2017-07-20 / Island History


Academy Award-winning actor Morgan Freeman was at East Ferry chatting with townspeople and signing autographs, The Jamestown Press reported July 25, 1996.

Freeman, who starred in “Driving Miss Daisy” and “Shawshank Redemption,” is in town prepping his sailboat, Afrodesia, for a passage to Virgin Gorda in the British West Indies.

Among the celebrity’s stops included dinner at The Bay Voyage and a cash withdrawal from Bank of Newport. Freeman said everyone was “hospitable.”

100 years ago — July 26, 1917 (Newport Daily News)

The first groups of men have been chosen through the Selective Service Act.

All men between the ages of 21 and 31 chosen in the first and second quotas were deployed overseas. In Jamestown, they were Glass Littlefield, Paul Champlin, Albert Chesboro, Albert Wright, Howard Cobvill, Frederick Blum, Manuel Rosa, Frank Reiss, Karl Crandall, Manuel Madeiros, John Brazil Jr., Percy Brown, Alphonzo Bills, Alonzo Tefft, Sherwood Netter, Norman Caswell, Peter Brooks, John McMahon, John Sheldon, Albert Radcliff, Charles Wright and Delvert Gravatt.

Also, James Kenny received notice he was drafted in the first quota and must report to Washington, D.C., for his assignment.

75 years ago — July 24, 1942 (Newport Mercury)

A Conanicut Park man has been promoted to captain in the U.S. Army after serving 20 years in the Coast Artillery branch.

Edward L. LeDoux, who is stationed at Fort Wright in Fishers Island, N.Y., previously had the rank of warrant officer. While deployed on Corregidor in the western Pacific Ocean, LeDoux served as wire chief for the Manila and Subie Bay harbor defenses. He also served a tour in Panama.

50 years ago — July 25, 1967 (Newport Daily News)

The town closed the East Ferry beach to swimmers after the water was deemed unsuitable for bathing. The closure extends 1,000 feet south of the old Conanicut Yacht Club north to Bryer Point.

25 years ago — July 24, 1992 (The Jamestown Press)

The proposed highway connecting the bridges will have three wooden signs to direct travelers into the village at East Ferry.

The state Department of Transportation unveiled a 4-by-8-foot design that says “Historic Jamestown, founded 1678, village center.” The bottom of the sign has an arrow pointing to the off-ramp into town.

An association of business owners in town requested the signs. They are worried the highway will hamper sales because the road allows vehicles to speed through the island.

10 years ago — July 26, 2007 (The Jamestown Press)

U.S. Congressman Patrick Kennedy toured Narragansett Bay aboard a U.S. Coast Guard cutter along the route tankers would travel if the proposed liquefied natural gas terminal were built in Fall River, Mass.

Kennedy, a Democrat who represents Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District, opposes the plan by Weaver’s Cove and Hess. He believes no liquefied natural gas facility should be located in an area as densely populated as Jamestown and Newport. This proposal would require tankers to traverse the East Passage and sail under the Pell Bridge.

“We must provide the best quality of life for all,” he said. “LNG is quite disruptive.”

Moreover, the tankers would impact naval operations. “There is no way to justify why our Navy cannot use the full range of the bay for its training.”

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