50 Years Ago – April, 1966

By Jim Ignasher

Banking has certainly changed since 1966, and one example is the amount of interest banks once gave on savings accounts.  An ad for Industrial National Bank offered 4% interest, “from the day of deposit, to the day of withdrawal.” 

Meanwhile, Pawtucket Institution For Savings offered 4.25%, plus the choice of a free gift of a briefcase, a blanket, or cooking utensils, just for opening the account.  

S. Air Force Airman 3/C David W. Villandry graduated from Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas, and was scheduled for assignment to the Tactical Air Command in Louisiana.

William N. Smith of Smithfield graduated from the Rhode Island Army National Guard Noncommissioned Officers Academy.  He was assigned to the 43rd Engineers Battalion.

Army captain Samuel L. Lemmon Jr. of Appletown Road, Greenville, was promoted to the rank of Major.  Major Lemmon served in Vietnam where he earned two Bronze Stars, the Air Medal, a Purple Heart, the Vietnamese Cross for Gallantry, and the Vietnam Medal of Honor (1sr Class) for heroism.  At the time he was promoted, he was serving as an assistant professor of military science at Providence College as part of the ROTC program. 

The Smithfield Jaycees announced their plans to hold the Miss Smithfield Pageant at the newly open high school on Pleasant View Avenue on May 28th.  They were still accepting applications from ladies between the ages of 18 and 26.  Contestants would be required to display a talent for a maximum of three minutes.  Talent categories included: dancing, singing, playing a musical instrument, dramatics, art display, dress design, creative writing, or give a talk about their respective career choice.

The Rhode Island Fruit Growers Association announced their plans for the 6th Annual Apple Blossom Queen Contest to be held May 8th at Anna McCabe School.

The Apple Blossom Queen for 1965 was Miss Marilyn Fulford.

The Smithfield Women’s Golf League held its first meeting at the town hall. The league was open to all women over 18 regardless of golfing skill.

It was announced that Easter services would be held at the historic Union Meeting House on the Smithfield/North Smithfield town line.  The building, which dates to 1860, had been closed for awhile.  The service was scheduled to be conducted by Joseph S. France, pastor of the North Smithfield Baptist Church. (The Union Meeting House is in Smithfield.)

The Providence Gas Company brought a gas line down Greenville Avenue from Johnston, thereby bringing city gas to the Greenville area for the first time. 

A local auto dealership was advertising a 1957 Chevy convertible, with a V-8 Power-glide engine, for a mere $111.  An Internet search shows that such a car today would sell for between $80,000 and $100,000. 

The same dealership offered a 1959 Chevy, 2dr. with 40,000 original miles. As to asking price the ad simply said, “priced low”. 

In the 1960s, not all cars came standard with radios as such things were “optional”.  A local retail store advertised “in dash or under dash” radios for $22.88. 

If one didn’t drive, they could buy a Columbia bicycle for $37.88.    

The Smithfield Township Preservation Council met on April 12 to discuss how to improve the appearance of Greenville Center.  

The Smithfield High School’s newly formed History Club held its first meeting on April 13.  The club sponsor was Alfred P. Balasco.

Miss Kathleen Connor held a familiarization tour of the new school library.

The first Smithfield Sentinels baseball game of the season took place with Al Bourassa hitting a grand-slam, and Mike Loiacato hitting a two-run homer.  Pitcher Steve Pechie threw for five innings, with Howard Turner and Jim Connell each pitching for one.   

April 17 – 23 was National Library Week.  The slogan for 1966 was, “Know what you’re talking about, read.”

If someone was unsure as to what to get their wife or mother for Mother’s Day, a local appliance dealer suggested “a perfect gift for Mothers Day”; the Golden Touch Kelvinator, 2 speed, 8-cycle, washing machine!  As every husband who’s ever had to sleep on the couch knows, nothing says “I Love You” like an appliance.

Return to Top ▲Return to Top ▲