A Life of Service to His Country and His Hometown
Warren Huse ’52 remembers convincing his mother to type the newspapers he created as early as first grade, but his first semi-professional gig was at Cardigan Mountain School in 1950 when he, Byron Koh ’52, and a half dozen others started a student newspaper, the Cardigan Chronicle.
“This paper aims to bring to you the important happenings of school life and expects to go places,” they wrote in their first issue. The Chronicle did indeed go places, documenting the life of the school and eventually growing into the bi-annual mag- azine it is today. As for Warren, he too went places and played an important role later in life, recording the daily events in his hometown and documenting its history.
Mr. Huse will tell you that he believes that most of the paths on which he has walked throughout his life were not chosen intentionally but were rather serendipitous wanderings during which he did little to direct his course. Take, for example, his career in the military. “I did ROTC in college because my father did,” says Mr. Huse. “A colonel suggested that I transfer to the regular army, and the next thing I knew I had been there for 21 years.” Assignments took him all over the world from Japan to the Dominican Republic, from Vietnam to Germany.
Then there were the 23 years Mr. Huse worked for the New Hampshire Music Festival. Mr. Huse says that it all started because he went to a concert when he returned from the army and by chance met Executive Director Phil Walz, who asked him if he wanted to be the assistant stage manager for $2.50/hour. Mr. Huse said yes. The next summer he was promoted to stage manager and filled that position every summer until 2004.
Perhaps a bit of serendipity has played a role in determining the paths down which life has taken Mr. Huse, but hard work and showing up have certainly helped as well. The Chronicle, for instance, was completely student run, and Mr. Huse and his classmates faithfully wrote, designed, printed, and distributed seven eight-page issues that first year.
In return for his hard work, Cardigan provided Mr. Huse and his staff with opportunities to learn about journalism from professionals. In 1951, Mr. Huse and Mr. Koh traveled to New York City with Cardigan teacher John Marr to a Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA) conference, during which Mr. Huse says he first learned about the 5 Ws and 1 H (Who, What, Where, When, Why and How), how to write a good lead, and the journalistic practice of using a descending order of importance. Mr. Huse remembers meeting UN peacekeeper Ralph Bunche and hearing New York Times correspondent Harrison Salisbury. He attended a second cSpa conference the following year, this time with fellow staff member David Fox ’55.
Returning home to New Hampshire, Mr. Huse continued his preparation for a career in journalism, first enrolling in a six-week summer typing course at the Laconia Business College. The typing skills he learned there, he says, made a tremendous difference in all his later academic and journalistic endeavors. In high school, Mr. Huse worked on the student newspaper at Kimball Union Academy, and in college he wrote for The Dartmouth, America’s oldest college newspaper.
After his 21 years of military service, Mr. Huse returned to his hometown of Laconia, NH in 1981, and found a job at The Citizen, working as a typesetter and later overseeing the obituaries and pitching in on stories when deadlines were pending. Mr. Huse also became an active member of the Laconia Historical Society and utilized his passion for local history to write a weekly column, “Our Yesterdays.” For almost 30 years (first for The Citizen and later for The Laconia Daily Sun), he has researched and shared the events and news from 10, 25, 50, 75, 100, and 125 years ago. He also features photos of then and now, documenting the historical changes in Laconia from one era to the present.
“Every day, I learn something new,” Mr. Huse says. “More times than not, I discover that what I thought was the case 25 years ago, may not have been that clear-cut; occasionally I’m dead wrong. Journalists are trained to try to cover all the opposing points of view and to pursue inconsistencies in ‘the facts.’ Historians need to do the same.”
In addition to his weekly column, Mr. Huse has also written four books about the history of Laconia. In the 1990s, he published three volumes in the Arcadia Images of America series: Laconia (1995), The Weirs (1996), and Lakeport (1999). In 2017, Celebrate Laconia: 125 Years of the Lake City, a hardcover coffee-table type book of 160 pages, was published by The Laconia Daily Sun.
Serendipity? Perhaps. But that would disregard the unwavering commitment Mr. Huse has demonstrated, mastering his craft and showing up when there is work to be done. His commitment to telling the stories of his hometown and sharing Laconia’s rich history is noteworthy and required far more than just a few chance encounters. From the Cardigan Chronicle to The Laconia Daily Sun, Mr. Huse’s voice has made a difference in the communities in which he has lived.