no public dollars that were allocated toward its purchase.

Savage said that according to the terms of the easement, there is nothing that restricts them from granting public access but also there is nothing that requires them to allow it. In other words, they can restrict access to their property under the terms of the easement.

As to whether there will be agritourism events on Gunstock Hill Road, that decisions lies with the Belknap County Superior Court. In addition to two complaints filed by abutter Monique Twomey against the procedures allowed by the Zoning Board when it refused to uphold a cease-and-desist order, there is a case also filed by Twomey challenging the site plan granted to Timber Hill Farm by the Planning Board. Until that case is adjudicated, there is a hold on activities on Gunstock Hill Road as they relate to weddings and other such events.

In a conversation earlier this month with the Howe's co-attorney Patrick Wood, the Beans and Green farm stand is open and the Howes expect a bumper crop of locally grown produces and other homemade items this year. Wood said the family can and likely will hold weddings and similar events this summer at the pavilion on their commercial property on Intervale Road, which is allowed by right.