50 Years Ago – December, 1972

50 Years Ago – December, 1972

By Jim Ignasher   

December, 1972

    Airman Charles E. Pelletier of Greenville was serving at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas.

     The Smithfield Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol took part in celebrations honoring the 31st anniversary of the founding of the C.A.P. Membership to the Smithfield squadron was open to all youths between the ages of 13 to 18. Older youth were eligible to become senior members.

     On December 7, Apollo 17 launched from Cape Kennedy with three astronauts and five mice aboard. This would be the last manned moon landing conducted by NASA up to the present day.   

December, 1972

     On December 9, The Smithfield High School Ecology Club held a paper drive. Residents were advised to drop off old newspapers and magazines at the high school to be recycled.

     On December 12, the William Winsor Parent Teachers Association held a Christmas Bazaar.

     The Smithfield Ice Rink was nearing completion, and a contest sponsored by the Smithfield Recreation Department, was held to select a design for the center of the floor that would be under the ice. The winner was Mary Natalizia of Georgiaville, who received a $35 savings bond. Other contestants, Roberta Smith, Greg Hall, and Paula Serapiglia, received awards for honorable mention.

     The awards were presented by the ice rink director, Stanley Lange.

     On December 16 the Greenville Grange held a Christmas Bazaar

     The Cranford Club of Greenville entertained patients at Zambarano Hospital.   

December, 1972

     Over one thousand citizens attended the annual Christmas Light Ceremony held at the Town Hall in Georgiaville. Music and carols were provided by the Smithfield Junior High Glee Club, and the Smithfield High School Orchestra. Upstairs in the council chambers Santa doled out gifts to the children, while adults could partake in coffee, hot chocolate, and donuts.

     The following night the annual tree lighting ceremony took place on the Greenville Common, which included a nativity scene, and an invocation given by Rev. Alvin Johnson, pastor of the Greenville Baptist Church, and Rev. William Bourdon, pastor of St. Philip’s Church.

     Music was provided by the Apple Valley Chorus, the Greenville Chorus, and Miss Olive Wilkes of St. Thomas Episcopal Church.

     Mrs. Mary E. Freeman of Greenville was appointed Chairperson of the Smithfield chapter of the March of Dimes charity.

     Members of Brownie Troop 53 of Georgiaville appeared on the local television show “Dialing for Dollars”, a show based on random telephone calls to viewers. If the person who answered the phone knew the password that was announced at the beginning of the show, they’d win money.   

December, 1972

     Five members of Boy Scout Troop 1 of Greenville were elevated to Life & Star Scouts. They were; Gerald Shirley, Charles Walsh, Timothy Walsh, Robert Ferguson, and Ronald DiNoble.

     To encourage the planting of more trees, the Smithfield Conservation Commission was taking orders for free sapling trees to be delivered in April in time for spring planting. The trees included Hemlock, Douglas Fir, White Spruce, and White Pine.

     A local business was advertising snow tires for $18.77 a pair. This did not include tax or installation. A new battery could be had for $21.86, and windshield de-icer for 87 cents a can.

     The Smithfield Neighborhood Association for Progress, (S.N.A.P.), elected new officers. Elected Chairman was Roy K. Becket; Vice Chair, Blanche Panzarella; Secretary, Beverly Viracco; Treasurer, Rev. William Bourdon.



50 Years Ago – July, 1972

50 years Ago – July, 1972

By Jim Ignasher



     U. S. Air Force Corporal William E. Edwards was promoted to the rank of sergeant while serving as an electronics specialist with the Aero Space Defense Command in Colorado.

     Kenneth M Chisolm of Greenville completed Air Force Reserve Officer Training School in South Carolina.

     At a carnival sponsored by the Smithfield Jaycees held at Waterman’s Field in Greenville, famous motorcycle performer Joe Boudreau rode the “Wall of Death” in a custom-build motordrome. The motordrome was only 24 feet in diameter, and Joe would ride the inner walls on an Indian motorcycle, accelerating to speeds sufficient to allow him to ride the walls with centrifugal force. It was said that while doing so he experienced 4.5 G’s, meaning four-and-a-half the pull of gravity. Spectators were allowed to view the action from a small railing at the top of the motrodrome, only inches for the performance.

     On July 12, a backyard carnival was held by Jeanne Pelletier. She was assisted by her mother, as well as Cheryl, Steven, and Kevin Dionne, Cheryl Pelletier, and Mrs. Blanche Desautels. The event raised eighty dollars which was donated to the Ladd School.   

July, 1972

      It was announced that popular radio show host Fred Grady of Greenville would be taking a position with station WRLM 93-3 FM beginning July 17. Fred’s show was known for playing relaxing swing music.

     The Smithfield Fire Department responded to a house fire on Farnum Pike. The residents were not home at the time and the house, although damaged, was saved. There were no injuries.

     Dutchland Farms, once located on Pleasant View Avenue, was selling a gallon of milk for 99 cents. Today a gallon of milk costs the same as a gallon of gas.   

July, 1972

      In “space race” news; The crew of the Apollo 15 moon mission was reprimanded when it was learned that 400 stamped envelopes had been smuggled aboard and carried to the moon and back at the request of foreign stamp dealer.

     NASA probe, Pioneer 10, became the first man-made object to successfully navigate its way through the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The probe reached Jupiter the following year.

