50 Years Ago – March, 1974

50 Years Ago – March, 1974

By Jim Ignasher

     Elaine J. Cullen of Pleasant View Avenue completed basic training at Lackland Air Force base in Texas.

     The Emblem Club organized a “What America Means To Me” poster contest and members of Cub Scout Pack 44 of Smithfield participated. The winner was 8-year-old Kenneth Brown whose poster depicted uniformed cub scouts of all races.

     If one went to the Apple Valley Cinema in March of ’74, they could have seen Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry in the police drama, “Magnum Force”; or Steve McQueen in the Devil’s Island prison movie, “Papillion”; Elizabeth Taylor in “Ash Wednesday”, and last but not least, “Chariots of the Gods”, a documentary based on Eric von Daniken’s book of the same name which speculated that ancient astronauts had visited Earth.

     One “Chariots of the Gods” advertisement asked, “Did spacemen visit Earth in ancient times?” followed by “Now we have proof!” This was in a time when governments didn’t acknowledge that UFO’s exist.

     Old Stone Bank was offering free power tools to anyone that took out a loan for $1,500 or more. One could choose between a finishing sander, a hand-held drill, a cordless hedge trimmer, or a jig saw. The interest rate wasn’t stated.

     On March 3, over one-hundred visitors were on hand at the Smith-Appleby House to witness the mortgage signing of the newly acquired building which the historical society planned to restore. On display at the ceremony was the original deed to the house dated March 3, 1725.

     On March 4, Smithfield police detective Hawkins Hibbs, Jr., gave a talk at a meeting of the Maplewoods Women’s Club, a local service organization, about the dangers of illegal drugs and drug addiction.

     On March 7 local cub scouts held a pinewood derby at the Greenville Baptist Church. Thirty-five scouts participated, racing their home-made derby cars along a forty-foot long track. The winners were: Jeffrey Cummings, 1st place; Kevin Dione, 2nd place, and Gene Giancaglini, 3rd place.

     On March 10, Cub Scout Pack 3 of St. Philips Church held their 7th annual Blue and Gold Dinner at the Elks lodge. The guest speaker was Sergeant Charles DeCarlo of the U. S. Army Special Forces, who demonstrated survival equipment used by the military. Among those cub scouts in attendance were: Christopher Manocchia, Alan Priestly, Bernard Hawkins, William Bennett, Michael Carr, Thomas Cullen, John Lusher, John Reynolds, William Dalton, and Raymond Antonelli.

     Maria Detri and Joanne Strain, students at Smithfield High School, raised money for the Easter seals organization by selling “smile Lolli-pops”. The funds were used to help children at the Meeting Street school.

     On March 18, the Apple Valley Junior Women’s Club held a meeting at the Club 44 restaurant. The guest speakers were Mrs. Shirley McCleod, assistant director of the Women’s Club of Rhode Island, and Mrs. Dorothy Palmer, of the Rhode Island Historical Farm.

     On March 20, the Smithfield Golden Agers celebrated their 11th anniversary as a club with a St. Patrick’s Day dinner at the Esmond Recreational Center. The club’s treasurer, Miss Mary Keough, who’d just turned 92, was presented a corsage by the club’s president, Margaret Sanderson,

     On March 24 the public was invited to attend an open house at the Smithfield Boys Club, which is today the YMCA. Free swimming all day was offered in the newly opened Olympic sized pool, with refreshments consisting of free coffee and cookies.

     From March 26 through the 30th, Smithfield High School students presented a play by Gilbert and Sullivan titled, “The Sorcerer”; the light-hearted story about a sorcerer who mixes a love potion that causes the population of a small village to fall in love with the first person they see. The performance was directed by Jane Calderara, a 1972 graduate of Smithfield High.

50 years Ago – March, 1971

50 years Ago – March, 1971

By Jim Ignasher

March, 1971

Lieutenant Edmund B. Lynch, Jr., of Greenville, was awarded the Air Medal for flying 25 helicopter missions over hostile territory in Vietnam during the month of September, 1970. At the time he was awarded the medal, he’d flown more than 80 additional missions!

Several functions were held by various organizations throughout the month of March, 1971.

The Smithfield Democratic Committee sponsored a “Swing into Spring” dance held at the St. Maria Goretti Hall in Pawtucket.

Almac’s supermarket sponsored a dinner/dance held at the Smithfield High School to benefit the Senior Class.

The Smithfield Golden Agers held a meeting at the Esmond Recreation Hall on Esmond St.

The Greenville Senior Sunshiners held a meeting St. Patrick’s Day party which included food and door prizes as well as traditional Irish songs, and a rendition of “Who Put The Overalls in Mrs. Murphy’s Chowder?” by Joseph Lopez.

The group Ecology Action for Smithfield also met to discuss ways to reduce pollution in Smithfield.

On March 7, St. Phillip’s Cub Scout Pack 3 held a blue and gold dinner at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Pascoag.

Those awarded their “bobcat” pins were Tim Carleton, and Scott Barrett.

Those awarded ‘wolf” patches included Keith Lewis, Christopher Wood, William Kulisch, Thomas D’Agostino, James Laferriere, Joseph Mattera, Steve Laesora, and Thomas Pickles.

Christopher Kirkwood was awarded a “bear” patch, and Greg Manion and William Kulisch were awarded silver and gold arrow emblems.

Joseph Raimondo was Cubmaster.

The Greenville Public Library had a St. Patrick’s Day display which included books of Ireland.

An advertisement from New England Telephone posted in a local newspaper stated that anyone wishing to make changes in the upcoming Providence Area Directory regarding their name or business should contact them. Who would have thought that phone books would one day be obsolete?

