2009-09-03 / Island History

This week in Island history

Week of September 3
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, Sept. 4, 1909

As announced briefly in the Daily News Friday, Conanicut Park, containing 385 acres, and a farm adjoining, containing 67 acres, were sold at public auction for $11,000 early that afternoon, John C. Mauran of Providence purchasing both parcels. The sale was held at the park itself, at the north end of Conanicut Island. The larger parcel of land brought $10,000 and the smaller $1,000.

The town council acting upon the request of the Boston Post, has awarded the handsome cane, forwarded by them, to Captain Edward Dickins, as the oldest citizen of the town. The cane was given with the idea that it is to be held by the oldest citizen of the town, being transmitted on the death of the first holder, to the then oldest living citizen. The cane is a fine specimen of manufacture, being made of Gabon ebony from Congo, Africa by J. F. Fradley & Co. of New York. The head is of 14 karat fineness rolled gold, handsomely engraved…. …Captain Dickens, to whom the cane was presented, is 78 years old, being born at Block Island. [No one knows what happened to the Jamestown Boston Post cane. The last known recipient died in 1921.]

75 years ago From the Newport Daily News, Sept. 4, 1934

Labor day was spent with considerable social activity, many of those spending the week-end and holiday enjoyed themselves on the golf links, tennis courts and at different beaches. A number of house parties were held and several cocktail parties in the afternoon. A few family gatherings were held when outdoor picnics were enjoyed. A number of picnic and supper parties were held at Beavertail.

The outstanding event of the summer was the subscription dance held at the Beavertail Country club Saturday evening, when 300 guests were present. The Meyer Davis orchestra played for the dancing.

From the Newport Daily News, Sept. 5, 1934

James T. O’Connell has purchased the Bay View Hotel, Jamestown, from the Sovereign Bank of Newport. … For the past 29 years it has been in the possession of the bank, which engaged Ernest L. Caswell to manage it. … As many as 600 guests have been seated to a meal in the Bay View at one time.

The Conanicut North Point lighthouse has been sold by the government to John Dunn of Dorchester, Mass., together with one-half acres of land, and a garage, which the new owner is converting into a cottage. There were five sealed bids. The process was $2,875.

50 years ago From the Newport Daily News, Sept. 1, 1959

Sweeping changes at the ferry landing in Jamestown, in progress since last Wednesday, are expected to be completed later this week by the State Department of Public Works. The objective is to improve the traffic pattern for ferry use. …The monument to Canonicus has been moved to a nearby park and the grass plat on which it stood adapted for parking.

From the Newport Daily News, Sept. 5, 1959

Jamestown School is one of 800 elementary schools representing every area of the United States to participate in the national science program set up by the American Assn. for the Advancement of Science. … Eighty plasticcovered, illustrated books have arrived — all sizes for all ages from grade 1 through grade 8. At midyear the books will be sent to another school in the program and two boxes with 80 more books will replace those sent on.

From the Newport Daily News, Sept. 8, 1959

A record grade enrollment will begin on Wednesday, with at least 417 students. This was the total on Aug. 28, an increase of 31 over last year’s registration. One hundred and three pupils are now registered for the various high schools in Newport.

25 years ago From the Newport Daily News, Sept. 4, 1984

(photo caption) Traffic slowly pushes its way across Jamestown toward North Kingstown Monday afternoon. Two-lane Eldred Avenue is slated to become a four-lane road with a bridge spanning this intersection with North Road, thus improving traffic flow, the state believes. But later this month traffic should get worse when a new concrete deck is put on the Jamestown Bridge.

From the Newport Daily News, Sept. 5, 1984

State Turnpike and Bridge Authority revenues were up substantially for the year which ended last June 30, compared to the year which ended June 30, 1983. Revenues for the fiscal year which just ended were $5.5 million compared to the previous year when revenues were $4.9 million. Newport Bridge revenues were $5.2 million. Mount Hope bridge revenues were $287,665. During the last fiscal year, 9.1 million vehicles crossed the bridges compared to 8.4 million during the previous year.

15 years ago From the Jamestown Press, Sept. 1, 1994

The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority will not be meeting with state and town officials to discuss a proposal that it should pay the town a user fee in lieu of taxes for land it owns at the Newport Bridge toll plaza. …Town offi cials have twice gone before the General Assembly in an attempt to get the authority to pay a user fee for the 34 acres of land it owns on the island.

Town officials have asked Gov. Sundlun to help them get a $6,000 rebate from the state for sewagetreatment monitoring fees paid over the last three years.

10 years ago From the Jamestown Press, Sept. 2, 1999

The chairman of the Harbor Management Commission gave new clarity to aging ailments that plague the island’s waterfront in a public state-of the-harbors presentation last week. … Unfortunately, by the end of the meeting the cure remained as elusive and controversial as ever. (The cost of repairs was estimated at $900,000 for piers at East Ferry, West Ferry and Fort Getty and the boat ramp at Fort Getty.)

An early morning fire on Sunday caused extensive damage to McQuade’s Market, sent one firefi ghter to the hospital, and has left the island without a grocery store.

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