Times Past

  • The Methodist Church on Main Street in Athol in horse-and-buggy days. ADN Archives

Published: 9/15/2020 5:22:49 PM
Modified: 9/15/2020 5:22:44 PM

Approximately 120 golfers participated in the recent Athol Memorial Hospital golf tournament at Ellinwood Country Club, which raised $4,000 from entrance fees and sponsorship of tees and holes by hospital suppliers and area businesses.

■For Spacious Skies, a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering an awareness of the sky, was founded in 1981 by former Boston newscaster Jack Borden, who retired to Athol five years ago. Focusing on schoolchildren, the organization has delivered over 100,000 activity guides to public schools, received write-ups in publications including the New York Times and Smithsonian Magazine, been endorsed by meteorologists throughout the country, and even spurred the establishment of National Sky Awareness Week. Yet despite the media acclaim and accolades from public officials, Borden says that getting teachers to see the benefits of sky awareness has been an uphill battle.

■Concerned with the deterioration and problem of litter at the wooden community playground, outlined in a recent Daily News article, employees of Shop ‘N Save have come forward to volunteer to “adopt” the playground. The group has discussed the situation with DPW superintendent Paul Hadsel. About a dozen employees and family members congregated at the playground to clean up litter — an effort they plan to continue on a regular basis. Benda LaCoste said employees are planning a fundraiser in the near future to help provide funds to purchase trash receptacles and pay for the receptacles to be emptied on a weekly basis.

■The two Athol women who returned a money bag containing $84,000 they found from an armored car in Lord Pond Plaza have been receiving kudos in the press and on TV since their honest deed. Christine Noyes and Jackie Marble received a “thank-you” from Shop ‘N Save, the local company whose money was involved, and MassTransport, the Marlboro security company that lost the money.

■A multicultural penpal program, “Se Llamo,” will begin at the Athol Area YMCA once a month. The program is designed to teach small children, ages 4 to 8, about another culture through music, writing and drawings. The penpals speak Spanish and live in a barrio in the Dominican Republic. Students have been chosen and are waiting for Athol children to contact them.


The Athol School Committee again is pondering whether to renovate existing facilities or build new classrooms in anticipation of kindergarten classes, state mandated by 1972. Opening the discussion, Charles Plotkin said, “During the tour of the elementary schools last Wednesday, it became apparent to me there is a great deal of space not being utilized, especially at Sanders Street, Silver Lake and Ellen Bigelow schools. I believe that with addition of outer doors, windows and a ventilation system, many of these basement rooms could be made into attractive classrooms.”

■Athol High School freshmen offered seniors the traditional salaam following a unique freshman welcome at the high school. Supervised by seniors and class advisors, frosh picked up litter and trimmed small brush around the school grounds. After the cleanup, the group shared a buffet supper in the cafeteria, followed by supervised welcoming shenanigans in the gymnasium. The busy afternoon and evening was climaxed by a dance.

■Sp. 4 James S. Carey, U.S. Army, son of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Carey Jr. of Athol, has been assigned to the 90th Replacement Company at Long Binh in South Vietnam. Carey, who previously was a personnel specialist at Fort Hood, Texas, left Athol this week following a 36-day leave with his parents.

■Omer’s Restaurant advertises a rare roast beef dinner with mashed potatoes, salad, vegetables, rolls with butter and a beverage for $1.65.

■The Drum in Orange is open under new management, Stephen Shovan stepping down to new owners, Mr. and Mrs. Robert J. Minichiello and James Minichiello, all of whom previously lived in Lawrence. The Drum, owned and operated by the Shovan family since 1923, will not close its doors during restoration operations scheduled for the kitchen and dining room areas.

■C. David Gale of Tully was installed master of North Orange Grange for a second term in ceremonies in the North Orange-Tully Community Church Hall. John W. Blackmer, honorary deputy of the Massachusetts State Grange, was installing officer. This year marks his 50th year of installations. Among officers installed were four members of the Blackmer family: J. Wesley and Martha Blackmer, son and daughter of John Blackmer; and Virginia and Bruce Blackmer, his grandchildren.


Police Chief William J. Callahan was the guest speaker before the Athol Rotary Club at the Athol House. He related his experiences in the FBI School at Washington, D. C., from which he graduated a few weeks ago.

■Three Athol business places were entered during the early morning hours and a total of $260 was taken, the larger part in silver. The breaks were at the Athol House bar, Bob and Omer’s on Exchange Street, and the store of Frank E. Sweeney at 1495 Main St. These are the first breaks of any consequence in Athol since last November.

■Three Athol-Orange soldiers have been liberated from Japanese prisoner of war camps and are on their way home, it was revealed by their families. They are Cpl. Franklin J. (Porky) LaCoste, grandson of Mrs. Rose LaCoste of Athol; Agt. Herman W. Hausman, son of Mrs. Anton Hausman of Athol, and Pfc. Winston “Pint” Lawson, son of Ivar Lawson of Orange. All three were members of a group of six local men who enlisted in the Army Air Forces on Oct. 2, 1940 and requested duty in the Philippines. They were taken prisoners at approximately the same time in May 1942, when Bataan fell. All were in the Philippines when the war broke out.

■The Orange High School band, under the direction of Malcolm Hall, will perform at Greenfield Fair, along with other high school bands of Franklin County. Following the parade, the band will give a concert in the stands and it is expected that the massed bands will also render a few selections. All Orange school classes were canceled for the day so that students could attend the fair.

■In order to provide electric power to operate the pump for the water system in the Central School in Wendell, the Athol Gas and Electric Co., which since July 1 has been at work on 20 miles of new power line into Wendell, has succeeded getting the lines connected to the school and it is expected that all provisions will be completed for this service by next week.

■The first post-war task of telephone companies in New England will be to fill approximately 150,000 orders for phones — a job that will take many months due to lack of materials and supplies.

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