2011-06-30 / Island History

This week in Island history

Week of June 30
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.

Scattering Seeds

By John A. Murphy
jamurphy@jamestownlawyer.com

At its best, a common sense solution to a chronic problem may involve synergy, that is, the solution will bring benefits beyond the resolution of the single problem targeted. Such serendipity is possible if we target problems facing our country today. Let’s think several through.

Right now, far too many Americans need jobs and cannot find them. The impact of chronic unemployment upon our nation’s economy is devastating; it is crushing the spirit of many in the workforce. At the same time, the infrastructure of this country is crumbling, and needs to be rebuilt. A solution to this situation seems so obvious that we need not state it. America has been in this situation before. The infrastructure that was constructed under federally funded programs in the 1930s and 40s served us well; the public works programs helped get the country back on its feet after a devastating economic depression. Don’t we need to attack today’s problems now with the same type of vision and vigor? Won’t we hit two birds with one stone?

Another chronic set of problems America now faces is the web of negative impacts that flow from having virtually all of the burden of military service fall upon an extremely small percentage of our country’s families. It we adopt a universal service requirement for all young citizens, won’t we be helping to resolve that untenable situation? The mandated service should be in a wide variety of programs helpful to this country. If a young person chooses a particularly difficult form of service, such as the military, he/she should receive special benefits, such as assistance in post-service education. The administrative and programmatic operation of agencies benefitting from the mandated service would themselves provide employment opportunities for many people, such as our presently under-employed veterans of military service. Synergy again!

100 years ago

From the Newport Journal, June 30, 1911

[At the Town Council meeting] J. R. Caswell was appointed a committee to enforce the automobile law, repair Walcott Avenue and confer with the Improvement Society, as to work on sidewalks bear the west ferry.

It was voted that the town clerk notify the water works to turn on the water in the fountain at the foot of Narragansett avenue.

Servants arrived Thursday to open the Peckham cottage on Walcott Avenue for Mrs. H. D. Spears and family of New York, who have leased it for the season.

[At the Financial Town Meeting] the faction which won at the caucus, only to lose the majority of the steamboat committee at the polls, made a final effort by the introduction of a resolution which if carried would give outside stockholders the balance of power. The regulars were on hand and made short work of the resolution, passing instead a vote to request the state legislature to change the charter of the ferry company in such a manner that the members of the town committee will be elected for three, two and one year, and thereafter one elected annually to serve three years, thus eliminating some of the politics in the management.

It was voted that the town clerk was appointed to purchase a typewriter for his office.

75 years ago

From the Newport Daily News, June 27, 1936

[At the Town Council meeting] George C. Baron, WPA field engineer, addressed the council and discussed the road building program going on in town.

It was voted that permission be granted the Holy Ghost Society to parade Sunday, June 28, from the East ferry to St. Mark’s church, to Holy Ghost hall, with the stipulation that the bands do not play while passing other churches where services are being held.

From the Newport Daily News, June 29, 1936

The dedication and birthday party of the Jamestown Post, American Legion, and the Auxiliary was held at the post home on Clinton avenue, a large number of legionnaires, many from out of town, members of the auxiliary, and invited guests attending. The hall was attractively decorated for the occasion. A large birthday cake, with seven candles, was brought in at the close of the banquet and cut buy the post commander.

From the Newport Daily News,

June 30, 1936

[At the Jamestown Historical Society meeting it was reported that a gift was received] a sampler from Mrs. Charles E. Weeden, which was made 110 years ago by Lucy King Palmer, Mrs. Weeden’s mother when she was 12 years old.

50 years ago

From the Newport Daily News,

June 26, 1961

Summer colony boys on the Little League’s farm team, the Indians will play their fathers and minor league officials Saturday night at 6 p.m. at the Holy Ghost Society Field.

From the Newport Daily News,

July 3, 1961

A Fourth of July steak fry at the Jamestown Golf and Country Club is scheduled for tonight.

At the Conanicut Yacht Club over the weekend, a dinner dance was held on Saturday night and last night a buffet supper was served. The tennis courts at Shoreby Hill are open for the season.

25 years ago

From the Newport Daily News,

June 27, 1986

An entrance ramp to the new cross-island bridge-connector road that will affect wetlands was the focus of discussion Thursday night during a hearing on the road’s draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement.

It was like “a big lawn party” for visitors watching the Tall Ships Parade of Sail in Jamestown Tuesday. Police Chief James Pemantell said this morning that besides one arrest for disorderly conduct and several minor injuries, “everything went according to game plan.” Traffi c leaving the island after the show found some slow going but nothing compared to the 1982 catastrophic jam-up.

15 years ago

From the Jamestown Press,

June 20, 1996

Jamestown School Principal and Superintendent Phyllis Schmidt Monday announced her intent to retire in a letter to the Jamestown School Committee.

The second annual Ferry Days celebration this weekend promises plenty of old-fashioned fun for the whole family. Sponsored by the Jamestown Village Association, events get underway Saturday at 10 a.m. (Events included displays by civic organizations, unveiling of a historical plaque, performances by the Community Band and Chorus, and, on Sunday, a block dance, a chicken barbeque, and music by the Night Life Orchestra.)

West Ferry residents can relax – most of the trees that provide the leafy canopy over Narragansett Avenue are not going to be cut down.

Close to 500 family members and friends watched as 70 eighthgraders graduated from the Lawn Avenue School.

10 years ago

From the Jamestown Press,

June 28, 2001

The Town Council Monday voted 3-2 to amend the Zoning Ordinance and allow Bayview Condominium owner James Thompson to convert the restaurant unit into a residence.

The island’s School Committee approved at its June 21 meeting the hiring of eight new teachers to fill vacant positions.

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