50 Years Ago – February, 1972

50 Years Ago – February, 1972   

February, 1972

     Navy Seaman George Gilmore of Greenville was serving aboard the U.S.S. Milwaukee taking part in training exercises off the coast of Maine.

     Marine Corporal Patricia E. Darby of Esmond was serving at a military air station in El Toro, California.

     Carl Ackroyd of Esmond was promoted to Airman First Class in the United States Air Force. He was serving with the 87th Fighter Interceptor Squadron.

     On February 3 snow began falling in the country of Iran, which over the next six days accumulated in some areas to the incredible depth of 26 feet! The weight of the snow collapsed buildings, and when it was over an estimated 4,000 people had perished.

     On February 5 the Ecology Club at Gallagher Junior High School sponsored a paper recycling drive. Residents were asked to drop off tied bundles of newspapers and magazines.   

February, 1972

   It was also announced that on April 8th a recycling center for glass and paper would open behind “Rocco’s Corner” at Rt. 44 and Rt. 5. It would be operated by the organization known as “Ecology Action of Smithfield”. The group also petitioned the Town Council to designate the Week of April 15-22 “Smithfield Ecology Week”.

     On February 12 the first annual antique show and sale was held that the Greenville Grange Hall which was once located on Austin Avenue.

     It was also on this date that a Valentines Day dance was held at the Elks Lodge.

     In February of 1972 Connecticut began a state lottery, and advertisements in Rhode Island newspapers stated where lottery tickets could be purchased in Connecticut towns bordering Rhode Island. A spokesman from the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office announced that while it was not illegal to purchase the tickets, or to collect any winnings, it was illegal to possess such tickets within Rhode Island borders. A first offense could lead to one year in jail and up to a $500 fine. This also included tickets of the New Hampshire State Lottery and the Irish Sweepstakes. Rhode Island didn’t institute its own lottery until 1976.   

February, 1972

      Local business were advertising gifts for Valentines Day. A bottle of “Max Factor” spray mist cologne could be had for $1.75. A “skinny dip special” included a bottle of cologne and perfumed talcum powder for $1.99, and a bottle of “Emorauder, L’Aimant, or “Arpege” perfumes were $3.00 each.

     A 20 oz. bottle of mouth wash, if one felt it was necessary, was just eighty-eight cents.

     On February 19 an “Icicle Ball” was held at the Elks Lodge on Farnum Pike to raise funds for the newly appointed “Smithfield Ice Rink Committee”, which was charged with generating interest for the construction of an ice rink in town.

     It was also on this date that the sit-com television show “All in The Family” first aired.

     The Cranford Club of Greenville entertained patients at Zambarano Hospital. Mary Flynn, Agnes Jorden, Mildred Morin, Edith McDermott, Ida Suppicich, Jeanette Fournier, and Viola Glasheen organized the event.   

February, 1972

    A proposal was put before the Smithfield Town Council to develop the former Latham Farm situated between Farnum Pike and Log Road into Wionkehiege Valley Estates. The original proposal included condominium and commercial properties, walking trails, and a nine-hole golf course. However, public opposition to certain aspects of the project led to a significantly scaled down version of the plan.

     The Federal Communications Commission enacted new rules for cable television. Each cable network now had to have at least twenty channels.

     Smithfield received a $237,600 grant from the state Economic Development Administration for construction of a new police station. As such, the taxpayers only had to pay $59,400 to complete the project.   

February, 1972

    Snow mobiles were becoming more popular by the early 1970s and based on photos and an article which appeared in The Observer, there was a group of enthusiasts in Greenville known as “The Easy Sliders” that wore a custom-made round patch on their snowsuits. If anyone happens to have one of these patches, would you please e-mail an image of it to the Smithfield Times?

     Finally, last month it was mentioned in this column that in January of 1972, the town had auctioned the D.P.W.’s first piece of mechanized equipment, a 1928 Caterpillar tractor which had been named “Nelly Belle”. It has since been learned that the tractor still exists, and has been fully restored and maintained by the Adler family of Greenville.

50 Years Ago – September, 1971

50 Years Ago – September, 1971

By Jim Ignasher


September, 1971

      Airman Carl Ackroyd of Esmond completed basic training at Lackland Air Force Base.

     Harry Latham was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force. His father, retired air force Major Irving Latham was present.

     Navy lieutenant Wesley E. Foutch was serving at the naval air station in Lakehurst, New Jersey.

     Army Captain Edmond B. Lynch, Jr. of Greenville was awarded the bronze Star while serving with the 23rd Infantry Division in Vietnam.

     Patricia Darby of Spragueville was promoted to the rank of corporal in the United States Marine Corp.

     On September 4th the Concorde, a supersonic commercial passenger aircraft, made its first transatlantic flight from France to the Cape Verde Islands traveling at an average speed of 1,222 miles per hour.   

September, 1971

      Animal Control Officer George Kelly was dispatched to a home on Farnum Pike for a report of a man up a tree. Upon arrival he encountered a vicious dog that would not allow the man to climb down from his perch. When Kelly attempted to capture the dog, it attacked him and bit him on the arm. The dog was eventually restrained, and when Smithfield police located the owner, they were informed that the dog was used in security work.

     The Smithfield Historical Society elected new officers. William R. Gustafson was elected president; John F. Emin, Jr., vice president; Mrs. Joseph Mollo, recording secretary; Mrs. Ralph Harris, corresponding secretary; and John Hines, treasurer.

     The Apple Blossom Garden Club held a meeting in the Esmond Recreational Hall. The guest speaker was Mrs. Evelyn Umphrey who lectured about aromatic herbs.

     On September 8th the Smithfield Golden Agers elected new officers. Margaret Sanderson was elected president; William Tiebault, vice president; Mary Keough, treasurer; Stella Hill, secretary; and Elizabeth Holt and Agnes Barby to “publicity”.

     On September 9th, the Smithfield Neighborhood Association for Progress, (SNAP), held a meeting at the Greenville Manor.

     On September 10, “Art Group 70”, an association formed in 1970 to promote fine arts and crafts in Northern Rhode Island held its first general meeting at the Greenville Public Library.   

September, 1971

     On September 11th, Luna 18, an unmanned Soviet moon probe crashed on the moon’s surface.

     On September 15th, the United States Forest Service, building on its success with the Smokey the Bear anti-forest fire campaign, introduced “Woodsy Owl”, with the slogan, “Give a hoot, don’t pollute.” as part of it’s Keep America Beautiful campaign.

     The Greenville Grange held its 65th installation of officers at the Greenville Grange Hall once located on Austin Avenue. Joseph Connetti was elected Master; Mildred Paterson, Assistant Steward; Mildred Stone, Flora; Mary Sheffield, Pomona; Ruth Smith, Lecturer; Louise MacDonald, Chaplain; Howard Horton, Secretary; Earle Huse, Overseer; Gerald Fielder, Overseer; Jo Ann Atkinson, Steward; and Ernest Smith, Executive Committee. The first installation was held in 1907.

     The Town of Smithfield received $39,195 in federal funds to combat the town unemployment rate of 12%.

    The Smithfield Raiders football team won the homecoming game against South County 18 to 0.

     “Billy Burr’s Fun-O-Rama” carnival was held at the Apple Valley Mall. Advertisements promised “new rides, new games, and new thrills – fun and excitement for everyone”. A major draw was to be “The Great DeFoce” an aerial acrobat who would perform “suicidal stunts” 100 feet in the air.

     The once popular LOOK magazine announced that due to rising costs and declining revenues its October 19, 1971 issue would be its last.


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