2007-12-20 / Island History

This week in Island history

Week of December 20
Compiled by Sue Maden

The news of 10 and 15 years ago is from the Jamestown Press. The news of 100 years ago came from the collection of the Newport Historical Society.

100 years ago From the Newport Daily News, December 16, 1907

One of W. S. Bailey's horses attached to a delivery wagon made a lively runaway yesterday afternoon. Harry Young, employed by Bailey, sent two small boys to hitch up the horse at the stable in the rear of the market. They had hardly completed their job when the horse started, making a circuit of the small yard and from there coming out on Narragansett avenue and colliding with a lantern post. Getting clear of this with the wagon still in tow the runaway went down to the ferry at a lively rate. The ferryboat was on her way to Newport, but the horse had too much headway and although it did its best to stop, horse and wagon went off the bridge, into the ferry slip. Fortunately in going over the harness was sufficiently broken to allow the horse to come to the surface and Messrs. Charles Brooks and John Robinson, with the assistance of a considerable crowd which soon gathered, had the horse towed ashore. Today the animal is none the worse for its cold bath. The wagon was hoisted from the slip this morning and will need extensive repairs.

From the Newport Daily News, December 20, 1907

The rumors current before the (special town) meeting that an offer was to be made for the town's holding in the company by a reliable party did not materialize. The voters, with one exception, were unanimous in the opinion that the welfare of the town depends on the control of the ferry.

75 years ago From the Newport Daily News, December 17, 1932

The firemen had a long run Friday, when two strokes of the fire alarm called the apparatus to a fire at Conanicut Park, which proved to be caused by a back-firing in the town truck, which in some way disarranged the carburetor caused the overflow of gasoline which ignited. Upon arrival of the firemen, the fire was quickly extinguished with the chemical and the damage was slight.

From the Newport Daily News, December 19, 1932

Shortly after 5 o'clock Saturday evening, the ringing of box 16 called the fire department to the house owned by Vernon A. Head on Howland avenue and occupied by Christopher S. Peckham and family. Upon its arrival, it was found that an explosion had blown out the north wall of the kitchen. … The cause of the explosion is still unknown, but it is believed that gas fumes had risen from the basement and filled the space between the boarding and plaster, as the force of the explosion threw lath and plaster across the kitchen and blew out the outside wall boarding, studding and a portion of the sill.

50 years ago From the Newport Daily News, December 17, 1957

The Commerce Oil Refining Corp. filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday a registration statement covering a public offering of $25,000,000 first mortgage bonds. $20,000,000 subordinated debentures and 3,000,000 shares of common stock.

From the Newport Daily News, December 20, 1957

The Commerce Oil Refining Corp. plans to build a 150,000,000-gallon water reservoir on its Jamestown property, Harold M. Geller, executive vice president said yesterday. Contractors will be in the field in April for actual construction start of the $70,000,000 refinery.

25 years ago From the Newport Daily News, December 21, 1982

Jamestown still lacks representation on the Design Review Committee, a panel proposed by the state to design the connecting road corridor between the new Jamestown Bridge and the Newport Bridge.

From the Newport Daily News, December 22, 1982

The General Services Administration has been stopped from selling the 6.8 acres of excess land at Beavertail - at least for now. President Reagan Tuesday signed into law a continuing resolution forbidding the public sale of the former Navy communication station and the land around it.

15 years ago From the Jamestown Press, December 17, 1992

About 500 people crowded into the Melrose Avenue multipurpose room Sunday for a memorial service honoring Jamestown solo sailor Mike Plant.

Damage in Jamestown from a weekend storm was mild compared to the battering received by other areas on the Atlantic coast. High winds buffeted trees and torrential rain, sometimes mixed with sleet and snow, pounded the island from Friday through Sunday.

10 years ago From the Jamestown Press, December 18, 1997

A year after he applied for a permit to base a aquaculture farm off Jamestown's western shores, William Geib received final approval last week from the state Coastal Resources Management Council for his 4.5 acre project.

Sitting as the Board of Water and Sewer Commissioners, the Town Council Monday voted 4-1 to spend up to $4,500 to drill a fourth municipal well to help increases the town water supply.

The projected Jamestown School budget for 1998-99 is about $5.7 million, an increase of approximately 8 percent over the current year's bottom line.

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