This week in Island history
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, March 13, 1906:
Mr. and Mrs. C.E. Weeden have returned from Boston, where they have been to attend the automobile show.
The horses and wagons belonging to the late P.P. Brown are to be sold at public auction next week. A Newporter arrived in town this morning, to attend the sale, and when told that he was a week early, he took the next ferryboat for home, vowing he would read advertisements more carefully in the future.
From the Newport Daily News, March 14, 1906:
Mr. A.H. Peckham and Mr. Lewis Anthony left yesterday to visit their lumber camp in New Canaan, N.H.
Mr. A.L. Peckham has a carload of fertilizer in and is carting it to the island via ferry.
From the Newport Daily News, March 16, 1906:
Although the annual town meeting is less than a month away, very little political talk is heard and indications point to a quiet time. It is doubtful if any of the town officials are to be opposed, the tendency being toward improvements which will benefit the town rather than strife for control of the town's affairs. An effort will be made to secure the lighting of the streets by electricity and more macadam roads. The appropriation of $6,000 for a building for the fire department will also be brought up.
75 years ago From the Newport Daily News, March 13, 1931:
The communication (to the Town Council) from the Board of Trade in regard to a proposed building code was referred to a meeting of the town council to be held March 13 (sic).
Westall's ice cream parlors are to open for the season tomorrow.
From the Newport Daily News, March 14, 1931:
The Jamestown Home Demonstration group will meet . . . to learn the process of making patterns and covers for a three-piece living room set.
From the Newport Daily News, March 17, 1931:
Fire of an unexplained origin trapped five people in the mental ward at Dr. Bates Sanitarium in Jamestown, Monday evening, causing their death, while one other patient was injured when his rescue was attempted. From the Newport Daily News, March 19, 1931:
Fire whistles blowing at noon today in Jamestown sent the two pieces of town apparatus to the Conanicut Park district, where a brush fire was rapidly spreading over a large area, which was affected by a similar fire approximately a year ago. Before the town apparatus arrived the blaze had swept over more than 50 acres and was menacing the residence of Maurice H. Stearns.
50 years ago From the Newport Daily News, March 15, 1956:
The Jamestown Town Council, sitting as a budget committee, continued its work of cutting the town budget last night. On Monday night the recreation department was told to pare its request to the bone. Last night both the highway department and the school committee budgets for 1956-57 were turned back for revision downward. . . . (The highway department) had submitted a budget of $31,500 which is $6,700 above last year. . . . The budget of the School Committee was also rejected. Each item in the $130,000 request, which is $22,000 above last year, was explained by the committee.
From the Newport Daily News, March 16, 1956:
The leprechauns, fairies and all the "little" people of Erin will be about in Jamestown tonight and tomorrow night when the Rev. Augustine F. Burns, director, presents the annual St. Patrick's entertainment of St. Mark's Church at the Recreation Center.
From the Newport Daily News, March 17, 1956:
A howling St. Patrick's Eve blizzard lashed the Newport area with 70-mile an hour winds overnight and leaving four dead and the community crippled. It was the worst disaster since Hurricane Carol of 1954 and probably the worst winter storm since Valentine's Day, 1938. . . . In Jamestown, Route 138 was entirely blocked off with snow drifts higher than trucks. An emergency call was put in to the state for help to clear the highway. Big "detour" signs were put up at the ferry landing and the bridge, to channel traffic to other streets.
From the Newport Daily News, March 19, 1956:
An unprecedented repeat blizzard swooped down on the Newport area today, burying a city already crippled by Friday night's howling snowstorm. . . . The Jamestown ferry made its last trip from Newport at 9:30 a.m. and then returned here to tie up during the storm. . . . A house trailer was stranded on the ferry wharf in Jamestown early today. The occupants chose to stay snug in their mobile home feeling they were better off than taking a boat to Newport and becoming stranded there.
25 years ago From the Newport Daily News, March 17, 1981:
Newport and Mount Hope Bridge revenue was up considerably last month compared to February 1980, a report of the state Turnpike and Bridge Authority disclosed today. Newport Bridge revenue last month was $381,204 - $41,000 more than the previous February. . . . Traffic on the bridge increased about 4,000 vehicles to 261,648 vehicles.
Several scuba divers across the state Monday night objected to a proposed system of underwater trails and marine sanctuary at Sandy Beach Cove off Fort Wetherill State Park.
From the Newport Daily News, March 19, 1981:
The Planning Commission last night learned that the Department of Transportation has preliminary engineering plans for Interstate I-895 from the North Kingstown line through Jamestown to the Newport Bridge.
15 years ago From the Jamestown Press, March 14, 1991:
An untended woodstove has been blamed for Monday's fire which destroyed the historic Jamestown landmark known as the Round House. Damage to the structure which overlooked the Dumplings was estimated at $500,000 to $750,000. Firefighters responded to the blaze at 104 Racquet Rd. at 8:42 a.m. Monday. A strong northeast wind fueled the fire and threatened neighboring homes. Blowing embers from the fire caused extensive damage to the Selfridge Estate, located one-quarter of a mile south of the Round House, fire officials said.
10 years ago From the Jamestown Press, March 14, 1996:
The Town Council Monday passed a resolution that grants Veterans' Memorial Square at East Ferry to the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion in perpetuity. The resolution also stipulates that if the memorial ever has to be relocated, the town will do so only after consulting with veterans groups and holding public hearings.
Senior citizens petitioned the Town Council Monday to increase the tax exemption for property owners who are over age 65 and have limited incomes.