50 years Ago – November, 1970

50 Years Ago – November, 1970 

By Jim Ignasher


December, 1970

     Air Force Sergeant Mary C. Hess of Greenville was serving as an inventory management specialist at Naha Air Force Base in Okinawa.

     Richard N. Kanea of Greenville was serving his fourth tour of duty aboard a navy gunboat in Vietnam.

     A local Ford dealership was advertising a 1970 Ford Galaxie 500, with a V-8 engine and a “cruse-o-matic” transmission for $2,994.

     On November 6, the rock band Aerosmith, performed for the first time.  The concert took place at the Nipmuc Regional High School in Mendon, Massachusetts.

     On November 7 the Smithfield High School Student Council held a spaghetti supper at the high school as a fund raiser.

     Leo Bouchard of Esmond, president of the Rhode Island Association of Conservation Commissions, led the Rhode Island delegation to a conservation convention held in Bedford, New Hampshire.  The convention was held to exchange ideas about the “growing national crisis of environmental problems”.  

     Smithfield Senator F. Monroe Allen was among those who spoke at the convention.  

     Shrubs and trees donated by the Rhode Island Highway Department were planted at William Winsor School by volunteers from the Apple Blossom Club, and the Smithfield Jaycees.

     Loam for planting was donated by Clint Gustafson of Greenville.

     The Greenville Pharmacy, owned by the Kayatta family for thirty years, was sold to Vincent Volpe.  The pharmacy was located at the intersection of Rt.44 and Austin Ave.

     The establishment opened in 1940 in the former “Woods Store”, and was the first drug store in the area.  Prior to its opening, the closest drug store to Greenville was in Centerdale.

     At the time of its opening, there were few retail stores in Greenville Center.  There was the Greenville Garage across from the bank building, an ice cream parlor, and a First National grocery store, which later became Benny’s, and is today Woods and More.  

     In 1941, Francis Kayatta, Jr., entered the armed forces and served with the 1st Calvary division in the Pacific during WWII. 

     Linda Piscatelli was crowned Home Coming Queen at Smithfield High School during half-time on the football field.

     The Smithfield Elks Club presented Greenville Manor with brand-new Boston rocking chairs.

     November is the time some start to think about Christmas shopping, and one local retail establishment came up with a novel idea to bring in early customers.

     The Family Store, a clothing store once located in Route 44 in Greenville, advertised a “balloon sale”.  Hundreds of balloons were filled with helium and allowed to float to the ceiling.  After making a purchase, a customer would choose one and pull it down and see a number on the top.  The number would indicate the amount the purchase would be discounted.  Numbers ranged from 10% all the way to 100%. 

     1970 was an election year for the Smithfield Town Council.  When the new council was sworn in it consisted of Allan B. Schwartz, John F. Emin, Jr., Peter Coogan, Thomas J. Vanner, and Geoffrey S. Weston.

     If one went to the Apple Valley Cinema in November of 1970 they had a choice of seeing Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang, Patton, Catch-22, and Diary of a Mad Housewife.     

     On November 26, the Greenville Grange hall, which stood on Austin Ave. just in from Rt. 44, was rededicated after extensive repairs were completed due to a disastrous fire the year before.  The building had been used as a Grange hall since 1939, and was demolished in the 1980s to make way for further development.    

     Thomas J. Connor, Jr., of Greenville, a 7th grader at St. Philip School, auditioned for the Barrington Players for their production of the Broadway musical Mame.  He won the major role of “Patrick Dennis”, the nephew of Mame Dennis.     

     A Farewell reception was held for Reverend W. Stanley Pratt of the Greenville Baptist Church.  Rev. Pratt had served as pastor for eight years and was leaving to serve as pastor of the First Baptist Church on Block Island.  Four-hundred people were in attendance. 


50 Years Ago – February, 1968

50 Years Ago – February, 1968

     Between Saturday, February 10, and Wednesday, February 14, four un-named residents of the Greenville area reported sighting unidentified flying objects, (U.F.O.’s), over the Hawkins Pond – Slacks Reservoir area off Greenville Avenue. The objects were said to be saucer shaped, about forty feet in diameter, with pulsating lights similar to a theatre marquee around the edges, and making a noise like “a refrigerator about to break down.”   The objects hovered in place not far above tree-top level, before shooting off at a high rate of speed.

     One man reported that a UFO hovered over his car after he’d stopped on Winsor Avenue for a better look, and remained motionless for about a minute before moving away.      

     One possible explanation put forth was that Navy helicopters from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station were practicing night maneuvers – but this was unconfirmed.

     U.S. Army Private First Class Edward G. DiPanni, Jr., of Greenville, was awarded The Purple Heart medal for serious combat wounds received in Vietnam. PFC DiPanni was serving with the 4th Engineer battalion, 4th Army Division when he was wounded at Duc Pho. It was reported he would be at a military hospital for several months recuperating.    

     Airman Roger N. Mowry of Douglas Pike graduated as a medical specialist from Air Force Technical School.        

     A double full-page ad in a local newspaper announced that land located at the corner of Farnum Pike and Washington Highway would be soon be developed into a large resort-recreational area known as Green Valley. The project would include a professional sized hockey rink that would be one of the largest in New England, as well as a ski area, dance hall, and parking lot large enough to accommodate “thousands” of automobiles. The ad predicted that one-third of the project would be completed by December 1, 1968.  

     Of course, no such resort was ever built, and the land it was to be constructed on is still undeveloped. And it happens to be for sale.

     On February 9, the Redwood Witches 4-H Club held a meeting at Redwood Farm on Austin Avenue, and the following officers were elected;

     President; Paula DeMeo, Vice President; Dianne McLaren, Secretary; Robin McQuiddy, Treasurer; Kristy Rylander, News Reporter; Cathy Carroll, and Refreshments Coordinator; Erin McQuiddy.

     1968 was the 100th year anniversary of the founding of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and members of Smithfield Lodge 2359 on Farnum Pike took part in the nationwide centennial celebration activities. At the time, the Smithfield Lodge was the newest in the state with 250 members.    

     The Cranford Club, a local civic organization, held a meeting at the St. Thomas Episcopal Church hall in Greenville. The guest speaker was Oscar Rathier, the assistant administrator of Zambarano Hospital in Burrillville, who spoke of new programs developed to help disable children. The club donated $100.    

     Reverend Philip Shear was installed as the new pastor of the Greenville Baptist Church on February 28.      

     Fuel oil was for sale from a local vendor at 28 cents a gallon, plus tax.

     The Village Pharmacy, once located on Putnam Pike in Greenville center was advertising Valentines Day candy specials.

     The Reverend W. Stanley Pratt of the Greenville Baptist Church was offering classes on handwriting analysis, also known as Graphoanalysis.        

     Applications were being accepted for the Town & Country Swimming Club, located on Farnum Pike across from the Elks Lodge. Amenities included an Olympic sized pool, tennis courts, golf nets, an exercise room, handball court, two saunas, and a dinning room and lounge.      

     An ice skating party held for Smithfield adults was held at a rink in Burrillville. Afterwards, a social gathering was held at the Smithfield Sportsman’s Club.

     Junior Girl Scout Troop 757 of Greenville held a rededication ceremony at the Greenville Baptist Church. Awards were presented to Debbie Patt, Kathleen Martin, Melanie Adkins, Susan Catlow, Paula Mollo, Lisa Neri, Sheila Ingham, Lainie McQuiddy, Lynn Jordin, Claire Shawcross, Barbara Shealey, Cynthia Santangini, and Catherine Bilson.

     Members of Brownie Troop 922 were invited guests.

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