50 Years Ago – December, 1966

50 Years Ago – December, 1966

By Jim Ignasher

    Renovations at the Greenville Baptist Church were nearing completion in time for Christmas. Georgiaville cabinet maker and craftsman, Hilliare Guindon, built a new communion table. John McGrillis, a stained glass artisan from North Providence made new windows, and a paper mosaic mural for the Baptistry wall was made by Mrs. Marjorie Jaswell. The church also received new gold carpeting and a colonial style brass chandelier imported from Holland.

     One hundred years earlier Smithfield’s oldest church had undergone another major renovation when it was raised from its foundation and the vestries were built underneath. In 1966 it was reported that a record of this modification could still be seen on the back of a small closet door in the church.

     The public was invited to see the work.

     Mrs. Claire Kamanski of Greenville was appointed Mother’s March Chairman for the Smithfield 1967 March of Dimes fundraising campaign. The March of Dimes organization fights birth defects through medical care and education.

     In 2016, many do their Christmas shopping via the Internet, but in 1966 The Outlet Company of Providence advertised that those wanting to avoid crowded stores could to do their shopping by telephone. This was an innovative idea for the time.  

     Diane Ceccofiglio, 13, of Greenville, won 2nd place in the National Accordion Competition held in New York City. She played Manhattan Concerto by Eugene Ettore. Diane had been studying the instrument since she was four-and-a-half.

     Wayne Pratt of Boy Scout Troop 3 in Greenville was one of 17 scouts from the Narragansett Council to attend the 12th World Jamboree being held in Idaho in the summer of 1967.

        On December 10, the Swinging Square Dance Club of Greenville held a Dance at the Laurel Grange on Snake Hill Road.

     It was also the season for Christmas parties.

     St. Philips Rosary Guild held theirs with a pot-luck supper at the former parish hall on Smith Avenue.

     The Dorothy Dame Parent teachers Association held theirs on December 13.

     The Apple Blossom Garden Club celebrated on the 14th with a Yankee Swap.

     Smithfield Cub Scouts Pack 4 held their Christmas party at McCabe School where they put together baskets of food to be distributed in cooperation with other town organizations.

     Other organizations that celebrated the season included The Mothers of Twins Club, The Smithfield Lions, and the Georgiaville Fire Company which included Santa’s arrival on a fire truck.    

     In a time when Smart Phones were non-existent, those wishing to take “home movies” to capture the holiday moments could use what was called a “home movie camera”. One store advertised a Japanese model for $119.95, or $12 down. Of course after the film was developed one needed a 16 mm projector to view the movie. They could be had for $209.50. A movie screen was extra.

   Smithfield military servicemen home on leave included: Kenneth W. Branch, Leroy Card, Jr., Maurice Limoges, Roy A. Mariotti, Russell A. Molloy, Joseph Payette, William Servoss, Ernest Stallings, and Stephen S. Wyman.

   Paul A. Rathbun of the U. S. Air Force, was promoted to Master Sergeant.

     Among the new Christmas songs released for the 1966 season were, “Someday at Christmas”, by Stevie Wonder, and “If Everyday Were Like Christmas”, by Elvis Presley.

     On December 18th the annual tree lighting ceremony sponsored by the Apple Blossom Club was held on the Greenville Common. Carolers were led by Joe Lopez, and Mrs. Fred Wilkes of St. Thomas Episcopal Church played the carillon chimes.

     On Christmas Eve the northeast experienced a nor’easter that included thunder and lightning, and dumped up to a foot of snow in some places thus making December 25, 1966 a “white Christmas”.  

 

 

 

 

 

50 Years Ago — August 1967

By Jim Ignasher

 

On August 2 the movie, “In The Heat Of The Night”, starring Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger, premiered in New York.  The movie was a crime drama with Poitier as a Philadelphia homicide detective assisting Steiger, a small-town police chief, in solving the murder of a prominent citizen in the town of Sparta, Mississippi.  It won five academy awards including Best Picture of 1967.  A television series of the same name ran from 1988 – 1995.    

In other entertainment news country singer Bobby Gentry released he hit song, “Ode To Billy Joe”, and The Beatles song “All You Need Is Love” became a number one hit.    

 

What was termed a “zany” baseball game was held at Burgess Field in Greenville on August 7.  In this particular game, the players rode donkeys – or at least tired to.  

