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 – August, 1969

50 Years Ago – August, 1969


August, 1969

     Army Private E-2 Anthony Caito of Greenville finished basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey, and was to be stationed in West Germany.

     Airman Richard E. Knight of Greenville was serving in the U. S. Air Force as an aviation mechanic.

     Army Private E-2 Allen H. Uttley of Greenville was serving in the U. S. Army.

     Senior Cadet 2/c Stephen E. Votolato of the Smithfield Junior Naval Cadets of America took a two-week trip to Italy, Switzerland, and Austria, as part of an international exchange program.  

     Members of the Pleasant View Aviation Club, chaired by Mrs. Thornton, a teacher at Anna McCabe School, were awarded free airplane rides at North Central State Airport as a reward for achieving the school honor roll, and for perfect attendance during the school year.

     Those students included: Judith Brown, Nancy Gilman, Patricia Ledbetter, Jo Ann Scorpio, Richard Stelle, Frank Tassoni, Brian Monfils, and William Steere.       

    On local retailer was advertising a “fully transistorized” 8-Track stereo tape player, with mounting hardware, for $44.44. By a show of hands, how many had an 8-Track in their car? Me too.

     In case one needed a car to put their 8-Track in, a local auto dealership was offering a 1965 Chevy Malibu Super-Sport convertible, with a V-8 engine and four-on-the-floor shifting, for a mere $1,295. Care to guess what that car’s worth today?

   A hamburger restaurant known as Custer’s Last Stand was once located at the southwest corner of Routes 44 and 5 where ironically a Burger King stands today. In August of 1969, if one clipped a coupon from a local newspaper, they could receive a free “Wild Western – All Beef Hamburger”, “Healthfully broiled over an open flame.”

     The Family Store, once located at 625 Putnam Pike in Greenville, offered back to school button-down shirts for $4, “bell-bottom” and straight-leg pants for $6, and sport coats for $15.95. It was a time when kids still dressed up to go to school.

     Between August 15th and 18th the famous Woodstock Music Festival was held in upstate New York. Fun fact: the festival was named for the town of Woodstock, New York, where the event was originally scheduled to be held, but circumstances arose that required a change in venue. Therefore, the concert was actually held in Bethel, New York, located about 60 miles from Woodstock.

     Julio Giammarco, and Robert Ricci, owners of The Town & Country Club once located on Farnum Pike across from the present-day Elks Club, sponsored a water show at the pool to benefit the Smithfield Boys Club.  

     Smithfield’s Chief of Police Arthur B. Gould, was awarded the Legion of Mary by Our Lady of Providence Presidium.      

     With the first manned moon landing barely three weeks earlier, NASA announced that manned space missions to Mars and Venus might be possible by the early 1980s. The estimated cost to fund the projects was 24 billion dollars.  Unfortunately history has shown that this didn’t happen, but imagine if it had!      

     On August 30, the first “Interface Message Processor”, a device that allowed one computer to “talk” to another, went into service at UCLA. This was the world’s first baby-step towards what we know today as “The Internet”.

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