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100 Years Ago: The First Edition of Takodah Whispers

Graeme Noseworthy — February 19, 2024



Ruth Beverstock, Keene High School, 1920

The first edition of Takodah Whispers was mimeographed by Ruth Beverstock at the Keene Chamber of Commerce in late February, 1924, and was mailed out in early March to 77 boys and 43 girls. Whispers was originally conceived as a way to increase awareness, registration, and excitement for the summer seasons ahead. While no copy of the first edition has ever been located, it’s possible that there is a copy – or the mention of its contents in the records – still awaiting discovery somewhere deep within our Lake Street Archives. We do have copies dated as early as 1934 and we’re hoping to find additional evidence of older editions on paper, photo, or film in the future.

Ruth, the stenographer for the Chamber at that time, was born in Keene in 1902 and graduated from Keene High School in 1920. In 1924, she lived with her parents, Herbert and Nina, at 441 Main Street in Keene. Ruth married Dexter Henry Marsh, Jr. in 1925.

The Bank Block Building, Keene, NH

The Keene Chamber of Commerce was located at 51 Main Street and our first office, which was shared with W. E. Johnson, Jr., a district agent for the Phoenix Mutual Life Insurance Company, was in Room 1 of the Bank Block Building on the east side of Central Square at the corner of Roxbury and Main. After a devastating fire in 1934, the 5-story building was remodeled and the two upper floors were removed. As of 2024, the remaining floors of the building houses office and retail space for Keene Apartments, Central Square, and Luca’s Mediterranean Cafe, among other businesses and residents.

The Elwells with some friends at Camp Takodah in 1924

With the Cheshire County YMCA formally incorporated in 1920, we were likely a participating member of the Chamber by 1924. “Uncle” Oscar Elwell, the County Y Secretary and 50 Year Director at Camp, was well known for using any available resource in the area to help advance his relentless pursuit of rapid growth and expansion at our Y. Ruth would, no doubt, be familiar with Oscar’s “don’t ask, just do” attitude.

Later that spring, Oscar and the Board of Directors also facilitated the purchase 12 acres of land at our Richmond property. The plot is directly across from the tower on the dock. This is the area where the zip line tree is now located and the blueberry bushes grow on the east side of Cass Pond.


Photo credits:

  1. Ruth Beverstock, Historical Society of Cheshire County
  2. Bank Block Building, Wikimedia Commons
  3. The Elwells, Takodah YMCA Archives