In this February 1952 photo, vote counters are shown tallying votes in the town hall after an election. Former Athol police officer Louis Stewart (far right) stands watch.  Photo courtesy of Richard J. ChaissonPictured in this photo are players from the YMCA Grammar School Basketball League sometime around 1952. Left to right -- Paul Gauvin, Paul Smith, Tom Hennard, Robert Grossman, Larry Zanga, Glen Geike, Richard Early, Peter Hume, Stanley Makinen, Donald Walker  Photo taken by Chandler Waterman for the Athol Sunday Journal; courtesy of Richard J. Chaisson

Times Past


Orange Assembly of Rainbow Girls and the Athol Memorial Hospital Diabetes Support Group are working to establish a chapter of the American Diabetes Association. The Rainbow Girls and support group members are selling tickets in a fundraising promotion. Prizes include gift certificates for fuel oil, groceries and appliances.

Visual aids and a detailed presentation could not convince a two-thirds majority of voters necessary to approve purchase of land near Laurel Lake for open space at a special town meeting. The vote came one hour and 22 minutes into the meeting with 28 voting for and 22 against.

Members of the Athol Congregational Church have voted to build a $150,000 addition to facilities, with construction to begin in the spring. The new addition will provide for an elevette which will take people from the ground level to the sanctuary on the second floor, making the area accessible to the physically handicapped. Included will be church school classrooms, expanded lavatory facilities that are handicap accessible, expanded office and storage space.

The 1794 Meeting House, Inc., a New Salem organization dedicated to supporting the arts, is sponsoring a “Gershwin and Friends” jazz concert at Mahar Regional High School. The concert will feature the talents of New Salem jazz pianist and vocalist Nat Needle.

Kristan Lachance, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Lachance of Athol, has been named a President’s Scholar at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. Miss Lachance will graduate in May with a master of arts in education of the deaf; early childhood.

First grade students at the Silver Lake School made suet feeders as part of the winter bird study. Under the supervision of janitor Robert Rouleau, several students had their first chance to use a hammer.

Mahar Regional School art students, whose work was chosen for entry in the Boston Globe Scholastic Art awards, received certificates from their art teachers, Anne Rogers and Ellen Softic. Receiving certificates of recognition were: Mindy Laurence, Tanya Pinard, Elise Stockwell, Emily Anderson, Brent Cummings, Silas Tanner, Paul Benoit, Brandy Flanders, Brian Lanou and Jim Boudreau. Their work is being sent to Boston where it will be judged with other Massachusetts schools.

Gov. William Weld has promised cities and towns that they will get their promised local aid from the state this year, although the annual revenue sharing formula may later be changed.

The White House says President Bush won’t ask Congress for a “war tax” at this time, even though the cost of the Persian Gulf conflict could soar once ground combat begins.


The Athol finance committee has concluded a hearing on department budget requests which will appear in the 71-article warrant for the town meeting in March.

Bernard A. Roy of Burlington, Vt., who purchased the old post office building at Main and Church streets last October, said he is negotiating to sell the property to the second highest bidder from October’s auction, the Athol Masons. Courtland B. Fitch, 525 Main Street, who is handling the transaction, said there are 600 members in various Masonic groups here. Masonic groups have been meeting in the Starrett Building since 1919.

At the request of Athol Fire Chief Mervin Perley, members of Troop 17 Boy Scouts will assist members of other troops to shovel out hydrants to make them more easily available in case of an emergency. The plan calls for each scout to shovel out three hydrants. The project is not limited to scouts. It has been suggested that anyone knowing of a hydrant that has not been shoveled out, see that it is done as a community service.

Deposits at Orange Savings Bank increased $1,170,000 or more than 20 percent in 1965 according to President Sidney N. Fletcher, Jr. This is slightly more than three times the amount of increase in deposits in any one year previously in the bank’s history, he said.

The Holy Family League of Charity sponsored their first charity ball at the Ellinwood Country Club. A crowd of 200 attended the affair for which Roberta’s Trio of Petersham furnished music for dancing.

Athol merchants will be offering merchandise at marked down prices in their annual mid-winter Athol Days Sale. Some of the stores participating include: Athol Clothing, Army Navy Store, Cox Jewelers, Katz Department Store, LaChance Inc., Massachusetts Electric Co., Moskovitz Women’s Shop, Plotkins Furniture, Scott Jewelers and O’Laughlin’s Clothing.

Gov. John A. Volpe said the Massachusetts Legislature can enact his $200.6 million sales tax bill in “two weeks if it gets down to business.” He said he would accept an alternative program if Democrats, who control the legislature, could come up with one, but, he could not see a realistic alternative. Volpe’s tax bill is based on a 3 per cent limited sales tax and $50.6 million in excise taxes.


More than 400 residents of Athol, Orange and surrounding communities braved subzero cold early in the morning to bid farewell to members of F company, 181st infantry, leaving for a year’s training at Camp Edwards, Bourne. The group, small at parade time, rapidly increased and by train time friends and relatives of departing members jammed the Boston and Maine station in Orange.

A capacity audience of nearly 400 persons heard Miss Margaret Slattery, noted lecturer in the field of youth guidance, speak on “A Question You Must Answer” in Starrett Memorial Church. Miss Slattery lectured on a challenge to youth to make the most and receive the most of their lives. Included in the program were vocal solos by Mrs. Marion Noonan of Orange, accompanied by Mrs. John T. Bone, also of Orange.

Opposition to compulsory pasteurization of milk was voiced by many small Athol producers at a meeting called by the local board of health. They said that they could not afford to install pasteurizing plants, and were told that small units were not practical. Anthony Stone of Athol, who appeared as a consumer, stated that he could see no reason why the situation in Athol should be changed. At present, consumers may have their choice of pasteurized or raw milk.

Umpire Tom Dunn of the National League, as guest speaker, entertained a large group of members of the Athol Exchange Club and guests at the Athol House. He told of his early baseball activities, when in Leominster he played ball for a short period and then blossomed into an umpire, doing the city series between Fitchburg and Leominster, later going to the New England League, the Pacific Coast and then was made a regular man in the American Association. His first “big time” assignment being at Boston where Brooklyn and Boston played a 22-inning game.

With one of the largest crowds ever to jam Memorial Hall in attendance, the President’s Birthday Ball, one of the biggest social events of the year, was held in Athol. The audience was estimated at 1,500, with every balcony seat being taken, and dancers had little room to dance, so crowded was the floor. The Athol school band started the evening’s activities at 8 o’clock with a concert, which lasted more than an hour. The grand march followed and was led by selectman and Mrs. Philip S. Perley, followed by other local civic leaders. Bob Pooley’s orchestra of Worcester played for dancing until 1 a.m. During the grand march, dimes for the infantile paralysis (polio) fund were collected.

Athol Daily News

PO Box 1000
225 Exchange Street
Athol, MA 01331
Phone: (978) 249-3535


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