2017-11-30 / Island History


If they get positive feedback from councilors in Newport and Jamestown, state bridge officials will string necklace lighting along the cables of the Pell Bridge for the holiday season, The Jamestown Press reported Dec. 2, 1999.

According to the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority, the original 1966 plans called for these lights but “cost overruns” prevented it from happening. The estimated cost for the 146 strings would be $300,000.

100 years ago — Dec. 1, 1917 (Newport Daily News)

Servicemen from the 10th Company Coast Artillery enjoyed their holiday dinner a day late because they were on guard duty for Thanksgiving.

Dozens of women from Newport and Providence were invited to the celebration. Few failed to report at the fort, arriving via the 11:30 a.m. ferry from Newport. Following a turkey dinner at the barracks, there was dancing in the mess hall until guests departed in time for the 9 p.m. train.

75 years ago — Dec. 4, 1942 (Newport Mercury)

A search continues along the Cranston Cove shoreline for 10 sailors who authorities believed drowned after a whaling boat capsized in the harbor. The men were on liberty.

The disaster is believed to be the worst of its kind here. The bodies of five sailors already have been recovered.

There only were two survivors, J.B. Kelly and L.J. Hinsen, both seamen second class. They clung to the overturned boat until it reached shore.

50 years ago — Dec. 4, 1967 (Newport Daily News)

The interior of a couple’s home on Seaside Drive was destroyed by fire while the owners were out of town. According to Arthur S. Clarke Jr., fire chief, the cause was “probably a lighted cigarette in a divan.”

Four pieces of equipment and a rescue truck responded to the fire and fought the blaze for three hours. Extensive damage was done to the five-room house, which is nicknamed The Pioneer and owned by Mr. George Champlin.

The volunteer firemen soon exhausted the water supply in the fire trucks. Without a reservoir in that section of town, it was necessary to run the hoses overboard and fight the fire with saltwater from the West Passage of Narragansett Bay.

25 years ago — Dec. 4, 1992 (The Jamestown Press)

The community playground on North Road is closed while public workers continue to fix drainage problems at the park.

The playground was closed because it becomes flooded during rain storms and a layer of silt covers the sand underneath the equipment. This is dangerous because children could drown in a water puddle, said Jay Primiano, recreation director. The silt also is a hazard because it prevents the sand from acting as a protective cushion for children who fall from the equipment.

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

An extradition hearing for David Swain was scheduled following his arrest a month earlier for allegedly drowning his wife.

Swain, 51, was arrested on a warrant by authorities in the British Virgin Islands. The prosecution is alleging Swain murdered his wife, Shelley Arden, in 1999 while scuba diving off Tortolla. He is being held without bail. Swain was convicted of killing his wife in 2009, but the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court of Appeal overturned that verdict in 2011, saying there were problems with the jury instructions read by the trial judge.

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