50 Years Ago – January 1973

50 Years Ago – January, 1973

By Jim Ignasher   

January, 1973

     Army first sergeant August Bruno of Esmond, was awarded the Army Commendation Medal. He was a veteran of World War II and took part in the D-Day invasion of Normandy.

     Ralph E. Iannatelli of Greenville was home on leave while serving in the Air Force.

     Air Force 2nd Lieutenant Harry L. Latham of Georgiaville was awarded his silver pilot wings upon his graduation from flight school. He would be serving with the Strategic Air Command.

     Frank Albanese, Jr., of Greenville was appointed to the U. S. Air Force Academy in Colorado.   

January, 1973

     Navy Petty Officer 2/C Alfred D. Doucette of Georgiaville became a “Golden Dragon” when he crossed the International Date Line while serving aboard the destroyer U.S.S. Richard E. Kraus.

     Air Force Sergeant Charles D. Dawley of Greenville was serving at Incirlik Air Force Base in Turkey.

     Cadet Lynette Blackmore of the Smithfield Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol was one of 120 cadets nationwide chosen to attend a national symposium in Dallas, Texas.

     A recent cold snap caused local ponds and lakes to freeze over thus allowing youths to try out their new ice skates they received for Christmas.

     The new Smithfield police station was dedicated on January 14. It was built on land donated by Bertram and Mary Mowry. Greenville resident John J. Dodd donated a 20 foot tall spruce tree that was planted on the front lawn to the station. The spruce had once been given to Mr. Dodd by the department’s deputy chief Adolph E. Schenck.   

January, 1973

     The newly completed Smithfield Ice Rink was opened to the public.

     The Smithfield Civil Defense Siren System was reactivated, and it was announced that tests would be conducted throughout the months for January and February so as not to alarm citizens.

     17-year-old Debbie Cerroni, a senior at Smithfield High School, was names Miss Junior Achievement at the organizations annual convention in Providence. Miss Cerroni represented a company sponsored by Sears & Robuck known as Model A.

     The Greenville Grange on Austin Avenue held an antique show and sale.

     The Rhode Island Army National Guard had proposed the building of a helicopter base next to their building on Washington Highway. More than 300 people attended a public meeting held at the Smithfield High School to voice their opposition to the plan. The town council unanimously voted against the plane, and the heliport was never built.   

January, 1973

      A local car dealership was advertising a 1972 Ford LTD for #3,195, and a 1971 Mustang Mach 1, with an AM/FM 8-track radio-tape player, for $2,395.

     The Smithfield Historical Society acquired a dilapidated train station with the intent of restoring it. The station stood on Brayton Road near Farnum Pike and dated to c. 1872. The building was moved to the property of the Smith-Appleby House Museum in Stillwater and after restoration, was put on public display where it remains to this day.

     President Richard Nixon announced that the United States would begin development of its space shuttle program.

     Hewlett-Packard released the HP-35, the first electronic pocket calculator capable of computing logarithms and trigonometry. The price was $395, which translates to about $2,800 in today’s dollars.

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.

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