2008-12-31 / Island History

This week in Island history

Week of December 31
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 28, 1908

Rev. and Mrs. C. D. Burrows left yesterday for Florida, where they will be for five weeks' vacation. The pulpit of St. Matthew's Church will be filled by a lay reader during Mr. Burrows' absence.

A large fleet of tugs and barges is anchored in the east harbor and it is only during the past few days that vessels have made a harbor here to any extent. During the present winter there have been several tows anchored at a time within a short distance of the ferry.

From the Newport Daily News, December 31, 1908

About 20 tons of slate roofing has arrived in Newport for the new buildings at Fort Wetherill and is being carted across the ferry to the post.

75 years ago From the Newport Daily News, December 27, 1933

A Christmas program, given by the children of members, marked at the annual Yule party of the Holy Ghost Society.

Twelve little girls and boys were guests at Maplewood over the Christmas holidays. They came from Providence and Newport through the efforts of the Providence Salvation Army and the Newport Welfare Commission.

From the Newport Daily News, December 28, 1933

Fifteen hundred members of the Jamestown summer colony will be the recipients of New Year's cards of greeting sent by the Jamestown Board of Trade. … "On behalf of the townspeople of Jamestown, we wish to express out pleasure at your summer visits to our island and hope that we shall see you again."

Conanicut Grange will usher in 1934 with a dance in the Grange hall on New Year's Eve from 12, midnight, until 4 a.m. Gage's orchestra from Newport will furnish music and there will be a launch to Newport after the dance.

Walcott avenue, from High street to Union street, has been closed to traffic by Chief of Police Chester Greene, to insure safe coasting. Clarke's Pond off Southwest avenue is declared safe for skating.

Despite the heavy storm, the snow plough worked all night and all town roads were open for traffic this morning.

50 years ago From the Newport Daily News, December 31, 1958

Newswise, Conanicut Island had a busy year in 1958, but in the pattern of its immediate predecessor, the proposed $55,000,000 refinery continued to be the big story. … This was a year in which transportation made the news. The Jamestown Ferry Authority was abolished by a bill passed by the General Assembly in May and a commission with power only to set ferry rates was established. … The Hammonton and Wildwood were sold by the state for scrap for $16,000 and later the Hammonton was purchased for $7,200 by the Newport Oil Company for conversion into a barge. … In contrast to the Jamestown and Newport ferries, tangible gains were noted on the Jamestown Bridge throughout the year. Revenue increased by $12,990.40 or 11 percent over the previous year. A total of 29,391 more vehicles crossed the bridge in 1958, a 6 percent increase. … Toll rates for passenger autos (on the bridge) were reduced from 75 cents one way to 65 cents. … On the political front, the Democrats score their second successive victory over the Republicans. …. In the field of government, perhaps the most far reaching development was the property tax revaluation on the island. … A new ordinance adopted this year by the Town Council established a permanent police department. … The Naval Radio Facility on Beavertail Road was closed early in the year. … This year, the Jamestown school enrollment of 406 reached an all time high and the school budget of $1,669,838 adopted was an increase of $10,000 over that of last year. … The Jamestown fire department … completed the first museum of fire fighting equipment to be established in Rhode Island. … The Sam Carr house on North Road, the oldest house on the island, was leveled. Purchased from Miss Elizabeth Howry by Commerce Oil, it was used to house the offices of the oil corporation and was unoccupied at the time of the fire.

25 years ago From the Newport Daily News, December 27, 1983

More than 300 penguins are expected to brave the icy waters at Mackerel Cove on January 1 at noon for the eighth annual New Year's Day plunge.

The Jamestown Senior Citizens Nutrition site held a Christmas party for 102 senior citizens Thursday, featuring a turkey dinner with all the trimmings

15 years ago The Jamestown Press was not published this week.

10 years ago From the Jamestown Press, December 30, 1998

1998 in Review. (The following stories had these headlines: Megaport plans were unveiled, A proposed fisheries center was downsized, The finance director was made permanent town administrator, A historic battery was rescued, Taxes went up for the first time in two years, Harbor board wades into deep water, And water was everywhere, but …, New school standards frustrate parents, Native Americans halt road work, Land bank legislation went to Statehouse twice, Relocation of the highway barn draws neighbor protests. A reduction in bridge token cost was proposed, Skateboard park plans disintegrated, the fire marshal tosses council out of Town Hall, Pre-school won national recognition, Town Clerk resigned; a new clerk was hired.)

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