 

It was also on August 7 that NASA’s Lunar Orbiter 5 transmitted the most detailed photos ever taken of the dark side of the moon.  This was an important step in mapping the moon for upcoming manned lunar missions that would begin in 1969.     

 

The 3rd Annual Blue Gill Fishing Derby was held at Slack’s Pond in Greenville.  The winner was Tim McDaniel of Lakeside Drive, who caught a one pound Blue Gill, thought to be the largest one ever taken from the pond.

 

Fifteen members of Boy Scout Troop 1 of Gerogiaville returned from a camping trip at the Silver Buffalo Campground in Yawgoog Valley.  

 

How many can recall slide-film and slide-projectors?  For those who can’t slide-film was processed into transparent images that could be viewed on a large screen or wall by using a slide-projector.  (Great for showing family and friends pictures of one’s vacation trip.)  A local person advertised a slide-projector for sale that came with a whopping 60 trays, and two carrying cases, all for the price of $60.  The ad claimed the original cost for everything when new was $150.  

 

The Smithfield Recreation Department sponsored an outdoor dance at Greenlake Beach in Greenville that was attended by 200 youths.  Another was held on August 11 at Georgiaville Beach.

 

The Smithfield All Stars Little League baseball team won the Rhode Island Little League Crown against a team from Onleyville, 6-0.

 

President Lyndon Johnson approved the deployment of an additional 45,000 troops to Vietnam by June 30, 1968.

U.S. Navy Ensign Frederick J. Stephenson, Jr., of Greenville, completed Navy Supply Corps School in Athens, Georgia.  

Captain Scott McNeilly of Greenville returned home after completing his tour of duty in Vietnam.  

    

Civil Air Patrol Cadet, 2nd Lieutenant Paula M. Blackmore, of the Smithfield Composite Squadron, earned her glider pilot wings while attending a C.A. P. encampment in Elmira, New York.       

 

A Putnam Pike car dealership was offering a 1967 Cadillac convertible with factory air and an AM/FM stereo, for $5,800.  A quick check of the Internet reveals that the same car today, depending on condition, sells between twenty and thirty five thousand dollars.  

The same dealer had a 1966 Pontiac, LeMans, (Remember them?) for $2395, and a brand new ’67 Pontiac Firebird, but with no price given.  

 

The Greenville Grange, which once stood near the Greenville Post Office, held an annual picnic for its members on Johnson’s Pond.  

 

The Apple Blossom Garden Club held a food sale on the Greenville Common to raise funds for the club’s community beautification projects.  The event was chaired by Mrs. Roland Smith and Mrs. Harold Hall.

 

Speaking of community improvements, the state finally approved the construction of sidewalks on both sides of Smith Avenue from Greenville Center all the way to the Glocester town line. The move came after much pressure from local residents who had raised safety concerns.   

 

On August 25, the annual “Water Carnival” was held at Slack’s Pond in Greenville.  The show was performed by children who had completed swimming lessons conducted by Celine Welch, and Suzanne Boulais, both swim instructors for the town.  

50 Years Ago – July, 1967

By Jim Ignasher

 

In July of 1967 the Smithfield Public Health League celebrated its 55th year of operation.  Established in 1912, Smithfield’s “Ladies in Blue” would visit homes throughout the town providing nursing care to the sick or infirm, as well as provide health-care information, inoculations, and advice on disease prevention.    

The Public health League, which no longer exists, was funded through the United Way and Community Chest, as well as any fees collected from making “house calls.”  The fees, however, weren’t mandatory, and services were still provided even if the client couldn’t afford to pay.   

In 1967 the league was being run a volunteer board of directors headed by President Richard Connor of Greenville.  Paid staff consisted of two full-time nurses, and one part-time nurse, as well as an office manager, Mrs. Eleanor Williams of Esmond.  

In 1966 the agency made 2,806 home visits.  In 1,135 cases, no fees were charged.  

Another service provided by the league were children’s health conferences, which involved a ten-month series of immunization testing and shots given free of charge to children and infants under the age of six.

The league helped the elderly too.  In one instance, a league nurse made regular visits over a five year period to administer to an invalid husband and wife.  In another, a nurse would daily go to a woman’s home to give her needed injections.

         

USAF Airman First Class Cyril E. Crawley Jr. received the Air Medal while serving in Vietnam after flying 906 sorties in a C-123 aircraft under hostile conditions.

Staff Sergeant David M. Balfour of Esmond came home from Vietnam for a thirty day leave.

