Rt. 44 at Rt. 5 – 1964

The intersection of Rt. 44 and Rt. 5, looking east up Rt. 44.  The house and barn stood on the site of the present-day Apple Valley Mall.  Click on image to enlarge.

1964

Smithfield Police Traffic Services Vehicle

Smithfield, R. I. Police Traffic Services Vehicle

     Ford Crown Victoria used by the Smithfield Police Department 

to protect road construction sites.   

Click on images to enlarge.

Farnum Pike, Esmond, 2018

Smithfield, Rhode Island
December 11, 2018

Fuel Depot, 644 Putnam Pike

Fuel Depot, 644 Putnam Pike

     This building is currently undergoing renovations.

Click on images to enlarge.

June, 2018

June, 2018

June, 2018

June, 2018

50 Years Ago – December, 1968

50 Years Ago – December, 1968

By Jim Ignasher

 

December, 1968

     This month denotes the 50th anniversary of a tragedy. On December 10, 1968, Smithfield police officer Norman G. Vezina was dispatched to Indian Run Trail for a report of a 5-year-old boy who had fallen through the ice of the Spragueville Reservoir. The youth’s name was Kenneth Firby, and when Vezina arrived he saw the boy struggling in the frigid water. Without hesitation, the officer went to aid the child, but unfortunately both were lost.

     Officer Vezina was promoted to the rank of sergeant posthumously.  

     Airman 1st Class Robert J. Mitchell of Greenville was home on a 30-day furlough after serving a year-and-a-half in Vietnam.

     Navy Lieutenant (j.g.) Andrew H. Aitken, Jr., of Greenville was also home on leave.

     Air Force Sergeant Robert G. Browne of Greenville was stationed in Thailand.

     The Smithfield squadron of the Civil Air Patrol awarded cadets Dennis Duhaime and Mike Hennessey the Curry Award after successful completion of training.

     Cadet Master Sergeants Linda Fornaro and Richard Larkin were promoted to Warrant Officers.

     Cadet Lieutenant Lynette Blackmore was promoted to Captain, and Cadet Captains Rosalie Verin and Paula Blackmore to Majors.

     On December 7 a Christmas dinner and theatrical program was held at the Greenville Grange Hall titled, “The Lighting of the Candles”. The event was open to the public.

     That same evening the Smithfield High School Drama Club held it first theatrical production for the 1968-69 Season with its presentation of the play “Dracula”.

     Cast members included Kevin Fallon as Dracula, with Kurt Anderson, Kathy Kelly, David de Pasquale, Susan Dearmin, Mark Beaudion, Deborah Imbruglio, and Karen Kapanakis, in supporting lead roles.

     The club had been rehearsing since the beginning of the school year.

     A fire safety tip that appeared in a local newspaper of the day advised all homeowners to keep “an ashtray in every room”, and to empty them often. It went on to explain how many fires in the home are accidentally started by careless holiday guests. Yes kids, there was a time when smoking cigarettes indoors at people’s homes was not only acceptable, it was also permissible to light a pipe or a cigar.

    Among the “Christmas specials” to be had at a local clothing store were turtle neck shirts for men, and “wool checkered” bell bottom pants for both sexes. In 1968 there was a word for these clothing styles – “groovy”.    

December, 1968

     Another store was advertising Polaroid “Swinger” cameras for $17.93 – regularly $23.95. For those too young to remember, the “Swingers” offered an “instamatic” finished photograph within sixty-seconds. The picture quality was generally poor, but it was considered quite the innovation in its time, and perfect to using to capture those special moments, or for giving as a gift for the holidays.

     The Providence Gas Company was advertising a free ham or turkey with every new gas stove purchased before Christmas. Price – $214.00

     On December 15 the annual tree lighting ceremony took place on the Greenville Common sponsored by the Apple Blossom Garden Club. Mrs. Everett Fernald, Jr., served as Chairwoman, and Senator F. Monroe Allen turned the switch that lit the tree.  

   Mr. Robert Reall of Greenville was appointed Campaign Director of Smithfield for the 1969 March of Dimes charity fundraising campaign.

     The Emblem Club of Smithfield, and the Cranford Club of Greenville, joined together to bring a Christmas celebration to the patients at Zambarano Hospital in Burrillville.

     On December 22, Santa took time out of his busy schedule to come to Smithfield, but on this occasion he wasn’t using reindeer to remain airborne. Instead, he landed at Anna McCabe School in a helicopter! The event was sponsored by the Smithfield Town Council, the Greenville and Georgiaville volunteer fire companies, and the Smithfield Jaycees. (Don’t you wish they still did stuff like this today?)

     On December 23, Scuncio Chevrolet opened for business and remained so for more than twenty years. The large auto dealership once stood where the Stop & Shop supermarket is located today.

 

 

 

 

50 years Ago – November, 1968

50 Years Ago – November, 1968

 

1968

     November of 1968 was an election year, and among the things Smithfield voters were asked to decide was a $7,000,000 sewer bond to appropriate money to replace septic systems with sewer lines. An article which appeared in a local newspaper at the time spoke of how the Woonasquatucket River was once routinely used for waste disposal.   History has shown that the bond passed.

     Air Force Master Sergeant A. Howard Thornton of Greenville received the Bronze Star at Pope Air Force Base in North Carolina for “meritorious service while engaged in military operations against Viet Cong forces” in Vietnam. M/Sgt. Thornton had also served in WWII and the Korean War.    

