Times Past

  • Workmen for New England Traffic Signals Inc., Winthrop, dismantled (at left) the 1932 vintage traffic lights in Pequoig Square on April 30, 1965, and replaced them (at right) with new “walk-don’t walk” signals costing $3,600. Athol Daily News/File

Published: 8/19/2019 9:31:21 PM
Modified: 8/19/2019 9:31:15 PM

The Athol Selectmen issued commendations to two firefighters and a police officer for “heroism above and beyond the call of duty,” for their actions assisting an elderly woman from her burning home on May 31. On that date, firefighter Thomas Lozier and deputy fire chief William Wright noticed a fire had broken out in the woman’s home. The men found 83-year-old Laura Smith unaware of the upstairs fire and because of her health she needed to be carried from her home. They were met at the door by police officer Christopher Casella and the three carried Ms. Smith to safety.

Mushroom hunter John Michalski bagged a huge Berkley’s Polypore on a mushroom hunt in Phillipston recently. The 40-45 pound mushroom was three feet by two feet and a foot deep. Michalski said the jumbo fungus was one of many he has collected with an assist from his trusty dog, “Jill.” The mushroom, he said, is highly edible and destined to be converted into a mushroom soup.

Two North Quabbin teens were arrested following a high speed chase from Orange center, down Route 122 onto Route 202 into Pelham at speeds topping 75 mile per hour. State Police said males, aged 16 and 14, were stopped with a moving roadblock on Route 202 in Pelham. The pair were charged with failure to stop for a police officer, speeding, failure to stay within marked lanes and operating without a license.

The Massachusetts Chapter of the International Association of Arson Investigators has provided the Orange Fire Department with an arson evidence collection tool kit. This kit will allow the department to collect evidence from fire scenes that are suspected to be set fires in a manner consistent with the requirements of the state laboratory. The department is making every attempt available with limited resources to reduce the number of arson fires and their impact on the community.

Robert Laford of Petersham, recently received a service award from the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy for his work as an instructor. Laford is a career firefighter with the Orange Fire Department and has been an instructor with the academy since 1988. He serves as training officer for the Petersham and Orange departments and teaches fire prevention in Orange elementary schools.


The highlight of activities this week at the Athol Playgrounds was a trip to Mountain Park in Holyoke. One hundred youngsters attended, with 12 instructors in charge of the group. They arrived at the park at noontime and had a lunch of hot dogs, hamburgers, soda, watermelon and ice cream. After lunch they enjoyed themselves on the 28 rides available at the park, leaving for home at 4 o’clock.

Of its many displays, the Athol Historical Society is perhaps most proud of “the old Hook pipe organ installed in the society building in 1848.” The 83rd product of the Hook Brothers of Boston, the organ is a rare example of 19th century hand pumped instruments. Allen Hastings of Athol repaired the old organ, which is now “in perfect condition, strong and brilliant in tone.”

The Rev. and Mrs. Clifford Newton of Orange were the guests of honor at a 50th wedding anniversary celebration in the Community Church in North Orange. Two hundred friends from their hometown and parishes in which they have served were present. The former Miss Helen Sanborn and Clifford Newton, schoolmates at Orange High School, were married Aug. 19, 1919, in the Sanborn home in Millers Falls. They were attended by Ashley Davis and Miss Jessie Newton, both of North Orange.

The Zaino property at Packard Heights can no longer legally be used for “recreational camping.” The Zaino property has been the object of dispute for more than a year. The Orange Board of Health has maintained that facilities on the property are inadequate for the housing of “recreational campers.” Zaino has flaunted this contention by bringing teenagers to camp at Packard Heights, claiming the youngsters are his “personal guests.” Suffolk Superior Court ruled that teenagers brought to Packards are indeed “recreational campers” under article 4, section 1 of the Massachusetts Sanitary Code. By extending the restraining order, the court ruled that facilities at Packards are inadequate.

The bill to hike minimum teacher pay to $6,800 yearly moved to the House after final approval in the Senate by an overwhelming 25-6 roll call margin. The Massachusetts House turned the tables on the Senate and killed the bill for this session. The fight to sink the bill was led by Rep. John R. Buckley, D-Abington, who said the teachers, like other municipal employees, now have collective bargaining to win their wage demands.


Athol this week again faced with a butter shortage as grocery stores failed to receive more than a small part of their normal weekly supply. Consequently, hundreds of housewives have failed to receive their butter. Grocers believe the shortage is but temporary – at least they hope so.

Considerable interest is being shown by Athol’s youngsters and oldsters in the band concert and dance to be held at the Athletic Field, it was announced by Thomas Kendrick, chairman of the War Service Committee, which is sponsoring the affair to raise funds to defray costs of sending Christmas cards to Athol’s men and women in service. The novel idea of dancing on the green has caught the imagination of men and women in the Athol area and from present indications, a large crowd will be present, Kendrick declared.

Athol Victory gardeners will have an opportunity to display their produce in connection with the second annual horse show of the Pioneer Valley Horse Association sponsored on Labor Day at the Athletic Field by the Edward H. Philips Post, American Legion. The fruit and vegetable exhibits will be in charge of Athol Grange and will be shown in the roller skating rink. Fruits, vegetables, canned goods and cut flowers will be accepted for showing.

Mrs. Mary L. Snow of Athol received a package from Normandy from her Sea Bee son Bernard A. Snow, machinist’s mate 3/c, and upon opening it was surprised to see it contained a German rifle. She was also surprised to see that the lethal souvenir was wrapped in the June 6, D-Day edition of the Athol Daily News. The Sea Bee had received permission from his commanding officer to send the rifle home, according to the stamp on the wrapper.

Staff Sgt. Harold A. Dyer, 29, of Orange, a ball turret gunner on an Army Liberator, has been awarded the Air Medal “for meritorious achievement in aerial flight while participating in sustained operational activities against the enemy.” Stationed in Italy, Sgt. Dyer has participated in repeated bombing raids against Ploesti, Vienna, Toulon, and other strategic targets in the network of German industrial centers throughout southern Europe.

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