50 Years Age – June, 1971

50 Years Ago – June, 1971

By Jim Ignasher

June, 1971

     Airman Paul R. Sherboken of Brayton Road just completed basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.

   Navy petty officer 3/c Joseph S. Smith, Jr., of Greenville graduated from radar training school at Great Lakes Naval Air Station.

     On June 1st, the St. Philip’s Rosary Guild held a dinner at the Club 44 where new officers were elected. Mrs. John Higgins became the new president; Mrs. George Hebert, vice president; Mrs. Peter Almon, treasurer; and Mrs. John DeAngelis, secretary.

     Smithfield artist Alexis Krupka of Georgiaville displayed some of his paintings at the Saylesville Library in Lincoln.

     On June 13th the Georgiaville Fire Company held a memorial ceremony honoring fallen firefighters.

     Smithfield’s animal control officer George Kelley was faced with a mystery. He’d found a dog wearing a North Smithfield dog tag that was in the shape of a fire hydrant, and dated 1971. He contacted his North Smithfield counterpart for information about the animal’s owner, and was informed that he’d ordered the hydrant shaped tags, which were made at the ACI, but that they never arrived, and instead North Smithfield was now issuing ones shaped like flowers in case the others should be “found” and misused. The dog was taken to the animal shelter for further investigation.

     New cars advertised by local auto dealerships included a brand new Chevrolet Monte Carlo, with air conditioning, disc brakes, electric clock, full wheel covers, powered by a 350 V-8 engine for $3,699, and a Mercury Comet, “the better small car”, for $2,217.

     Gift ideas advertised for Father’s Day included colognes and after shaves such as English Leather, Old Spice, Brut 33, British Sterling, Black Belt, Jade East, and Tabac Original. One store advertised briar smoking pipes for $5.

     If one went to the Apple Valley Cinema they saw “Promise at Dawn” a pre WWII drama starring Melina Mercourt, or the dark comedy, “Little Murders”, starring Elliot Gould, and Marcia Rodd, set in a crime-ridden New York City neighborhood in the late 1960s. There was also “Little Big Man” a western starring Dustin Hoffman, who played an elderly man recounting the fanciful days of his youth.

     On June 16th a large barn on the farm of Seth Steere (located on Steere Road in Greenville) was lost to fire. It was said the glow of the flames could be seen for miles.

     On June 18th a group of local citizens established a community theatre group known as the Apple Valley Players. The following officers were elected at an installation dinner: Nancy St. Pierre, president; William Johnson, vice president; Donna Nicholson, treasurer; and Grace Gebhart, secretary. Plans were announced for their first production to be performed at Waterman’s Beach Club on July 23-24th. It was to be the first time summer theatre was to be performed in this area.

     The Apple Valley Junior Women’s Club elected new officers. Mrs. William Stamp was elected president; Mrs. Jerome Butterfield, vice president; Mrs. Anthony Simeone, treasurer; Mrs. Lloyd Thomas, corresponding secretary; and Mrs. Paul Levesque, recording secretary.

     The Smithfield Elks Lodge inducted forty-six new members which was the largest induction in the history of the lodge.

     In Smithfield Little League news, the Greenville Hardware Nine defeated the Christansen’s Dairy team of North Providence 6 to 5.

     From June 29th to July 4th the Smithfield Jaycees held a carnival at Waterman’s Lake in an area now occupied by housing. Entertainment included rides, Karate demonstrations, trained dog acts, a pig chasing contest, an egg throwing contest, a watermelon eating contest, and nine parachute jumps from airplanes in which the skydivers landed in the lake, and of course, fireworks.

     A “deluxe stereo system” and two bicycles were raffled.


50 Years Ago – January, 1971

50 Years Ago – January, 1971

By Jim Ignasher


Navy Petty Officer 3/c Lloyd Courtemanche of Greenville was serving aboard the U.S.S. La Salle.

James P. Hegarty of Greenville was appointed to the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Air Force T/Sgt. Kenneth W. Fuller of Spragueville was serving in Torrejon, Spain.

A local newspaper held a “first baby of the year” contest of which Robert H. Hartley III of Esmond was the winner. His parents received an assortment of prizes donated by local businesses.

At midnight on January 1st a new law went into effect banning cigarette advertisements from television and radio. The law was aimed at keeping youngsters from wanting to smoke.

A local newspaper carried an advertisement for an “Air-cycle”, said to be an “all season escape machine”. It carried one person and behaved like a hover-craft. It was driven by a powerful propeller blade and would float on a small cushion of air thus enabling it to perform on water, ice, snow, muddy terrain, and sand, at speeds in excess of 40 mph. As to price, one had to call for details.

