2017-08-31 / Island History

ISLAND HISTORY

An electrical fire in the produce cooler at McQuade’s Market temporary left the island without a grocery store, The Jamestown Press reported Sept. 2, 1999.

One firefighter was sent to the hospital after he was injured in the blaze, which is estimated to have caused $375,000 in damage. Bob Bryer, deputy fire chief, said the fire smoldered for more than an hour before firefighters arrived because the store did not have a smoke alarm.

100 years ago — Aug. 31, 1917 (Newport Daily News)

The aft propeller of the steamer Narragansett hit a floating log with a round iron rod, which became entangled in the wheel.

The ship was arriving from Newport when the accident occurred. The captain, Arthur Knowles, immediately stopped the engine. The Conanicut arrived with a line to tow the Narragansett to the head of the Enterprise dock.

After unsuccessful attempts by the crew to dislodge the iron, Knowles donned a bathing suit and dove into the bay. He discovered the iron was twisted around the shafting and blades of the wheel.

A diver from the torpedo station was sent to assist. After much cutting, the iron was extracted and the steamer was ready to resume its place on the line.

75 years ago — Aug. 31, 1942 (Newport Mercury)

After nearly a week without power, electricity has been restored in town following a successful attachment between the utility companies in Newport and Narragansett via the Jamestown Bridge.

Starting on North Road, wires were strung across the span to the Saunderstown connection, a distance of 2 miles.

50 years ago — Aug. 31, 1967 (Newport Daily News)

Tempers flared when Democratic Albert Lyons, the former council president, accused Republican Councilman Andrew M. Brown Jr. of “personally greasing the skids for precipitous action by the planning board.”

According to Lyons, a construction company had found a loophole in the zoning ordinance and was building roads approved by the planning commission, which was powerless because of the law’s ambiguity. Brown, as head of the council, did nothing to stop this because he feared a lawsuit, Lyons said.

25 years ago — Sept. 3, 1992 (The Jamestown Press)

Robert Sutton’s tenure as town administrator ended quietly with little fanfare after 17 years at the helm.

On the day of his retirement, he cleared his desk of personal items, relinquished his keys and departed the village. Sutton, 50, will now focus on repairing the roof of his Rosemary Lane home. “It has been a very pleasant job,” he said. “I enjoy the people in this community and am glad I got to work for them.”

10 years ago — Sept. 6, 2007 (The Jamestown Press)

The town temporarily closed the skate park behind Lawn School because of vandalism discovered during Labor Day weekend. Bill Piva, recreation director, will determine security measures in the meantime.

Piva said signs were damaged, concrete was spray-painted and a makeshift ramp made from a folding table, rocks, a tree stump and nail-ridden planks was built on the basketball court.

The problem, he said, is out-of-town teenagers monopolizing the park from younger skaters. “We really need to encourage the local kids to report what they see,” he said. “If they allow this to go on in their park, it is adding to the problem. They have to make the change.”

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