New Boston Historical Society
New Boston, New Hampshire


New Boston 4th of July Parades

There have been 4th of July celebrations in New Boston for as long as anyone can remember. Wouldn't it be fun to go back in time sixty or seventy years to see the old parades? In 2021 we were given the opportunity to do just that when Tom Shirley sent us home movies made by his grandmother Lois Hersey, movies which date back to 1947.

Brad & Lois Hersey
Brad & Lois Hersey in a 4th of July Parade

Tom's New Boston grandparents were Brad and Lois Hersey, the well-dressed couple you see in the carriage. Lois enjoyed making movies with her 8mm film camera, and her grandson has converted the old movie reels into video format. With the permission of the Shirley and Hersey families, we've posted a collection of Lois's parade movies on YouTube. This page is a guide to the 28-minute YouTube video, "New Boston 4th of July Parades 1947-1963".

You may view the YouTube video in full-screen format.

Parade route (arrows added to an aerial photo from 1950)

Parades typically started at the top of High Street, near the intersection of the Francestown and Weare Roads. Note in the 1950 aerial photo that the Tavern stable has not yet been relocated 100 feet to the south, where it later became a bank.

Reggie Hayes riding his "boneshaker" down High Street. Was this the oldest bicycle in America?

Kane's luncheonette Tates
Before the parade crossed the bridge, it passed by the Kane Brothers' luncheonette, which is now Tates Gallery.

tie factory library
The Brown & Wells necktie factory was on your left as you crossed over the bridge.
The building is gone; the property is now a garden center.
The parade turned right onto Mill Street at the library, the brick building that's now the Historical Society museum.
Our chimney is no longer visible due to the library addition built in 1981.

Clover Farm Stores Northeast Cafe
The Clover Farm Stores on Mill Street is now the Northeast Cafe

school school
The parade turned left again from Mill Street onto Meetinghouse Hill Road at the village school (Grades 1-12) where the Fire Station is today.

handtub handtub
The parade ended at the ballfield behind Town Hall. Here you might see Constitution #2, the hand-pumped fire engine.
The video contains rare footage of a Firemen's Muster. When in competition, the Constitution could "throw water" 200 feet!

About the filmmaker: Lois Hersey and her husband Brad lived at "Powderhorn Farm" on Thornton Road at the end of Hersey Lane. They also owned the historic "Great Meadows Farm" on Bunker Hill Road, which was once the home of New Boston's first settler Thomas Smith. Click here to read a biography of Lois Elliott Hersey (1904-1991) written by her granddaughter Caroline Woodward.

Tom reels
Lois's grandson Tom Shirley and his Wolverine "Movie Maker Pro," which converts movie film to video.

The Historical Society thanks Tom Shirley for his many hours of work preserving Lois's movies, and his cousin Sara Hersey Behrsing for suggesting that Tom contact us!

—Dan R. 2021