Times Past


The Athol-Royalston School Committee voted unanimously not to accept non-resident students into the system as allowed by a “School Choice” law recently approved by the legislature. 

Calls to the Orange Police Department during the hours when the department is not manned, from 2 to 10 a.m., will no longer get a message from an answering machine advising the caller to contact the Athol State Police in an emergency. Calls will be answered by the Athol State Police, which is providing limited coverage for the town during the early morning hours. Due to budget cuts, the department went on a two-shift schedule recently.

Mrs. Anne Johnson of Red Brook Village was royally escorted by the Great Escape Limousine Service recently to the Ellinwood Country Club where more than 60 family members and guests gathered to celebrate her 90th birthday.

Shawn Peckham, 10, son of Scott and Joanne Pearson of Orange, is the winner of the Junior Editor column with his question about gorillas. Shawn is a fourth grader at Dexter Park School.

Warwick selectmen said town employee paychecks and bills “should be paid up to date” now that the town has secured a six month, $370,000 loan.

The Erving School Committee is heading off a potentially dangerous situation by checking into cracks on the south side of Erving Elementary School. The committee was concerned about cracks in the inner wall of the school which was built in 1973, and asked architect Wilson Rains to look into it.

Massachusetts auto insurers asked the state insurance commissioner to approve an 11.8 percent premium increase for 1992 policies, a move that would raise prices an average of $91 a car.


Charlotte Adams of Athol is a Gold Star Mother. Her 17-year-old son was killed in action Nov. 10, 1944, when the ammunition ship USS Mt. Hood, on which he was a crew member, exploded in the Admiralty Islands area in the South Pacific. Six years ago she heard of a man in California who would send to each and every Gold Star Mother, what he called the “Gold Star Lilly.” Mrs. Adams wrote to the man, George A. Walker of Los Angeles, and after some time received two lily bulbs. This week, for the first time since she has had them, small pink blossoms, the center of which resembles a gold star, appeared on the stalks.

Many young boys dream of it, but few ever actually get to build a swimming pool in their own back yard. One who did see his dream come true is Brian Cox, 16, son of Mr. and Mrs. Russell D. Cox of 22 Logan Ave., Orange. After two years of work and careful planning, Brian, a junior at Mahar Regional High School, designed and constructed a 6 foot by 12 foot pool in the back yard of his parents’ home last year. Realizing that the pool was inadequate for himself and his friends to actually swim, Brian and his friend Stephen Cody, 13, son of Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Cody of 258 North Main St., Orange, enlarged the pool to 25 feet long and 8 feet wide. Brian paid the $200 expenses for the pool by working part-time at the Orange Foundry and Hayden Lumber Co.

The annual alumni ball of the Petersham Alumni Association was held in Petersham Town Hall, preceded by a chicken dinner. An estimated 150 persons attended.

The Royal-Teens, a newly organized club in Royalston, held a block dance in the parking lot off the common with about 30 young people attending. Sandwiches and cold drinks were served.


Athol automobile dealers signed an agreement to close their salesrooms and car lots on Sundays in a move to give further impetus to the gasoline conservation program here.

Housewives, factory workers, firemen, stenographers, conscientious objectors, policemen, lawyers, clerks, and many other occupations were represented in the Red Cross first aid teachers’ course. Forty-six men and women from Athol and nearby towns, ranging in age from 20 to 57, enrolled in the 30-hour civilian defense course. Those completing the course will in turn become instructors to teach others.

“Do you know of any vacant apartments?” That question is being asked in Athol about as often as queries on the weather. The answer, of course, is that Athol has a definite housing shortage, one of the worst in its 200 year old history. The prevalence of jobs has contributed to the housing shortage. Also, during the depression, families doubled up to save on rent and practically no new houses were built. Now families are seeking to set up their own homes.

A varied program of comedy and stunt flying, with parachute jumping, power diving and “bombing” was enjoyed by about 2,000 people at the Orange-Athol Airport as Howard Dutton’s “Sky Devils” put on airplane acts. Three big features were the “batwing” jump from about 10,000 feet, starting a stopped motor by hand while in the air and the comedy stunt by Dutton himself. Other events included laying a smoke screen, precision aerobatics or turns, rolls and loops, and hedgehopping over cars parked about 150 feet apart.

No immediate danger of water shortage in Athol-Orange due to the prolonged drought, was seen by the water superintendents of both communities. However some wells were running low and householders were worried over the shortage.

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Athol Daily News

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


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