National Guard Airman Third Class George W. Farrelly of Greenville graduated from Air Force technical training school.

U.S. Coast Guard Seaman Apprentice Gary C. Comfort completed basic training.

Robert Dufresne completed his military service in Vietnam and returned home to Smithfield.  He’d been wounded once, and received the military’s Purple Heart Medal.

Greenville resident Lieutenant Colonel Anthony M. Marchetti of the U.S. Army Reserve was promoted to full colonel.

William D. Kelley of Greenville was promoted to Airman Second Class at Kessler Air Force base.  

On July 29, an explosion occurred aboard the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal in the Golf of Tonkin killing 134 crewmen.   

 

After years of preparation and anticipation, the Battleship Massachusetts in Fall River opened as a museum.  Today the museum complex includes two additional ships, a submarine, two PT boats, and an airplane.   

 

Town sponsored swimming lessons were given at Slacks Pond in Greenville, and Georgiaville Pond in Georgiaville.  Registration was required.

 

The Greenville Fire Company held its annual firemen’s carnival at Waterman’s Field overlooking Waterman’s Lake.  (Today, housing units stand in this area.) The carnival included food, games of skill, rides, and fireworks.  

 

The Smithfield Jaycees donated a Ford station wagon to the Greater Smithfield Section for Retarded Children.  Funds to purchase the car were raised in part through proceeds gained from hosting a St. Patrick’s Day dance in March.

 

Site excavation was begun on Limerock Road for the new Raymond E. LaPerche School.  

 

New England Telephone began construction on a new central office facility on West Greenville Road to replace the aging exchange in Scituate.  The upgrade was needed to accommodate the fast growing number of phone subscribers in this portion of the state. Once completed, area residents would be offered “touch—tone service” which equated to telephones with buttons instead of dials.  Two new exchanges would also be added, 231, and 647.  It was expected that the facility would be servicing up to 10,000 customers a day by 1977.  

 

A “Bicycle and Doll Carriage Contest” was held at the Esmond Playground.  It’s unclear what the rules of the contest were, or how it was judged, but the following children won prizes: Kenneth Bessette, Mary Bessette, James Smith, Patrick Farley, Sharon Smith, Roger Hesford, Joanne Cunningham, Becky-Jean Robenhymer, Elizabeth Roberts, and Maragaret Roberts.

 

Boy Scout Troop 3 of Greenville earned a total of 17 merit badges.  The awards were presented at Camp Yawgoog.

 

“Factory Fresh” 1967 Mustangs, Fairlanes, Falcons, and Thunderbirds, were offered for sale at a local Ford Dealership.  How many remember driving one of these?  

Smith-Appleby House Will Host its 42nd Annual May Breakfast on Sunday, May 3rd

SMITHFIELD, RI — March 23, 2015 — The Smith-Appleby House Museum in Smithfield, RI, will host its 42nd Annual May Breakfast on Sunday, May 3, 2015.

At the event, members of the Historical Society of Smithfield, dressed in Colonial garb, will host guests at the historic 18th-century home to the annual tradition of the Spring-welcoming May Breakfast.

The menu of home-cooked fare will include coffee or tea and orange juice, homemade berry breads, chilled fruit cup with yogurt, crustless country quiche with sausage, johnnycakes, Muriel Mowry Appleby Gustafson’s Boston baked beans, and a surprise dessert.

After the breakfast, visitors are invited to tour the rooms and exhibits of the House, which dates to 1696. It was built by Elisha Smith, the grandson of John Smith “The Miller,” a member of Roger Williams’ original party of six men who left the Massachusetts Bay Colony to settle in Providence. Expanded from its original construction as a one-room stone-ender cottage, the delicately restored 12-room historic farmhouse features beautiful cabinet work, varied architectural designs, original stencils, and furnished rooms showcasing an intriguing collection of antiques.

Seating is at 11 a.m. Reservations are required; call 401-231-7363. Admission is $25 per person, which includes a self-guided tour. For more information, visit https://smithapplebyhouse.org/event/42nd-annual-may-breakfast.

The House is located at 220 Stillwater Rd. in Smithfield, RI, just off I-295.

About the Smith-Appleby House Museum

The historic Smith-Appleby House is operated by the Historical Society of Smithfield, RI, as a living Museum hosting a variety of educational activities, programs, and events throughout the year. Group tours are available for schools, scouts, and other community organizations. The House and property, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, are also available to rent for private events. For more information, visit https://smithapplebyhouse.org.

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