If one went to the Apple Valley Cinema in March of ’71 they had a choice of three movies. The first was “The Owl And The Pussycat”, a romantic comedy starring Barbara Streisand and George Segal; the movie “Joe”, a dark drama starring Peter Boyle; and “Lovers and Other Strangers”, another romantic comedy with Diane Keaton in her film debut role, and Sylvester Stallone as an “extra”.

On March 10, the “Junior Embassy of Smithfield” held an awards presentation at the Smithfield High school. Awards were granted to Henry Shepard, the school principal, and athletic director Robert Salisbury.

Richard Kernacki, director of the embassy, announced an award for then President Richard M. Nixon, and a phone call was placed to the White house switchboard to pass the message to the President.

On March 14 the Smithfield Boys Club held its annual dinner at the Club 44 restaurant. New officers were elected. Lionel Peloquin was elected president; Leo Bouchard, first vice president; Rita I. Connor, second vice president; Richard Scott, secretary; and John H. Jenkins, treasurer.

Eight boys were given awards: Joseph Prest, Timothy Peloquin, Thomas Connor, Thomas Aitken, Thomas Peloquin, Steven McGinn, John Peloquin, and Michael Scorpio.

Miss Isabel Brown was honored by the Greenville Grange for her fifty years of service to the organization. Joseph Connetti, Grange Master, presented her with a certificate.

A local Pontiac dealership was advertising a brand new Catalina. It’s interesting to note that the “extra features” that came with the car would be taken for granted today. Such as power disc brakes, padded dashboard, padded sun visors, padded arm rests, seat belts with push-button-release, head rests, dome lamp, safety hood latch, outside mirrors, 4-way hazard lights, windshield washer and two-speed wipers. All for $3,343.00. With a 350 v-8 engine!

The Smithfield Fire Department got a demonstration of “The Air Cycle” on Stump Pond. The vehicle was said to be an all-terrain hover craft driven by a powerful fan. The demonstrator hoped the town would purchase one for rescue work, but the craft didn’t perform well on rough and uneven ground.

Kurt Anderson of Smithfield appeared in the Rhode Island Theater Company production of “Dark of the Moon”, a drama set in Appalachia. The play did a six day run at the URI Quinn Theater.

The sit-com “Beverly Hillbillies” aired its final episode on March 23rd after a nine year run, and the “Ed Sullivan Show” aired its final broadcast five nights later after 23 years on television.



50 years Ago – February, 1970

50 Years Ago – February, 1970  



    The Bryant University campus is home to one historic barn and two 18th century houses which in February of 1970 stood exactly where the dome of the Unistructure is located today.  As construction preparations for the Unistructure were underway the buildings became the center of some local controversy.  The school had originally planned to move the structures to another location on campus so as not to look out of place amid the modern architecture, but some felt they should remain where they were.  Then the possibility arose that they might be sold at auction and removed from Smithfield all together.

     On February 5, members of the Smithfield Town Council and representatives of the historical society met with Bryant officials at the Town Hall, where an agreement was reached to retain the buildings on campus, but not at their original location.

     Today the buildings can be found on the campus portion of John Mowry Road.   

     1st Lieutenant Anthony J. Fascitelli, Jr., of Greenville, was serving in the U. S. Air Force.

    Airman 1st Class James P. Coupe of Greenville, was serving at Da Nang Air Force Base in Vietnam.

     PFC Howard R. Turner, Jr., of Esmond, was serving with the 25th Infantry Division in Vietnam.

     Sergeant Lea T. Lariviere of Georgiaville, had finished a tour of duty in Germany and was home on leave.  

     The Junior Naval Cadets of Smithfield announced the following promotions:

     Thomas Howarth to full lieutenant.

     Stephen Votolato to Distinguished Cadet.

     Dennis Straight and Paul Arella to Senior Cadet 1st Class.  

     Robert Varr to Senior Cadet 2nd Class.

     Keith Straus and Dennis Henlin to Senior Cadet 3rd Class.

     Gregory Straight to Cadet 1st Class.

     Richard Cardarelli and James Bicknell to cadet 2nd Class.

     Thomas Straus, Michael Barfato, and Robert Ferguson to Cadet 3rd Class.   

     Esmond Girl Scout Troop 894 held a meeting at the Esmond Recreation Hall where the following girls were made official Girl Scouts: Pamela Shaw, Karen Despres, Deborah LeBlanc, Danielle Desautel, Kathy Richardson, Diane DeCessere, Donna Cooke, Marilyn Maltais, Mary Sward, Beth Cerroni, Linda Parks, Marion Passano, Julie Cerroni, Laura White, Mary Webster, and Melony Sheppard.    

     The Smithfield Golden Agers held a meeting over which Mrs. Albina Whitecross presided.  Hostesses included Stella Hill, Mary Cardello, Ann Ethier, Blanche Belhumer, and Mae Creighton.    

     The Apple Valley Chorus placed 2nd in the annual Division IV Competition held in Norwood, Massachusetts.  The win made them eligible to compete in the Northeast District Competition in October. 

     The Apple Valley Chorus was directed by Roger Jordon. 

     One local car dealer was offering for sale a 1966 Ford “Country Squire” station wagon – remember them?  The vehicle was equipped with a luggage rack, 2-way tailgate, radio and heater, power steering and a V-8 engine with automatic transmission, all of which were dealer options at the time.  The price, a mere $1,495. 

     The same dealer was also offering a ’67 Mustang for $1,595, and a ’68 Lincoln for $3,395.

     A local oil company was advertising 200 gallons of heating oil for $30, plus tax, and cash on delivery.  For those doing the math, that came about seven cents a gallon.       




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