2016-11-10 / Island History


An overloaded electrical plug in a fourth-grade classroom at Melrose School caused a small fire, The Jamestown Press reported Nov. 13, 1997.

Custodian Kevin Latham, fortunately, was making his final round of the building at 11:45 p.m. “I could smell smoke. I could see smoke. I looked around to find the fire, but I couldn’t breathe. I had to call the fire department,” he said.

According to Fire Chief Arthur Christman, it took firefighters 15 minutes to locate the blaze. There were no injuries and only minor damage.

100 years ago — Nov. 15, 1916 (newport daily news) The ferryboat J.A. Saunders, which has been in dry dock in Newport since it ran aground three weeks ago on Dutch Island during a heavy fog, was put back in service. It replaced the Narragansett, which has been tied up for the winter in the East Bay.

75 years ago — Nov. 14, 1941 (newport Mercury) The Jamestown Town Council voted to borrow $50,000 to meet short-term notes contracted earlier this year. The loan is for four months until taxes are collected. According to Town Treasurer

Adolphus Knowles, the new bond brings the total money borrowed in 1941 to $125,000.

50 years ago — Nov. 10, 1966 (newport daily news) More than a dozen dovekies were blown ashore on Rhode Island’s coast following a gale, including two in Jamestown. The dovekie, a small member of the auk family, is one of the most abundant species in the world. The bird, however, commonly spends its entire life out of sight from landlubbers. Aside from boaters at sea, the bird is rarely seen by humans. The dovekie, which is about 8 inches long, has a black beak, white breast, webbed feet and wings that seem inadequate. The bird takes flight by paddling in the water to gain momentum. It may not be able to take off from land.

25 years ago — Nov. 15, 1991 (the Jamestown press) Jamestown officially has declared its desire to remain in the Newport County legislative district. In a letter drafted by Councilwoman Mary Meagher, the Jamestown Town Council urged the reapportionment commission to retain political borders. The

state panel considered moving Jamestown into the South County district.

The letter said Jamestown is commonly linked to the city of Newport. Also, redistricting would be costly, it said.

10 years ago — Nov. 16, 2006 (the Jamestown press) A Superior Court judge denied an injunction from a Jamestown constituency that wants deer hunting banned at Beavertail State Park. Following a unanimous vote by the town council to allow bow hunting, opponents filed suit in Newport to overturn the local decision. The council approved the cull because deer are the primary host of blacklegged ticks, which carry Lyme disease. Residents have been split for years about hunting on the island. Some agree with the concern about ticks while others say it is cruelty to animals and unneeded because there are other ways to curtail the growth of the island’s deer population.

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