50 Years Ago, October, 1969

50 Years Ago – October, 1969


The Color Center
October, 1969

     Army First Lieutenant David L. Nuttall of Greenville was home on leave before reporting for duty in Vietnam.

     Army Private George Schenck of Douglas Pike graduated Fort Knox Armor School as an armor intelligence specialist.

     Air Force Staff Sergeant Peter E. Anthony of Greenville received the Air Force Commendation Medal for meritorious service in Vietnam.

     Robert E. Murphy of Esmond was serving with the 1st Marine Division.

     Gene Bernardo, age 3, of Greenville experienced the thrill of a lifetime at Fenway Park during a game between the Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles. Gene and his father were Orioles fans, and despite his young age, Gene had memorized the names and faces of all the team’s players.

     One the day of the game, Gene, his father, and grandfather, had seats next to the Orioles dugout, and as players appeared Gene greeted them by name. Gene was dressed in an Orioles uniform, and carried a child-sized baseball bat.   When he said hello to pitcher Clay Dalrymple, the man reached up and swung the boy down to the dugout. The two then went over to the edge of the field where the athlete pitched to Gene. By now they had the attention of the entire stadium and the crowd began cheering, and when Gene connected with ball the crowd went wild.      

     An Associated Press photographer covering the game snapped a picture which appeared in newspapers throughout the county.

     Gene was also presented with a team autographed baseball.

     A Smithfield Chevrolet dealership was advertising the new 1970 Chevelle SS, 396 convertible. These cars sold for about $3,700 in 1970. According to an Internet search, fully restored, these cars can sell for more than $70,000 today.

     Speaking of a return on an investment, People’s Bank was offering 5% interest on savings accounts.

     The third annual harvest festival was held at Waterman’s Field on the shores of Waterman’s Lake. Attractions included skydiving, karate, and trick roping exhibitions, folk singing, a barbershop quartet, and square dancing, as well as clowns, a puppet show, rides and raffles. Musical entertainment was provided by “Pastel Shade”.  

     Today housing occupies the former fairgrounds.

     On October 15, students at St. Peter’s School on Austin Avenue held a brief ceremony honoring American servicemen killed in Vietnam which included a moment of silence, and the reading of a prayer written by 8th grader George Allen.  

     On October 18, a “country auction” consisting of new and antique items was held at the Greenville Baptist Church to raise funds for needed repairs and painting of the historic church. It was said to be the largest auction of its kind ever held in Smithfield.

   On October 19, St. Xavier Academy held its 25th reunion at the Club 44 on Putnam Pike.

     The Smithfield Jaycees were selling safety flares to raise money for “Operation Scoreboard”, the funds from which would be used to purchase an electronic scoreboard for the high school athletic field. Road flares are rarely seen today, but in the 1960s they could be found in the trunk of most automobiles to be utilized in case of an accident.

     The East Smithfield Homemakers honored some of their members for their long-time service to the organization. These included: Bertha Fagan, Viola Jarvis, Giles Minard, Mabel Whipple, Helen Booth, Evyonne Shepard, Julie Shepard, Mildred Matlese, Doris Johnson, Ann DiCotio, Mary Rossi, Barbara Hill, Margaret Lawrence, Eve Jenkins, and Mary Weeks.  

     Smithfield firefighters held a parade in Georgiaville to launch “fire prevention week”. The parade included apparatus from Smithfield and nearby towns as well as floats promoting fire safety. Afterwards firefighting demonstrations were performed in the parking lot of Mine Safety.    

     How many are old enough to recall a time when people routinely burned leaves in the fall? Sometimes neighbors would gather around small piles as they burned them at the curbside, socializing into the night. Permits weren’t required and a fun time was had by all.

     An advertisement which appeared in one local paper advised everyone that “leaf burning causes air pollution!” And keep in mind this was a time before “yard waste” pickup.

     The Greenville Public Library announced that it had obtained a 3M “209” automatic copier which would be available for public use. Today we take copy machines and scanners for granted, but in 1969 they weren’t commonly found in small-town libraries.    

   The second annual Scituate Art Festival was held in North Scituate to raise funds for the old Congregational Church in that village.  


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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