Times Past Column

  • This file photo shows progression of the 200th anniversary parade along Main Street past the uptown common in Athol.

  • Linda Knapp

Published: 8/5/2019 9:47:17 PM
Modified: 8/5/2019 9:47:13 PM

Advanced Research Development Inc. (ARDI) of Athol is involved in joint research to develop a solar cell on a roll. You stretch it over a frame, plug in a couple of wires, and you have an instant solar cell that converts sunlight into electricity with 70 percent efficiency. The firm and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago will work on the three-year, $1.8 million project to develop a new solar energy technology that uses a film instead of layers of semiconductors to convert light into electric power.

Island Street was closed to traffic as wrecking crews began to tear down the building known as the old wallet factory or White Paper Box building. Building inspector Paul R. Blanchard said the building had deteriorated to the point that it was a danger to the public.

Major interior repairs were recently completed at the Athol Memorial Hospital storage barn, formerly the carriage house of the Sawyer mansion. The main Sawyer house was razed in 1948 to make way for the construction of the hospital. Improvements to the barn include new wood and concrete flooring, partitions and installation of a heater.

Three North Quabbin youths learned a lesson in discipline and hard work as they attended the American Legion-sponsored Junior Trooper Program at the Massachusetts State Police Academy. Jeff Monte of Athol and Rachel A. Barstow and Jason A. Stowell of Orange all agreed they also learned to strive to live up to their highest potential. The three teens graduated and were presented a certificate of achievement at a ceremony.

The three requests for funding in an override election in Petersham were rejected. All three questions dealt with school appropriations for Center School and the Mahar Regional School District. Question one sought $20,231 for the Mahar budget. The second question called for $32,500 to fund an elementary school teaching position. The third question requested $39,560 for the elementary school budget. School officials say failure to approve the third request means the art, music, gym, glee club, and the Discovery programs will be eliminated and book purchases reduced.


Another in a series of motor vehicle accidents at the Mohawk Plaza entrance on Route 2A between Athol and Orange has occurred. Police Chief Philip A. Cowick urged all motorists to be alert and proceed with caution when approaching the Mohawk Plaza entrance. In anticipation of traffic problems, he requested selectmen ask for a state traffic engineer study back in March. Selectmen subsequently received a letter from Francis J. Hoey, district highway engineer, which stated the survey indicated, “There is sufficient visibility to assure that traffic entering into and exiting from the Plaza will be able to see and be seen by vehicles on Route 2A.”

Architects’ drawings of the Central School renovation project, tentatively approved by the Mass. Department of Public Safety, were submitted to the Orange Board of Selectmen.

The Athol Historical Society Museum features two especially old exhibits. One, a souvenir piece of wood from the original Tower of London, dates to 1070. The other, an English Bible, was printed in 1599.

Representatives of the Orange-Athol Industrial Development District were in Boston for the signing by Governor Francis W. Sargent of a resolve to give the district $10,000 for expenses involved in obtaining access to land at Orange Airport for an Industrial Park. Senator John D. Barrus, sponsor of the bill, explained that relocated Route 2 cut off the district’s access to Route 202. The district then had to obtain access by buying land at a private sale. The legislative resolve, he said, was the only way in which the district could be reimbursed.

Postmaster Joseph R. Mongrain of Orange announced he has been informed that letter carrier routes at the Orange Post Office will be motorized some time this fall. When the vehicles are assigned it will mean that most carriers will both walk and drive on their routes, making all deliveries at one time including parcel post.

A happy ending is in store for Michele Lee and Dean Jones in Walt Disney productions “The Love Bug” showing at the Pioneer Valley Drive In Theatre in Orange.

Mariner 7 streaked across the Martian south polar cap, snapping and storing pictures scientists said would glue television viewers to their chairs.


Camp Wiyaka closed its 1944 summer season for boys after enjoying a full month of excellent camping weather. A total of 143 campers registered during July, with most of them staying at camp the full month. The closing campfire was held on the shore of Sandy Lake. Camp songs were sung, while talented campers performed various stunts for the entertainment of the group.

First Lt. Robert L. Fisette, 24, son of Mr. and Mrs. Louis E. Fisette of Athol, has been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for “extraordinary achievement” while on bombing missions over German-held territory, according to a letter which his parents have just received from him. Lt. Fisette had previously been awarded the Air Medal and later an Oak Leaf Cluster. He was pilot of the ‘Free French’ plane in “Passage to Marseille,” a Warner Brothers picture starring Humphrey Bogart. He was loaned to the film company by the Army last summer.

Pfc. Steven Prusik, paratrooper, who has been overseas since December, 1943 was awarded the Presidential Citation for outstanding service in action in France since the invasion of Normandy, it was learned by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Prusik, of Athol. He was missing 24 days before being rescued by his own troops in France and is now stationed in England.

Ray Dumas, new director of the Athol junior and senior high school band and the high school orchestra, outlined a most ambitious and enthusiastic program for the coming year at a meeting attended by about 40 band pupils and a dozen parents.

Ten tons of paper and magazine salvage was collected in Orange, according to Salvage Chairman Phillip Welcome, who said it was one of the most successful drives yet held.

Pfc. Frederick C. Barcome, 18, U.S. Army, son of Oliver J. and the late Alice Barcome of Keene, N. H., formerly of Orange, was killed in action on Feb. 9. He had previously been listed as missing in action on that date.

Huburt W. Tandy of Athol was appointed temporary manager of the Orange Airport by the Orange Board of Selectmen in anticipation of the port being opened later for civilian flying. Tandy has been flying for some years and is experienced in the air, having been engaged as a CAA flying instructor at the Turners Falls Airport, which is being closed for this sort of service.

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