50 Years Ago – October, 1971

50 years Ago – October, 1971

     Technical Sergeant Alonzo F. Thurber was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal for outstanding work while serving at Hof Air Force base in Germany.

     Air Force Second Lieutenant Harry L. Latham entered pilot training.

     William R. Couture of Greenville was promoted to Staff Sergeant while serving in the United States Air Force Tactical Air Command.

     Navy seaman George J. Gilmore of Greenville was serving aboard the tanker ship U.S.S. Milwaukee.

     Navy airman David R. Young of Greenville was serving aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Intrepid.

     Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, officially opened to the public at 10:00 a.m. on October 1. Ten-thousand people attended the first day. In 1971, the price for a one day park pass was $3.50.

     15-year-old Jack McBride of Pleasant View Avenue was promoted to Eagle Scout. He was a member of Troop 4 in Greenville.

     Dancing classes, sponsored by the Smithfield Recreation Department, were begun. The classes, taught by Miss Karen Proulx, included tap, jazz, and ballet.

     On October 6, the Cranford Club of Greenville, hosted a party for patients at Zambarano Hospital in Burrillville. The Cranford Club was a charitable civic organization established in 1905.

     A “Punt, Pass, and Kick” competition, open to all boys ages 8 through 13, was held at the Smithfield High School. The event was sponsored by Notorantonio Ford and the Smithfield Jaycees. The winners in each age category were: John Germano, Kenneth Albanese, Greg Williams, Mike Tartaglia, Douglas Hanson, and Edward Gauthier. They went on to compete in an area wide championship held in Cranston.

     The Smithfield Raiders football team took first place in the American Conference of Rhode Island Pre-teen Football League by beating the North Providence Jets 30 – 0.

     Smithfield High School held its annual Homecoming event and twelve local students were nominated for Homecoming Queen. They were; Mary Provonsil, Julie Guidone, Kathy Wright, Diane Guglielmino, Paula Commendatore, Debbie Christiansen, Ellen Provonsil, Anne Short, Karen Henriksen, Geraldine DiSteffano, Debbie Cerrone, and Diane Hudson.

     Geraldine DiSteffano was crowned the queen.

     The Stonehenge Apartments in Greenville were opened for rental. An advertisement read, “Giving a home like feeling rather than apartment living.” (No children – no pets.)

     Rhode Island’s Governor Frank Licht issued a proclamation naming October 7 – 16 National Apple Week.

     A local Chevrolet dealership was offering a 1969 Chevelle Sport Coupe with a sliver and blue exterior and deep blue interior, equipped with a V-8 engine, power steering, and four new tires, all for $1,895. The same car today, restored, sells in the neighborhood of $40,000.

     On October 23 – 24, the “Apple Valley Gem and Mineral Show”, sponsored by the Rhode Island Mineral Hunters Club, was held at Anna McCabe School.

     It was also on October 23rd that a genuine “German Bierfest” sponsored by the Smithfield mental Health Association was held at Waterman’s Lake. The event featured authentic German food and music.

     Smithfield received an $11,000 grant from the Rhode Island Conservation Commission to go towards the purchase of a 43.7 acre parcel of land on Old Forge Road to be used for open space and recreational purposes. This was a matching grant, which means the town had to contribute the same amount to bring the total cost up to $22,000. The land had been owned by Burton and Mary Mowry, who’d agreed to sell.

     Today the property is known as the Mowry Conservation Area and features a picnic area, a brook, and walking trails.

     The road gets its name because of an 18th century iron forge that once existed there. It is said that the forge produced cannons for the Revolutionary War.

     On October 24th, students of Mrs. Helen Taubman gave a piano recital at the Greenville Library. They were: Lisa Clemence, Susan Waradzin, Lynda Buckley, and Patti Monahan.

     On October 30 – 31, the public was invited, (for a “reasonable price”), to ride in an “Air-Cycle” at Brush’s Field at Waterman’s Lake. An Air-cycle was a type of hover craft that floated a few inches off the ground and could be used in rough terrain and on water.

50 Years Ago – January, 1971

50 Years Ago – January, 1971

By Jim Ignasher


Navy Petty Officer 3/c Lloyd Courtemanche of Greenville was serving aboard the U.S.S. La Salle.

James P. Hegarty of Greenville was appointed to the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Air Force T/Sgt. Kenneth W. Fuller of Spragueville was serving in Torrejon, Spain.

A local newspaper held a “first baby of the year” contest of which Robert H. Hartley III of Esmond was the winner. His parents received an assortment of prizes donated by local businesses.

At midnight on January 1st a new law went into effect banning cigarette advertisements from television and radio. The law was aimed at keeping youngsters from wanting to smoke.

A local newspaper carried an advertisement for an “Air-cycle”, said to be an “all season escape machine”. It carried one person and behaved like a hover-craft. It was driven by a powerful propeller blade and would float on a small cushion of air thus enabling it to perform on water, ice, snow, muddy terrain, and sand, at speeds in excess of 40 mph. As to price, one had to call for details.

On January 12, the television series “All in the Family” starring Carroll O’Connor, Jean Stapleton, Sally Struthers, and Rob Reiner, aired for the first time on CBS.

The Smithfield Jaycees honored Buddy Balfour as “outstanding young man of the year” for his work done with the Smithfield Raiders football team

Sergeant James H. McVey and Detective Saverio E. Serapiglia of the Smithfield Police taught a driver’s education class at the Smithfield High School.

Student Dennis Henlin received an award for highest marks.

A local Ford dealership was advertising a 1971 Ford maverick for $2,247; a 1971 Mustang for $2,982; a Galaxie 500 for $3,247; and a Pinto for $2,107.

On January 28, the group, Ecology For Smithfield held a meeting at the Greenville Grange to discuss pollution reduction.

On January 31, Apollo 14 took off from Cape Kennedy bound for the moon carrying astronauts Alan B. Shepard, Jr., Stuart Roosa, and Edgar Mitchell. This was the second trip in space for Shepard, who in 1961 became the first American to travel in space in a one-man Mercury space capsule.

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