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5 Fun Facts About April 8 In New Hampshire History

---Learn Every Day: NH Today In History Facts Texted Each Day - Text: history nh To: 618-270-4005---

1. In 1991, New Hampshire governor Judd Gregg signed into law a bill recognizing the red-tailed hawk as the official state raptor of the Granite State. The red-tailed hawk is known for its distinctive red tail feathers and is a common sight in New Hampshire's forests and fields.

2. On April 8, 1864, the town of Fitzwilliam in southwestern New Hampshire suffered a devastating fire that decimated much of its downtown area. More than 50 buildings were destroyed in the blaze, which was sparked by a faulty chimney in one of the town's hotels.

3. In 1925, the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine (just across the Piscataqua River from Portsmouth, New Hampshire) began construction on the USS Yorktown, a revolutionary aircraft carrier that would serve the U.S. Navy for more than three decades. The Yorktown saw action in World War II and the Vietnam War before being decommissioned in 1970.

4. On April 8, 1917, the United States officially entered World War I, joining the Allied Powers in their fight against Germany and the Central Powers. Hundreds of thousands of New Hampshire residents would serve in the war effort, both on the front lines and in support roles.

5. In 1975, the New Hampshire Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling in the case of State v. Dorsey, declaring that the state's death penalty statute was unconstitutional. The ruling was based on the court's finding that the statute was too vague and therefore violated the due process rights of defendants. The decision effectively abolished the death penalty in New Hampshire, a stance the state would maintain until 2019, when it passed a new death penalty law that was later repealed in 2020.
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