Oct. 19: Millyard Museum to open exhibit celebrating the Queen City Athletic Hall of Fame

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Aaron Tolson

MANCHESTER, NH – The Millyard Museum will open its exhibit celebrating the Queen City Athletic Hall of Fame with an open house to be held Oct. 19 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

“We were able to obtain more than 90 photographs of the men and women who were inducted into the hall,” said John Clayton, executive director of the Manchester Historic Association, “and we made an extra effort to get photos from the athletes in their playing days.”

In addition to the photographs, the exhibit will also include artifacts and memorabilia from the Hall of Fame, including trophies, correspondence and bios of the many inductees, including nationally renowned figures such as Chip Kelly, Ryan Day, Mike Flanagan and Chris Carpenter.

Bob Rivard

The QC Hall of Fame was begun in 1989 under the direction of Bill Allen and Clem Lemire, who was director of the Parks and Recreation Department at the time.

The two men assembled a crackerjack volunteer group of men and women who, over the course of 20 years, argued, bickered and negotiated over who would be allowed into the hall.

Eventually, the selection committee grew to include 40 volunteers, and those who made it into the hall 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.

Ellen O’Neil

“But only 144 names made it onto the original plaque,” Clayton said. “Thanks to our friends at Harris Trophy, we were able to find a second matching plaque that was never engraved with the names of honorees from the years 2000 through 2009,” he said. “Now our exhibit will formally unveil that second plaque, which honors an additional 109 inductees.”

Don Sarette

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 were among the first women to make the grade.

“The tricky part of this whole plan is that there was no existing repository of photos of all of those athletes,” Clayton said. “Thus, we’ve spent the past six months reaching out to the honorees and their friends and family members, and we’ve collected those 90 photos that will populate the exhibit.”

For more information on the exhibit or the Oct. 19 opening event, call 603-622-7531 or write to jclayton@manchesterhistoric.org