Times Past


Resembling a scene taken from a page of American history, circa World War II, Wendell held a “Victory Rally” on the town common to give thanks to the troops for their spectacular success in the war with Iraq. Flags were in evidence everywhere, waving in rhythm to strains of patriotic music, while speakers addressed the crowd voicing their support of the troops in the Persian Gulf. The rally, at which 80-100 people attended, was organized by 15-year-old Kristina Hartjens, with the help of her mother. 

Phillipston Selectmen received notice that Senator Robert D. Wetmore (D-Barre) has filed a bill to provide for safe flow of traffic on Route 2 in town. Numerous accidents have occurred at the point where Route 2 changes from a four-lane divided highway to a two-lane undivided highway, including a recent head on collision. Approximately 20 fatalities have occurred at that location in the past 12 years.

In double-overtime and with zero seconds showing on the clock, Athol senior guard Eric Williams hit the first of two free throws to send Athol into the Western Mass. Division II boys basketball finals with a 68-67 win over Hampshire League rival Mohawk Regional at the Springfield Civic Center. Athol will meet Wahconah Regional of Dalton for the Western Mass. title. The trip to the Western Mass. finals is the first ever for Athol High School, whose record is now 22-1.

Gone are the days of Minstrels arriving by train for performances in communities across the United States. The minstrel has faded as a form of favored entertainment nationwide and passenger service by rail to small towns is no more. There are exceptions, and one community where the minstrel has remained firmly entrenched is the Athol-Orange area. The sooty, gritty, smoke spouting minstrel train will pull into the Athol High School station and the Mahar Regional Station. When the “All Aboard” is sounded, the train crew will cakewalk down the aisles and onto the stage to open the performance. There will be no chug, chug of the engine, clickety, clack of wheels or the screech of brakes, but the train whistle will sound and songs about the railroad will take attendees back in time to the hey-day of rail service.

Members of the Athol Area YMCA Minstrel show cast will offer a salute to the troops involved in Operation Desert Storm when they sing and dance to the music of “Yankee Doodle Dandy” and “It’s A Grand Old Flag”. Athol veterans organizations will supply color guards for the presentation.


Charles Malinowski of Athol, scout executive of the Monadnock Council of Boy Scouts of America, was named Young Man of the Year for 1965 by Athol Jaycees, Inc., at the annual meeting in Maroni’s Restaurant. Thirty members and guests attended. Presentation of the distinguished service award was made by John Buck, Jaycees president. Malinowski was cited for his outstanding leadership in scouting, his church, the Y.M.C.A., Athol Rotary Club, and his work with the youth of Athol.

When it comes to perseverance, Petersham Grange is right in there with the U.S. Mail. The Grange conferred the first and second degrees despite a power failure which plunged three-fourths of the community into darkness for close to six hours. No one really expected to go through with it, but the faithful started gathering outside the lightless, heatless hall shortly before 8 p.m. awaiting word from Master Charlie P. Perkins, who had enough of his own troubles milking a large dairy herd the old fashioned way. The word was, “on with the show,” and about an hour after the appointed time, with the aid of 10 candles and a lot of fraternal spirit, the meeting began.

James King, representing the United States Department of Agriculture spoke to the Orange Ministerial Association concerning the surplus food program which his agency is promoting. The control of food distribution would be given to the already existing town welfare agency. While they would retain control of the program, they could delegate the actual work load to other personnel, either additional workers or volunteers. The cost of the food to the community would be 25 cents for 50 pound packages of food. This means that Orange would be charged $10 for every ton of lard, rice, beans, flour, grits, powdered eggs, canned meat, or powdered milk. In all there are about 12 food commodities available to those requiring assistance.

The Charles J. May Jewelers announced their store will be located after April 1 at 3 1/2 East Main Street, Orange, in the vacant store formerly occupied by the Paoletti Fruit Co. several years ago. The Mays will move from the Lamb Block where they have been located for 21 years.


Nearly 150 persons attended an address on “Making the Most of Your Looks” by Mrs. Irma Cofren Whitney of Boston, head of the department of costume design at Vesper George School of Art and art editor of the Boston Herald, featured at the meeting of Athol Woman’s Club. Twenty-one girls of the senior class in Athol High School were special guests.

Orange voted to purchase the Orange-Athol Airport for $5,000 providing federal funds are available for the port’s development and details of the transaction meet with the approval of the selectmen.

A Saddle Club for local horseback riding enthusiasts was tentatively formed at a meeting at Carbone’s Bowling Alleys. Stanley Begor was chosen president of the club. All persons from Athol, Orange and vicinity interested in the sport will be eligible, whether experienced riders or not. For successful operation, the club organizers stated it must have at least 50 members. Its horses will be housed at the Athol Athletic field.

To safeguard the lives of Athol’s school children, the board of selectmen appointed 10 of the city’s school custodians to act as traffic police at the schools. This new step is an outgrowth of last week’s meeting when three members of the Lyman Ward P.T.A. and Superintendent of Schools William A. Spooner appeared before the board with a plea for traffic lights near public schools at busiest intersections.

Austin D. Campbell, 22-year-old Orange representative of the Athol Daily News, wrote his last story for this newspaper — at least for a year. The reporter lays down his pencil and leaves his typewriter to take up arms for the defense of his country — for he is leaving to be inducted into military service. He leaves with 64 other draftees from this area. He is reporting for induction at Turners Falls and will probably be sent to Camp Edwards at Bourne.

A raging snow storm, which the weather bureau said was rapidly reaching blizzard proportions, hit Athol-Orange. Yeatman C. Alley, weather observer at the U.S. aeronautical weather station at Phillipston, reported that a 30 mile an hour wind was roaring out of the east and increasing in intensity. He declared that indications are that this will be the worst storm of the season. He warned motorists to stay off the roads if possible as the snow was drifting fast.

Athol Daily News

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


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