WARREN — The town's Old Home Day will have extra meaning this year as one of the town's native sons, late U.S. Senator Norris Cotton, will be honored with a memorial marker in his name.
Old Home Day runs from July 13-15, will a full schedule of activities, but on July 14 at 1 p.m. dignitaries such as Executive Councilor Raymond Burton and District 2 State Sen. Jeanie Forrester will be on hand to honor the three-term senator, said George Bloom, the longtime town resident who started the movement to get the state marker.
Also on hand will be Cotton's niece and nephew, Bloom said, as well as people from town who knew the senator well.
Cotton was born in 1900 in Warren. After graduating from Phillips Exeter Academy, he earned a law degree at George Washington University Law School and practiced law in Lebanon.
A Republican, he was elected to the state Legislature in 1942, and to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served from 1947 to 1954. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1954, and served in that role until 1975.
Among his best-known achievements is the Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth. Founded in 1972, it is one of just 40 comprehensive cancer centers in the United States. Cotton secured $3 million in federal funding for the cancer center's establishment.
But Cotton never lost touch with his hometown, Bloom said.
“He was born very humble, and he never forgot us here in Warren,” Bloom said. “He used to come back to Pearl Cushing's store, just for her homemade bread.”
Bloom said he met Cotton when the late senator was in his last few months of life before Cotton died in 1989, so they didn't converse much. But Cotton is a hero to Bloom and many in Warren.
“He treated his work in Washington like it was a job he had to do, and that's special,” Bloom said. “It seems like each century New Hampshire produces someone special, Daniel Webster, John Stark … in the 20th century, it was Norris Cotton.”
Five years ago, at a senior luncheon, Bloom began discussing the idea of getting a state-supplied historic marker on a pole to honor Cotton. After investigating the possibility, Bloom and his friends began the application process, and the historic marker was granted this year.
The marker will be unveiled at the ceremony in front of the town offices, an hour after the Old Home Day parade ends.
“A whole generation has passed since he passed,” Bloom said.
“We're hoping this will help people know who Norris Cotton was.”