2009-12-31 / 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, Dec. 29, 1909

Although the timbers and blocking have not yet been taken from under the Catholic Church, mass will be held in the building on New Year’s Day, and the Feast of the Circumcision observed.

From the Newport Daily News, Dec. 30, 1909

The telephone company has as yet been unable to spare any men to work on the local lines, and all communication the island has had since Christmas day with Newport and the mainland has been by the ferries.

75 years ago From the Newport Daily News, Dec. 28, 1934

The “Share Your Food Campaign” committee of the Jamestown Post, American Legion, reports that 15 baskets were made up and delivered the day before Christmas. This is in addition to the baskets given by the Elks, Salvation Army, D.A.R. and others. These supplies were equally distributed, and perishable articles such as meat, butter and bread were purchased with money contributed by the Red Cross, Jamestown Post, state department of the American Legion and other friends.

From the Newport Daily News, Dec. 31, 1934

The Jamestown & Newport Ferry Company is having an artesian well dug on their property at the west ferry.

50 years ago From the Newport Daily News, Dec. 29, 1959

The Jamestown Town Council last night approved the proposed bay bridge between Jamestown and Newport, but made reservations about the 68 Jamestown residents now employed on the ferry, whose jobs would be eliminated by a bridge. …The Council notified department heads that all town employees are now insured under the Workmen’s Compensation Act, and that each department will be responsible for the insurance from its budget.

The Jamestown Bridge established a record traffic count of 552,330 in the fiscal year that ended Nov. 30, but the receipts were down slightly due to toll deductions.

From the Newport Daily News, Dec. 31, 1959

Jamestown this year relinquished its dubious distinction as the only community in the state to hold its annual municipal elections. By an 11 to 1 margin, with the approval of both parties, the electors adopted biennial elections. (Other news focused on water rates, town control of recreation spots, ferry rate reduction.)

25 years ago From the Newport Daily News, Dec. 28, 1984

(photo captions detail some 1983 events) Water woes — Town officials, increasingly concerned with capacity of the reservoir, hope to avoid water shortages in future. What a Dump —Former landfill site in December awaits construction of a new transfer station. Until sta- tion is finished in June, residents will continue to dump garbage into trailers parked at the site. Creep Show — Line of traffic on Eldred Avenue last Labor Day weekend portend tie-ups expected once state begins constructing new cross-island road connecting new Jamestown Bridge and Newport Bridge. Boring Job — Workers take samples of Narragansett Bay bottom last September in preparation for new Jamestown Bridge. Construction will begin next spring with completion expected by September 1988. Maid In Waiting — The Ferry Boat still sits idle in its East Ferry slip last May awaiting complicated litigation, which will eventually decide who owns the aging vessel.

The Penguins will take their 9th annual New Year’s Day dip in the ocean at Mackerel Cove, Tuesday, at noon.

15 years ago

No Jamestown Press was published this week.

10 years ago From the Jamestown Press, Dec. 30, 1999

J2K — the hottest island event ever. The buttons are going fast for the island’s millennium New Year’s Eve celebration. [Articles in the Press included one on town activities for the evening, a review of the previous 100 years with many photographs, a sampling of Jamestown news from 1873 to1899, and a timeline of Jamestown in the 20th century. Highlights of the year were summarized: water restrictions, the issue of a container port at Quonset, off-island solicitor hired, voters said no to a bike path on the old Jamestown Bridge, Southwest Avenue still under construction, landfill pollution examined, increase in mooring fee proposed, two major fires fought, bridge tokens were discounted for the first time, 1,500 islanders showed up for a Millennium portrait.

Despite the cold temperature and strong wind, 62 species of birds were observed by 19 hardy birders on Sunday, Dec. 26, during the 16th annual Conanicut Island Christmas Bird Count.

(photo caption) Brian and Nicole Russell … last week were the 9 millionth motorists to cross the Newport Bridge since its opening on June 28, 1969.

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