2006-12-21 / Island History

This week in Island history

Week of December 21
Compiled by Sue Maden

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, December 20, 1906:

The last meeting of the first series of Club whists was held in the “Den” Tuesday evening, and resulted in a win for the steamboat team, but by so small a score as not to change them from last place.

From the Newport Daily News, December 21, 1906:

Today’s fog and rain have stopped all outside work and greatly interfered with the Christmas shopping.

75 years ago From the Newport Daily News, December 18, 1931:

The town of Jamestown is to request of the state unemployment commission a loan of $5,750 on the total amount allotted to the town of Jamestown, for relief of the unemployed, in said town, subject to the act passed by a special session of the legislature, approved November 24, 1931.

(At the town council meeting) it was voted to move the fire whistle to the new fire station.

Is Fort Wetherill on Conanicut Island to be used as a detention station for immigrants: The Jamestown town council, fearing that this may be so, has voted to protest. When this was called to the attention of the authorities at Fort Adams today, Lieutenant E.R. Thorpe the adjutant, said it was the first time they had heard of it. Furthermore, if the government did plan a detention station, to replace the old ship now at anchor in Providence harbor, it was believed that Fort Greble and not Fort Wetherill would be selected. There are no buildings at Wetherill, whereas Greble has an extensive plant which could be used for this or other purposes.

From the Newport Daily News, December 19, 1931:

The annual Christmas tree for the children of veterans sponsored by the (American) Legion and auxiliary was held in the town hall Friday afternoon, when about 140 children were present.

50 years ago From the Newport Daily News, December 17, 1956:

The combined absentee, shut-in and service ballots, reversed the Nov. results and reelected Sen. Alton Head Jr. and Rep. Lewis W. Hull of Jamestown, General Assembly positions these Republicans had held for years.

From the Newport Daily News, December 20, 1956:

Newport’s Council, by a 5-1 vote, last night opposed the building of an oil refinery in Jamestown or in any section of lower Narragansett Bay.

From the Newport Daily News, December 21, 1956:

Christmas lights have been turned on all over Jamestown in one of the biggest displays ever seen in the town.

From the Newport Daily News, December 22, 1956:

Reduced toll rates for the Jamestown Bridge will go into effect Feb. 1 Principal decrease will be from 85 cents to 75 cents for one-way trip for passenger cars.

25 years ago From the Newport Daily News, December 17, 1981:

Gov. Garrahy has told Jamestown officials the state will try to meet their concerns over the width of a proposed new Jamestown Bridge and routing of Newport-bound traffic across Conanicut Island. The proposed new bridge, expected to cost $73 million, would be built 300 feet north of the existing bridge. The state has been pushing for a 79- foot-wide span,. Congress has said it can be 69 feet, and the state has had differing impressions from the Federal Highway Commission.

From the Newport Daily News, December 18, 1981:

More than 300 youngsters turned out Thursday night to meet Santa Claus at the annual firemen’s Christmas party at the station.

15 years ago From the Jamestown Press, December 19, 1991:

Today’s holiday celebration for town employees set for 3 p.m. at the Town Hall breaks with tradition and reflects the attitudes of the season. Prompted by the sagging New England economy, town employees elected not to have the council host the traditional Christmas celebration dinner. Instead, employees chose to collect food for the St. Mark Food Closet.

Mary S. Wright has been named the 1991 Volunteer of the Year. The award is presented annually by the Jamestown Press to honor an islander for outstanding community service.

10 years ago From the Jamestown Press, December 19, 1996:

Town officials will start enforcing local laws that prohibit homeowners from discharging roof runoff and sumppump water into the municipal sanitary-sewer lines.

If it were not for two years of hard work by some dedicated Rhode Islanders, including many Jamestowners, there would be green metallic Jamestown signs rather than the new wooden signs lining the Jamestown section of Route 138. (photo caption) Artist Eleanor Gravdahl and architect Ron DiMauro helped make the new welcome signs possible. The signs were recently installed by the state DOT.

A new cast and a new donkey will be the only changes to this year’s Christmas Pageant — which, as always, will have the same charm it has maintained for the past 20 years.

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