Times Past Column: Nov. 28

Published: 11/28/2018 10:01:07 PM

Bob Lawton and John Tandy, volunteers from Warner Cable, installed Christmas skyline decorations in town in conjunction with the Athol Merchant’s Association. Others helping to install community decorations were Brenda and Stu Black, Tom Killey, Jeff Plotkin, Giles Wheeler, Jenna Wheeler, Herb and Colleen Wheeler, Dusty Drake, Charlie Ledbetter and Richard Verock.

You’ll laugh, hum, tap your feet — long after you’ve seen the stage production of “Grease” at the Athol High School. The colorful performance by local talent is steeped with energy as the 40-member cast belts out songs and dances up a storm on stage as well as in the aisles to ‘50s tunes. Julie Capone of Athol and Frederick Edwards of Royalston are excellent in the lead roles of Sandy Dombrowski and Danny Zuko.

Pleasant Street School was full of bologna (and other cold cuts) when an 84-foot cold cut grinder lined the corridor. Kathy Dennis, vice president of the parent teacher group, said they sold 262 four-inch slices of the sub for $3.50 and the price included a soda and a bag of chips. After a period of viewing the sandwich, it was taken to the kitchen and sliced. The sub was ordered from Subway with portions of it made in Athol and Gardner. It was delivered in six-foot sections and assembled at the school. The project was done in conjunction with the school’s toy bingo night.

Mt. Tully Kennels of Orange donated a kennel to the Orange Police Department’s K-9 unit. The kennel is six feet wide and 12 feet long. The donation is in conjunction with the K-9 fundraiser by the Pioneer Junior Women’s Club.

Orange selectmen approved a request to seek grant funds for capital improvements at the Orange Municipal Airport.

Maria Assumpta Academy, a former Catholic girls school on the common in Petersham that closed in 1973 was sold at auction. The sale price was $400,000 and the new owners are Samuel and Katie Seidman of Winchester. Seidman is a retired wine importer who sold his business two years ago. The Seidmans said they have since been “trying to find a project to work on.” The Seidmans, who originally planned to bid only on the contents of the 168-room structure, said they will convert the building into a “high-quality country inn.” Seidman said that he has no timetable for opening the inn and has no firm plans at this point.


Athol Town Clerk Walter E. Farnum, 72, will retire after 35 years as keeper of the town’s official records.

An estimated 750 persons toured the newest wing at the Athol Memorial Hospital in spite of inclement weather as the hospital marked the completion of the $1.4 million addition. At the same time the town’s first hospital, the Mann Memorial of 1930-35 was being razed in South Athol.

An overflow crowd of 275 scouters gathered in the Athol High School cafeteria for the 13th annual appreciation banquet of Monadnock Council Boy Scouts of America. Highlight of the evening was the presentation of scouting’s highest award, The Silver Beaver to a former Athol man, Joseph Lillie, now a resident of Winchendon.

An expanded automotive machinery program at Athol High School has been suggested by Domenick F. Erali, industrial arts instructor. Erali, who conducted a similar course at the now closed New Salem Academy, has submitted a request for additional automotive machinery to members of the Athol-Royalston Regional School Committee for incorporation in their 1969 budget proposal.

James T. Kenney of Athol purchased the former York Theatre at public auction for $18,000. He has no plans for use of the building, purchasing it for speculation. The building, closed since mid-July, had been operated as a teenage center by Robert D. Higgins and Robert A. Keating, both of Holden. The former owners offered the building for town purchase at $25,000 or lease, $500, at the time of closing.

Orange Fire Chief William Piper and firemen Maurice Johnson and Conrad D. Gale met with Orange selectmen to discuss a problem in regards to streets with more than one name in the North Orange-Tully area. Firemen noted that the assessors street list is not in agreement with the official town map, causing considerable confusion. Fire department members are of the opinion the assessors listing should be changed to coincide with that of the department.

By a vote of 9-1 the Mahar School Committee approved the first million-dollar budget in the history of the region, an approval that was sharply challenged at an open hearing. At the hearing the budget was hotly challenged by Orange School Committee members, chamber of commerce representatives, finance committee members, selectmen and an estimated 30 residents of district towns. Taxpayers from Orange, Petersham, Wendell, Erving and New Salem attended the hearing.


Francis D. Glasheen, production superintendent for the Athol Manufacturing Co., for 15 years, has been promoted to the rank of Major in the Army Air Forces. Commissioned a second lieutenant in the Officer Reserve Corps in 1925, Major Glasheen was promoted to the rank of first lieutenant in 1930 and became a captain in October 1942. He was assigned to his present overseas unit April 15, 1942 and now is a supply officer at one of the West Indies air bases of the Antilles Air Command.

Athol and Orange are “WAC (Women’s Army Corps) conscious,” following the parade and rally held to stimulate WAC recruiting among eligible girls in this area. Large numbers of young and old watched the torchlight demonstration which in its ranks included state guardsmen, police, firemen, American Legion Police Auxiliary, civilian defense units, fire apparatus, Boy Scouts, Campfire Girls, Athol and Orange High School Bands and the Athol Military Band. Police Chief William J. Callahan was parade marshall. Speakers at the rally in Athol’s Memorial Hall included State Representatives Charles H. Cooke of Athol and Ralph C. Mahar of Orange, Dr. Ray Fessenden, chairman, Athol Board of Selectmen, and Mrs. Amelia Morin of Leominster, regional chairman for WAC recruiting. The speakers stressed the importance of WAC enlistments to relieve men for overseas duty. The national WAC quota by Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor Day, is 70,000.

A total of $3,256 in cash was reported in the Orange Community Chest campaign. This represents 40 percent of the total objective of $8,000. It came from 398 individual subscriptions and was divided as follows: Industrial, $1,547; business and professional, $915; residential, $794. The Adell Corporation reported 100 percent from its employees.

Considerable excitement was caused in the southeast part of New Salem when a missile from a plane hit the Mountain View Cemetery. Apparently it was a practice bomb from one of the planes which used that area for target work. The bomb hit the earth a short distance from a tomb in the cemetery, tipped over a headstone and plowed the ground for some distance. It fortunately missed the nearby residences of George S. Rockey and Earl Barry by approximately 400 feet. The North Prescott Church stands about 500 feet from the point of contact.

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