2017-06-08 / Island History


A residential landmark on Newport Street was destroyed after flames engulfed a porch then tore through the house for three hours, The Jamestown Press reported June 10, 1999.

Nobody was injured in the fire that claimed The Captain’s House, which was built in 1905 by Joseph Wharton, the Philadelphia steel mogul who summered in town. The structure was being studied for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

With the house destroyed, only two structures remain from the Wharton legacy, Horsehead and Clingstone.

100 years ago — June 8, 1917 (Newport Journal)

The daughter of Dr. Francis was transported from Jamaica Plain, Mass., to be buried in Cedar Cemetery.

Mrs. M. D. Pearson, 88, died at the home of her daughter in Milton, Mass. She had been quite ill for several weeks and her demise was not unexpected. She was the mother of many children, but only three survive her. They are Mrs. Newman and Mrs. F. B. Gentry of Milton and Mrs. Price of Mobile. Her funeral was conducted at the Episcopal church.

75 years ago — June 12, 1942 (Newport Mercury)

Taxpayers approved a $131,416 budget that wasn’t adopted until nearly midnight after convening 14 hours earlier.

Roughly 70 residents voted on several measures during the meeting, but only 20 remained when the final figures and resolutions were adopted. Tax assessors were directed to collect between $102,400 and $109,000 to support the budget.

The spending plan is $7,000 less than the 1941-42 budget, although the town is unsure whether the $21.50 tax rate will change. The cuts included $700 from the $1,000 line item for street lighting and reducing the pot for civilian defense from $7,300 to $5,500. Minor increases approved were $250 for the Red Cross nurse and $160 for insurance on town buildings. The fight to reduce appropriations was led by Samuel W. Smith Jr., who repeatedly attacked the town council and its administration for the past year.

A resolution carrying a $1 appropriation to build a recreation center on the Sherman Farm was narrowly defeated, 36-34.

50 years ago — June 8, 1967 (Newport Daily News)

Conanicus Avenue resident Richard Sherman, the town’s acting superintendent of schools, has been tabbed as the next education chief of the Lincoln district.

A former elementary principal, Sherman, 40, has a master’s degree from Boston University and is completing a six-year course in general administration at the University of Connecticut. Outside of the classroom, he is a charter member of the Jamestown Lion’s Club and a member of the Arnold-Zweir Post of the American Legion.

25 years ago — June 11, 1992 (The Jamestown Press)

A divided town council endorsed the state’s plan to build a four-lane highway connecting the Jamestown and Newport bridges, provided the posted speed limit is 40 mph or below.

Councilors Tot Wright and Mary Meagher, who both sat on the study panel for eight years, cast the dissenting votes. By delaying an endorsement, Meagher argued, the town could hold the state’s “feet to the fire” during negotiations.

Councilors Susan Bouchard, Nick Robertson and Mark Liberati voted for the measure, which passed 3-2.

10 years ago — June 10, 2007 (The Jamestown Press)

The state ruled against the town’s water utility, saying the company is not compliant because it did not submit an acceptable five-year management plan.

Town Administrator Bruce Keiser said the designation was “overkill” and “an undeserved black eye” on the water system. “The punishment doesn’t fit the crime,” he said.

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