On January 12, the television series “All in the Family” starring Carroll O’Connor, Jean Stapleton, Sally Struthers, and Rob Reiner, aired for the first time on CBS.

The Smithfield Jaycees honored Buddy Balfour as “outstanding young man of the year” for his work done with the Smithfield Raiders football team

Sergeant James H. McVey and Detective Saverio E. Serapiglia of the Smithfield Police taught a driver’s education class at the Smithfield High School.

Student Dennis Henlin received an award for highest marks.

A local Ford dealership was advertising a 1971 Ford maverick for $2,247; a 1971 Mustang for $2,982; a Galaxie 500 for $3,247; and a Pinto for $2,107.

On January 28, the group, Ecology For Smithfield held a meeting at the Greenville Grange to discuss pollution reduction.

On January 31, Apollo 14 took off from Cape Kennedy bound for the moon carrying astronauts Alan B. Shepard, Jr., Stuart Roosa, and Edgar Mitchell. This was the second trip in space for Shepard, who in 1961 became the first American to travel in space in a one-man Mercury space capsule.

50 Years Ago – December, 1970

50 years Ago – December, 1970


December, 1970

     Navy Chief Petty Officer Paul E. Piggott of Greenville was serving aboard the submarine U.S.S. Tullibee.

     Chief Warrant Officer Louis G. Therock of Esmond was serving in the Rhode Island National Guard and received an Army Commendation Medal. 

     Army Specialist Allen H. Uttley of Greenville was promoted to SP/5 while serving in Korea.

     Air Force Major Vincent R. Suppicich of Greenville was awarded his third air medal while serving with the Strategic Air Command.     

        A new Boy Scout troop was established in Greenville – Troop 14. The scout master was George H. Vallee. 

     On December 5th St. Philip’s Church held a Christmas Ball at the Kirkbrae County Club.  Music was provided by the Tommy Masso Orchestra. 

     The newly completed community room at the Greenville Manor was used to host the Manor’s first Christmas party.       

December, 1970

     Mrs. T. Frank Fogarty of Georgiaville returned from Hollywood, California, after appearing in a film segment for the television show “This Is Your Life” which would air in January of 1971.  The show was paying homage to actress Ruth Buzzi of “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-in” fame.  Mrs. Fogarty was a dance teacher, and Miss Buzzi was one of her former students.    

     On December 11th and 12th the Smithfield Players performed the play, “The Tender Trap” at the Smithfield High School.  Joseph Janake played the character Earl Lindquist, William Johnson played Sol Schwartz, and Thomas Tobin played Charles Reader.  The production was directed by Calt Calvo.

     On December 12th a memorial mass was held at St. Michael’s Church for Smithfield police sergeant Norman Vezina who died in the line of duty on December 10, 1968 while attempting to rescue a 5-year-old boy who’d fallen through thin ice.

     On December 14th to the 16th Senator F. Monroe Allen of Greenville attended a conference on ways to cut air pollution held at Colby College in Waterville, Maine.   

December, 1970

     Dr. Thomas A. Manion of Greenville, Vice President of Academic Affairs at Bryant College, represented the college at the annual meeting of the New England Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools held in Boston.

     The Georgiaville Volunteer Fire Department held its annual meeting to elect officers for the upcoming year.  Edward Horan was elected President; Fred Andrews, Jr., Financial Secretary and Treasurer; Donald Brown was elected Deputy Chief, Harold French, Captain, Ronald Patterson, Rescue captain, and Edward Horan, Lieutenant.   

     Edward Kocielniak, Roger Desnoches, and Henry Tremblay, Sr., were elected delegates to various Rhode Island fire leagues.    

     The movie “Love Story”, starring Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal, was released by Paramount Pictures on December 16th

     A local electronics retail store was advertising Sylvania 25 inch color TV’s for the “low, low, price” of $559.95 as part of a pre-Christmas sale promotion.  For those too young to remember, a 25 inch TV screen was considered massive in 1970.     

December, 1970

     A local car dealership was advertising a 1968 Ford Mustang with a “vinyl roof”.  (Remember those vinyl roofs?)  The car was also equipped with power steering and a V-8 engine.  If it had a set of wings it could have flown, and it could have been yours for a mere $1,895.00.         

     The Smithfield Jaycees held a toys-for-tots drive for underprivileged children.

     On December 23rd a Christmas Ball was held at the high school for the juniors and seniors and their dates. 

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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