Exeter History Minutes

In each episode of this monthly video series, Exeter Historical Society curator Barbara Rimkunas explores a fascinating aspect of Exeter, New Hampshire's history.

What happens when you mix questionable labor practices, a language barrier, an angry group of men and a lone police officer? Nothing good. In this episode, Barbara explores an Exeter true crime story, ripped from the headlines of 1891, and then leaves you to reach your own conclusions.
In the late 19th century, Alice Chesley taught school and then worked in Exeter's probate office. In her 30s, she decided to study medicine, eventually becoming Exeter's first female doctor. In this episode, Barbara examines the twists and turns in Dr. Chesley's life, including her journey from teacher to physician.
It is often said that the United States is a nation of immigrants; to the extent that it is true, Exeter is no exception. In her recent research, Barbara has uncovered a wealth of material about Exeter's immigrants.

The Swasey Pavilion - or the Exeter Bandstand, as it is commonly known - is more than just a place for the band to play. It's a work of art! Built in the summer of 1916, the bandstand was designed by Henry Bacon - the architect of the Lincoln Memorial - and gifted to the town by industrialist Ambrose Swasey.

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For over 70 years, the Rockingham County Courthouse sat between the Exeter Town Hall and the Congregational Church, an imposing and beautiful building. Well, as they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and after the court had moved out of downtown, some who beheld it just weren't feeling it.
In the dark early morning hours of September 3rd, 1965, several people -- including two police officers -- saw unexplained red lights over and around Exeter. This would come to be known as the "incident at Exeter." For the 50th anniversary of the "incident", Barbara explores this strange occurrence.
In February of 1860, Abraham Lincoln stepped off the train in Exeter, New Hampshire, to visit his son, a student at Phillips Exeter Academy. Lincoln's trip east became a turning point in his life and career; just three months later, he was the Republican nominee for president.
Do you ever wonder what Exeter folks did to beat off the winter blues before television and the internet? In 1938, the Exeter Lions Club teamed up with the New England Sled Dog Club to run a Sled Dog Race in January. Thousands of people came from far and wide to watch the dogs, women and men race.

We have produced over fifty Exeter History Minutes. To see more episodes, visit our YouTube Channel.

The Exeter History Minutes are written and "performed" by curator Barbara Rimkunas and produced by program manager Laura Martin.