     Air Force Sergeant Paul Taubman of Greenville returned home after his tour of duty at Rhu Trang Air Force Base in Vietnam.    

     The Berlin Wall that once separated East and West Germany was begun in 1961. By 1968, construction on the wall still continued, with armed guards watching over workers who might contemplate trying to escape to the west.

     150 children attended a program at the Greenville Public Library titled “This is Ballet”, during which a husband and wife ballet team demonstrated and spoke about the subject of ballet, and performed a short story titled “The Stranger” through ballet.

     On November 17, the infamous “Heidi Game” aired on national television.    

     What would autumn be without football? Top executives at one television network found out when they abruptly cut short the airing of a pro-football game between the Oakland Raiders and the New York Jets. With just 65 seconds left in the game, and with Oakland trailing by three points, the network stopped broadcasting the game so it could begin its scheduled program of the movie “Heidi”. What football fans missed was a dramatic comeback by the Raiders, scoring two touchdowns and winning the game 43-32. The following day the network was flooded with angry callers, causing all future program planners from all networks to make sure such scheduling conflicts never occur again.     

     On November 22, The Beatles released their famous “White Album” which was a double album that included two long playing records. Certain examples of this album are selling for hundreds of dollars at certain on-line websites, but today one can buy the album on CD for significantly less.  

An Angel For St. Philip Church

Originally published in the Smithfield Times – November, 2018 

An Angel For St. Phillip Church

By Jim Ignasher

     Perhaps you’ve driven past St. Philip Church in Greenville recently and noticed something’s different, such as the twelve-foot-tall statue of an angel standing between St. Philip School and the church. Although the angel is a recent addition, the reason for its being there can be traced to the school’s origin in 1960.

     By the mid-1950s St. Philip parish had grown to the point where parishioners felt a parochial school for the elementary and middle school grades was warranted, and funds were allotted for its construction. Monsignor Joseph P. McNamara, then pastor of St. Philip Church, oversaw the construction of both the new school, and an adjacent convent building that would serve as a dormitory for the nuns who would serve as teachers and administrators.

     The new school opened in September of 1960 with a staff of only four nuns, each belonging to the Religious Sisters of Mercy at Mount St. Rita’s Convent in Cumberland. When they first arrived, the convent at St. Philip’s had yet to be completed, so they were temporarily housed at the St. Aloysius Home, then located on Austin Avenue.

     And the school had yet to be fully stocked with necessary items such as books and desks, forcing students to improvise for the first few weeks. Yet despite the initial set backs, the school proved to be popular among the parishioners, and by 1964 enrollment had reached capacity necessitating waiting lists. By the later 1960s, the teaching staff had grown to eight, (One teacher for each grade.), with class size routinely hovering around fifty students. Despite the large classes, the school became known for its academic excellence.

     Over the ensuing years thirty-nine Religious Sisters of Mercy served at St. Philip School, five of them as principals, which brings us to the statue of the angel. In 2016 it was announced that some demolition work would take place at the Mount St. Rita Convent, and the statue of the angel would need to be relocated in order to be saved. To make a long story short, the statue was brought to St. Philip Church to create a Mercy Memorial Garden as a way to honor and remember the nuns from the convent who served at St. Philip School.

     In August of this year the statue was placed atop a cement slab outside the school, and given a dazzling white protective coating of paint. Then a memorial walkway was installed, with inscribed bricks bearing the names of the thirty-nine sisters from Mount St. Rita Convent who taught at the school; five ivory colored bricks for those who served as principal, the rest done in red. Finally, landscaping was added.

     On September 13, a dedication ceremony was held that was led by Reverend Francis C. Santilli, the present pastor of St. Philip Parish, and assistant pastor, Father Ryan Simas, during which the statue was blessed, and named the “Angel of Peace” in reference to the Angel of Portugal who appeared before three peasant children of Fatima in 1916 asking them to pray. The following year the three children would experience numerous visions of the Virgin Mary that have become world famous.

     In addition to dedicating the statue, a large room in the former convent, now used for administration purposes, was dedicated as “Mercy Hall”, in honor of the Religious Sisters of Mercy, and another room in the school was named “Peters Place”, in honor of Sister Mary Assunta Peters, R.S.M, the first principal of St. Philip School.  

     The ceremony was well attended by an estimated 300 people, with music provided by the St. Philip School youth choir.

     Special honored guests included eight former nuns who served at St. Philip School. When it was over, they were given a special tour of the renovated convent, and invited to dinner at the St. Philip Parish Festival taking place behind the church.

 

Zina Westcot – 1818

Zina Westcot – 1818

Click on image to enlarge.

 

Smithfield, R. I. Business Ads – 1960s

Smithfield, R.I. Business Ads – 1960s

Click on images to enlarge.

September, 1967

1967

1967

1967

1967

1967

July, 1968

September, 1968

September, 1968

1968

October, 1968

December, 1968

December, 1968

John Mowry House – Smithfield, R.I.

John Mowry House – Smithfield, R.I.

     These three building were once located where the dome of the Bryant University Unistructure is presently located.  The houses on either end were re-located to another part of the campus. 

 

Old Greenville Station, Circa 1930

Old Greenville Station, Route 44, Greenville, R.I.

Circa 1930

Click on image to enlarge.

 

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