For one magnificent century, AHA! has showcased the excitement, splendor, and commerce that is New Bedford. Even before New Bedford was called Nieue Beige or DownBeeNewBeeCity or Historic Waterslide or whatever. I thought I'd celebrate AHA!'s 100th year of Second Thursdays by sharing some AHA! Trivia.
- AHA! (Art! History! Architecture!) was briefly called ACEH!(Art!CurrentEvents!Architecture!) because there hadn't been any history yet. When the steering committee was informed that ACEH! sounded like a sneeze, they went back to AHA! but changed the final 'A!' to Architecture! from the former Agriculture!
- June 1910's "Our Family Shares Piecework Night" (photo by Lewis Wickes Hine) was popular among millworkers who couldn't take the Thursday night off. And kids who made a nickel without losing a finger to a loom.
- The single most popular AHA! night was January 1934's "Free Dawson's Beer and Grandiloquence Night," celebrating the ultimate repeal of Prohibition. I've mentioned this elsewhere. Dawson's shrank into obscurity after supplying New Bedford with 18,073,908 of those 4½-ounce glasses of beer you get at places like Harry Hope's saloon in The Iceman Cometh. But AHA! lived on.
- AHA! was the first fully integrated monthly Second Thursday downtown celebration in North America.
- The only United States President to attend AHA! was Calvin Coolidge, and he was only Vice-President at the time. He was called to New Bedford in 1920 to settle a policemen strike. When he learned that the policemen weren't striking, but were actually just a bit lackadaisical, he enjoyed a diablo burrito at ¡No Problemo! (No Problemo lost both the ¡ and the ! during the Exclamation Point Collapse of 1936). Miraculously, AHA!'s ! was unscathed.
- Mamie Eisenhower.
- The only professional-sports-themed AHA! night was held in February 1916, "Olde Towne Teame Nighte," the only date when Smokey Joe Wood and the rest of the 1915 World Series-winning Boston Red Sox could make it and Jimmie's Hot Dogs was open. Newly-signed pitcher George Herman Ruth Jr. enjoyed the dogs and the rest is History!
- AHA! had nothing to do with this:
- No AHA! night has specifically celebrated the wanton systematical slaughter of cetaceans. But c'mon, it's NEW BEDFORD!