50 Years Ago – January 1970

50 Years Ago – January, 1970

    New Years Day of 1970 ushered in a new decade which America hoped would leave the political unrest of the ‘60s behind.  Unfortunately history proved otherwise. Yet in many ways the ‘70s were a time of positive change and technological advancement despite hair styles and clothing fashions. 

     Those of us old enough to remember mood rings, pet rocks, disco dancing, mussel cars, bell bottoms, puka beads, 8-track tapes, leisure suits, platform shoes, pong, black light posters, head shops, fondue pots, bean bag chairs, mini bikes, custom vans, waterbeds, and avocado green, copper-tone, and harvest gold kitchen appliances, do so with nostalgia of simpler times. 

     Cpl. Robert A. Gurney, Jr., of Greenville was serving with the 1st Marines Aircraft Wing in Vietnam.

     CW/4 Arthur E. Arcand of Georgiaville was serving at the 5th Field Hospital in Thailand.

     Airman Gary H. Seward of Esmond was serving in the U. S. Air Force.

     Army Sgt. Thomas St. Jean of Stillwater was stationed in Germany.

     MM 3/c Wesley Wyatt of Esmond was serving in the navy aboard the USS Samuel Gompers.

     PFC George J. Schenck was serving in the U. S. Army 82nd Airborne Division.    

     The Greenville Baptist Church celebrated its 150th year.  The Anniversary Committee consisted of Rev. W. Stanley Pratt, Rev. George Daniels, Fred Potter, Elizabeth Vaughn, Lloyd Stevens, Shelly Parker, Donald Brush, Andrew Winsor, Forrest Marty, Joseph Lopez, Glenn Rawlin, L. Dexter Aldrich, Dorothy Drowne, Robert Turner, and George Leach.        

     On January 5, the soap opera “All My Children” aired for the first time on ABC.  The show continued for 41 years before ending in 2011.    

     On January 9, the Redwood Witches 4-H Club of Greenville, headquartered at Redwood Farm, elected new officers.  President: Erin McQuiddy, V.P.: Debbie Winsor, Treasurer: Robin McQuiddy, Secretary: Kris Rylander, News Reporter: Cathy Carroll, and Refreshment Coordinator: Dianne McLaren. 

     On January 25, the movie “M*A*S*H”, based on the novel by Richard Hooker, premiered in New York City.  The television show of the same name ran from 1972 to 1983.   

     On January 26, musicians Simon and Garfunkel released their song, “Bridge Over Troubled Water”.

     On January 30 the Smithfield Historical Society called a special meeting at the Town Hall to bring awareness to help save three historic buildings that once stood where the dome of Bryant University’s Unistructure is located today.   The buildings were saved, and relocated elsewhere on the campus.       


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”.  






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