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Belmont celebrates 150th anniversary

On July 5, Belmont selectman Ruth Mooney cut into a special 150th Anniversary cake for the Town of Belmont as fellow selectmen Jon Pike and Sonny Patten looked on. (Photo by Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
July 11, 2019
BELMONT A day after the nation celebrated its 243rd birthday, the Town of Belmont held its own 150th anniversary party, marking the date it separated from Gilmanton and became officially known as Belmont.

Early in the day of July 5, Barbara Howell of the Belmont Post Office set up a table at the bandstand to offer one-time only postage cancellations honoring the town's sesquicentennial celebration. The cancellation stamp read, "Celebrating 150 Years, Belmont Station, Belmont, N.H. 03220, July 5, 2019" with the town seal beside it.

At 6 p.m., however, the bell atop the Belmont Mill rang out across the village and residents gathered around the bandstand to honor their history.

Town Administrator Jeanne Beaudin got the event underway by introducing Deputy Fire Chief Mike Newhall and Police Chief Mark Lewandoski, who led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance. Selectman Ruth Mooney then read the Town Charter as written in 1869.

Previously part of Gilmanton, the charter explained how it was renamed Upper Gilmanton in 1859, and through a legislative act in 1869 was declared to be the Town of Belmont. According to historical records the name of Belmont was chosen to honor a popular political statesman of the time, August Belmont.

Beaudin also shared a commendation from New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu who acknowledged the rich history of the town and its past contributions to the state through the cotton and wool hosiery factories that thrived there for many years. He also congratulated them on their restoration and preservation of historical sites like the Belmont Mill, public library and bandstand, the preservation of the rural character of their community, and the town's continuing efforts for land and water conservation.

State Representatives John Plummer and Mike Sylvia, along with State Sen. Harold French, then joined Beaudin and Mooney on the bandstand to offer their own congratulations to the town.

"You, the citizens of Belmont, exemplify what it's like to be New Hampshire residents," French said.

Heritage Commission chair Vicki Donovan and Diane Marden of the Belmont Historical Society also offered their congratulations on an historic time in the community and reflected on the dedicated work of those who have made a difference in preserving the town's history.

Following the speakers, selectmen Ruth Mooney, Jon Pike and Sonny Patten, assisted by Belmont Rotary members, cut into three specially designed cakes, which replicated historic aspects of the town and celebrated its 150 years. Music from a Beatles' tribute band, Walrus Gumboots, then rounded out a perfect summer evening on the Belmont town green.

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