     Soviet space probe Venera 8 successfully landed on the planet Venus and transmitted data for as period of time before extreme temperatures caused it to malfunction.

     On July 19, the Smithfield Neighborhood Association for Progress held their monthly meeting.   

July, 1972

     On July 23, the Smithfield Police Association met to vote to change the department’s uniform shirts from white to blue. Meanwhile, progress was being made on the construction of the new police station.

     The group, “Stop I-84 Inc.” was still campaigning to halt construction of the proposed superhighway I-84, which was to connect Hartford to Providence. The project was opposed by numerous residents both in Connecticut and Rhode Island.

     A local car dealership was offering the following cars for sale: a 1968 Lincoln Continental for $1,695; a 1969 Oldsmobile Toronado for $2,395; and a 1970 Buick La Sabre for $2,595. Each vehicle was equipped with air condition and AM-FM radio, two things that were “options” in 1972.

     Councilors working for the Smithfield Summer Recreation Program performed “The Wizard of Oz.”

     The Cranford Club of Greenville entertained patients at Zambarano Hospital in Burrillville.

     On July 26, acrobats from a small traveling circus entertained hundreds at Burgess Field in Greenville. The event was sponsored by the Smithfield recreation Department.

     Mrs. Carolyn Simmons was appointed as the new head librarian at the Greenville Public Library.

     Glocester held its 45th Annual Ancients and Horribles Parade.

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 – May, 1969

50 Years Ago – May, 1969

     David P. Petit, Stephen Paine, and Alan P. Seward, all completed basic training for the U.S. Air Force.

     Bernard J. Ferro III, of Esmond, was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the U. S. Air Force.

     Peter R. Fisher of Greenville was scheduled to receive his commission to 2nd Lieutenant in the Army Reserves upon completion of ROTC.

     Former Commander of the Balfour-Cole American Legion Post, Ralph Rathier, was elected Commander of the First District of Rhode Island. The First District includes Pawtucket, Central Falls, Lincoln, Cumberland, North Providence, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Burrillville, and Woonsocket.  

     In honor of Memorial Day, a non-denominational candle light vigil honoring deceased Smithfield veterans was held at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Greenville.

     The Smithfield Conservation Commission held its first annual awards dinner at the Club 44 restaurant.

     A conservation achievement award was given to the Apple Blossom Garden Club.  

     Mrs. Wendy Weston was given an appreciation award for her work as secretary to the Conservation Commission.

     Mrs. Dorothy Burgess was recognized for her conservation efforts to the town.

     Philip Azzolina, a Greenville jeweler, was given a civic beautification award for landscaping around his business.

     Mother’s Day fell on Apple Blossom Sunday, while the apple blossoms of local orchards were at their peak.

     On that day, the annual Apple Blossom Queen Pageant was held at the Smithfield High School with teenaged girls from grange halls around the state competing. Some local teens who took part in the competition were Susan Ashworth, of Spragueville, Pauline LeBlanc, from Esmond, Norma and Linda Hill, Sandra Colburn, Patricia Bolwell, and Joyce Steere, all from Glocester.

     Sandra Colburn was crowned Queen.

     The Smithfield Lions Club held a father-daughter dance at Louie’s Tavern. The guest speaker was Karen Jessop, who recently returned from serving aboard the hospital ship S. S. Hope.  

     The Smithfield High School Junior Prom was held in the high school cafeteria and courtyard.

     Smithfield High School Senior Virginia Vale was the winner of the Miss Rhode Island Lion Pageant. She would go on to compete in the Miss Rhode Island Universe Contest.

     The Smithfield Police Department held its annual ball at the St. Michael’s Church Hall.

     A local car dealer was advertising a 1967 Plymouth Barracuda for $1,950, a 1964 Pontiac Grand Prix for $1,250, and a 1966 Buick Electra for $1,795.  

     Speaking of cars, after two years of proposals and counter proposals, finalized plans were submitted for the redesign of the intersection of Austin Avenue and Rt. 44. Architectural drawings included three traffic islands with curbside parking and traffic passing directly in front of businesses.   The intersection has been redesigned at least twice since 1969.      

   The former Redwood restaurant which stood on the corner of Smith Ave. and Rt. 44 was burned by local firemen for training. In recent years the building had fallen into disrepair and according to one local newspaper some were happy to see it go. Today a Newport Creamery occupies the location.

     On May 22, NASA’s Apollo 10 “lunar lander” designated as “Snoopy” orbited the Moon at a mere ten miles above the surface. No humans had ever been this close to the Moon before.

     The Smithfield Jaycees elected new officers. Larry Catlow was elected President; Robert Smith, Internal Vice President; Ronald Agnes, External Vice President; Gene Viana, Treasurer; Donald Carlton, Secretary.

     The Board of Directors included Donald Brush, John Hines, William Ford, Ray Reilly, and Paul Zuchowski.

     The Cranford Club of Greenville held a meeting at St. Thomas Episcopal Church and installed new officers. Mrs. John Schlly, President; Mrs. Leo Glasheen, Jr., 1st Vice President; Mrs. Bernard Schiffman; 2nd Vice President; Mrs. Carl C. Emma, Secretary,; Mrs. Audrey Fenwick, Treasurer.

     The world’s newest ocean liner, the Queen Elizabeth II, made its maiden voyage from England to New York navigating with a Global Positioning System that was integrated with four navy satellites. This was the first private use of GPS ever utilized by a ship.  

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