MANCHESTER, NH – The Millyard Museum has recently acquired the commemorative plaque from the Queen City Athletic Hall of Fame and is seeking photographs of the many honorees who were recognized by the organization.
“Our plan is to mount the plaque in our Discovery Gallery and surround it with a changing array of photos from the many honorees in their athletic hey-day,” said John Clayton, executive director of the Manchester Historic Association.
The QC Hall of Fame was begun in 1989 under the direction of Bill Allen and Clem Lemire, who was director of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department at the time.
The two men assembled a crackerjack volunteer group of men and women who, over the course of 30 years, argued, bickered and negotiated over who would be allowed into the hall.
“Basically, Bill and Clem conned us into serving on the committee,” said volunteer (and 1999 inductee) Frank Harlan.
Eventually, the selection committee grew to include 40 volunteers, “And let’s just say we had some very spirited conversations over who should and should not be in the Hall of Fame,” Harlan added.
Those who made the cut got to give a speech before a full house at the annual awards banquet at St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral – some speeches were interminable – but more importantly, their names were engraved on the plaque.
“And truth be told, Bill Allen was not the best speller in the world,” Clayton said. “By that I mean that there are some misspelled names that are forever engraved on the plaque, but to me, that’s part of its charm.”
All told, there are 144 names on the plaque. In the beginning, honorees were chosen by the era in which they played. Thus, 1940s greats like Bob Chabot and Jumbo Reilly went in together. Notables from the 1950s include Billy Pappas, Bo Dickson and Lou Kirouac. From the ’60s, Steve Schubert and Mike Flanagan were in that first class, as were Don Macek and Dan Duval from the 1970s.
The field opened considerably after that first wave of inductees – to female athletes in particular, as Rachel Plante and Cindy Vaios made the grade in 1990. From there, the list goes on and on until the year 2000 when long-time West High School girls’ soccer coach Jack Amero was the last to have his name listed on this plaque.
He was not the last to be inducted, however.
“Here at the MHA, we have program books that show the organization ran through 2009, “ Clayton said, “so it’s my guess that there is a subsequent plaque out there somewhere, and obviously, we’d love to have that complementary piece.”
Whether or not that piece is recovered, the Millyard Museum will install the existing plaque and surround it with as many as half a dozen photos of the athletes who are immortalized on the plaque, then rotate others in over time.
“But here’s the tricky part,” Clayton said. “We do not have the individual photos as a part of our collection. We need the athletes themselves – or their loved ones – to reach out to us with pictures of them in action.
“We’re sure there are photos on living room walls all over the city,” he added, “and with today’s technology, people email them to us or simply bring the photos in, we can scan them, return them, and the images will then become part of the display over time.”
To submit photos for inclusion in the Millyard Museum display, call 603-622-7531 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org