2006-01-26 / Editorial

This week in Island history

Compiled by Sue Maden Week of January 26

The news of 10 and 15 years ago is from the Jamestown Press. The news of 25, 50, 75, and 100 years ago from the Newport Daily News comes from the collection of the Newport Historical Society.

100 years ago From the Newport Daily News, January 24, 1906:

Large quantities of clams are being dug along the shore of the island with each low tide.

The Ferry Company is disposing of the coal in its bins as fast as possible, preparatory to having them torn down.

From the Newport Daily News, January 27, 1906:

Not for several years has there been so little work during the winter as at the present time. Practically no building is being done and work on the fortifications was discontinued last fall for lack of an appropriation. Even the ice crop, which usually gives the unemployed two weeks’ work, has failed thus far this winter. Most of the men are working out of town, either at South Ferry or at Newport.

From the Newport Journal, January 27, 1906:

For several years past spasmodic efforts have been put forth to induce one of the lines of New York steamers to make a landing at Jamestown. . . . The directors of the Jamestown & Newport Ferry Company held a special meeting . . . to consider an agreement with the Enterprise line. . . . The Enterprise line agrees to lease certain rights and privileges on the wharf of the ferry company. . . . It is thought by the advocates of the New line, that with direct communication with New York and Boston, Jamestown will take on a new life.

75 years ago From the Newport Daily News, January 26, 1931:

The Jamestown Post, American Legion dance, which was held in the Holy Ghost hall Saturday evening was a social success with about 75 couples attending. “Bill” Bailey’s orchestra of Newport furnishing music.

From the Newport Daily News January 28, 1931:

(At the Town Council meeting) the town clerk was directed to advertise for sealed bids from local contractors for the construction of proposed new bath houses at Mackerel Cove beach, said bids to be received at a town council meeting to be held on the second day of February.

From the Newport Daily News, January 29, 1931:

Agroup of men representing the American Legion met with the school committee to discuss plans for building a gymnasium or hall for the use of the townspeople.

50 years ago From the Newport Daily News, January 28, 1956:

A $600,000 deficit was reported today by the Jamestown Ferry Authority for its operations during 1955. The authority asked that the General Assembly take prompt action to appropriate funds to cover the deficit. The understanding is that funds will be made available to maintain ferry service between Jamestown and Newport in the non-profit months ahead until tourist traffic resumes in March.

From the Newport Daily News, January 30, 1956:

The Mother’s March on Polio on Jamestown yesterday added $372.23 to Jamestown funds. Twenty-nine mothers under the chairmanship of Mrs. Edwin Evans took part in the drive and every street on the island was canvassed.

25 years ago From the Newport Daily News, January 27, 1981:

A work session to review property revaluation on Jamestown will be held March 16, the Town Council decided Monday night. . . . Tax Assessor Gerald V. Woodbine said all cities and towns in the state are required to revalue property every 10 years. Jamestown last revalued its property in 1972, he said.

From the Newport Daily News, January 28, 1981:

The city’s (Newport) population last year was 29,266 compared with 34,562 in 1970. Jamestown’s population increased from 2,911 to 4,028. . . . Housing units in Jamestown increased from 1,554 to 2,039. . . . As of April 1 of last year, the state’s population was 945,835 — a decrease of 3,888 since 1970.

Town officials fear Jamestown will be nearly bone dry next summer unless 36 inches of rain falls and refills North Pond.

15 years ago From the Jamestown Press, January 24, 1991:

The Town Council last Saturday began reviewing the town budget for the 1991-92 fiscal year. Town Administrator Robert Sutton has proposed a $3.24 million annual operating budget, up 4.5 percent from last year.

The Town Council Monday night agreed to formally ask the state Department of Transportation to conduct an educational presentation of the proposed cross-island connector road design early next week.

10 years ago From the Jamestown Press, January 25, 1996:

Town and state officials were set yesterday to discuss the receipt of a $864,000 federal grant that would fund the construction of two controversial waterfront projects at East Ferry. A 140-foot T-pier for use as a ferryboat landing and a deepwater boat-launching ramp are both key elements in a proposed $2.2 million plan to renovate East Ferry that met with harsh criticism when it was presented to an audience of some 300 residents last May.

It sounds too good to be true — but it looks like island taxpayers will see a decrease in their tax bills this year. The Town Council voted Monday to approve a total budget — town and school spending plans combined — of $10.3 million. That figure is up almost 7.3 percent over this year’s $9.6 million budget, and it will go up once again once contract negotiations with three labor unions representing town employees are finished and salaries are figured into the spending package.

The Jamestown Under-12 B girls’ team won the State Indoor Soccer Championship Saturday night in a sudden-death overtime.

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