The Petersham Historical Society opened on July 14, 1926, this photo shows the construction phase of the building on North Main Street in Petersham.  Photo from the collection of the Petersham Historical Society

Times Past


Mildred “Aunt Mille” French, 94, who has retired from church duties, was honored at a retirement party following church services in Fellowship Hall at the First Church of Christ in Royalston. Rev. James Willis, master of ceremonies, sang a song he composed for Miss French. Her favorite hymn, “In The Garden” was sung by the choir. More than 70 guests were in attendance.

Selectmen in New Salem met with Brent Winters, Franklin County Green Thumb Program representative, who explained the program. Funded by the United States Department of Labor, the program is designed to provide jobs and income to older persons. It assists local public service agencies by providing manpower on projects that will benefit the community. Enrollees get on-the-job training matched to their interests and experiences.

Following a site inspection, members of the Warwick School Building Committee and town officials unanimously decided to locate the 42’x28’ modular classroom approved at town meeting for the Warwick Center School at a new site perpendicular to the school rather than the original site, due to the considerable amount of ledge which would have to be removed at the original site. The sum of $60,000 was allocated for the unit, to be used for kindergarten or third and fourth grades, at town meeting.

At its first meeting since the failure of the override vote in Wendell, the New Salem-Wendell School Committee voted 5-1 to abolish the art, music, physical education and instrumental music programs at the Swift River School. The school committee voted 5-1 to dismiss each of the tenured teachers working in those positions. The actions were taken as a result of lack of funds.


Daily News customers on the route of Steven Richards, 14, of Athol, can expect delivery a bit quicker in the future, thanks to the Athol Bike Safety League, administered by Police Chief Philip A. Cowick. The league purchases and repairs 15-25 bicycles yearly for presentation to deserving youngsters and Newsboy Steve is the latest recipient. Funds for the program are donated by factories, merchants and individuals in town.

Long ball hitting Marty Grover, 26, son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert H. Grover of Athol, seeks the Vermont State amateur golf championship in Rutland, Vt. Grover is a former Petersham Country Club champion, junior club champion at Ellinwood Country Club and New England Hearst tournament titlist.

Miss Carolyn Rice, 17, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. True B. Rice of North Orange, has been elected a vice president of the Future Homemakers of America during the annual convention is St. Louis, Mo. She will be responsible for the north Atlantic region. Miss Rice is at the convention with six other FHA representatives from Massachusetts. She is a delegate of the FHA club of New Salem Academy of which she is secretary.

Final preparations are now being made at Bethany Lutheran Church in Orange for the Vacation Church School. To date, more than 120 children are pre-registered for the religious education program. This is slightly ahead of last year, indicating that the new summer reading program and “Operation Headstart” will not greatly affect Bible School enrollment.

Orange Fire Department rescued veteran parachutist Mark Goyan of White Pond Road from a tree on Pleasant Street in Orange. He was reported to have been using an older model chute than usual and pulled too soon to hit his mark. He was uninjured.


Sewing machines used by the Athol Red Cross in World war days and lost sight of after hostilities ceased, have turned up again in the Red Cross headquarters in the basement of the library building. When the WPA sewing project was recently discontinued in Athol, Mrs. Sarah M. Taft, executive secretary of the local Red Cross chapter, asked WPA Coordinator John W. Barker for use of the sewing machines in Red Cross sewing. To her surprise, the six machines sent over were those they had used in 1917-1918. The Red Cross is now a beehive of industry. In the past 10 days they have received 2,267 yards of material to be made into refugee garments for war relief.

Close to a dozen young men between the ages of 17 and 24 registered in Athol Town Hall for national youth administration courses in machine shop training to be held in Springfield and Worcester. The courses are being offered under the “pay while you learn” plan, with jobs guaranteed at the completion of training.

Eleven projects in connection with the history course this year at Orange High School are on display at Wheeler Memorial Library. They vary from a model boat to a model prison drawing. The historic town of Deerfield as it was in the early days is the subject of an exhibit made and designed by Grace Dirth and Gladys Harrington. Another project, designed and laid out by Adelle White and Jane Roche, depicts a model modern town with its church, school and government buildings occupying the central spots.

Another step for the protection of Athol, Orange, Erving and Millers Falls from rampant floods of Millers River, was taken when workmen pulled the earth plugs to let the river down the drain of the new Birch Hill flood control dam at Royalston. Army engineers estimate the project is 60 percent complete. While a number of communities will be relieved from the nightmare of future floods such as occurred during the 1938 hurricane, the project is causing heartache to hundreds in the lowlands back to the dam and in the town of Baldwinville. A slice of Baldwinville, including more than a hundred homes and three woodworking factories, will be razed next fall because of their inclusion in the basin.

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Athol Daily News

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


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