Times Past: Aug. 18, 2020

Published: 8/19/2020 5:26:01 PM
Modified: 8/19/2020 5:25:54 PM

Bells were rung and whistles were blown for about five minutes in churches and fire stations all through the North Quabbin area in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II. Athol firefighters Jerry Lozier, Tom Lozier and Capt. George Terrien climbed the old bell tower of the former uptown fire station on Pleasant Street to ring the clapperless antique bell with three-pound line hammers. The entire Fire Department and many bystanders listened as the one-ton bell tolled for the first time in more than 50 years.

■Judy and Bill Howland of Athol were honored recently for their work with the Lifeline program. They have volunteered hundreds of hours doing Lifeline installations in the homes of area residents.

■Members of Our Lady Immaculate Church Confirmation Class became missionaries for two weeks at Saint Francis Parish in Juarez, Mexico. For the third year, class members accompanied Father Steven Johnson, pastor, to their sister parish to learn first-hand conditions in third-world communities and a spiritual heritage different from New England. The participants lived with families of the parish, sharing family life, meals and activities. They were involved in a parish Bible School and experienced ministries and liturgies as part of normal parish activities. The youths held fundraisers all through the confirmation class year to raise money for the trip.

■Shawmut Bank recently presented a check for $8,000 as an unrestricted donation to Athol Memorial Hospital.

■Peter Gerry, owner of Pete’s Tire Barns, received approval of tax incentives for expanding his operations on East Main Street and renovating the former Orange Foundry on West River Street where he plans to retread tires used on commercial trucks. Gerry is the first recipient of tax incentives under the Economic Opportunity Area program.

■Seaman Paper Co. has purchased a 10-acre lot next to its warehouse at the Orange Industrial Park with plans to extend its operations. The two-year-old company, with headquarters in Otter River, produces paper for packing purposes. An affiliate, MBW, converts the rolls of tissue into package-size sheets for wrapping.

■Eric Goodchild, Shelburne resident, added a Scottish flavor to the Village Fair in Goddard Park, North Orange. Goodchild has studied bagpipes for 20 years and is also a fiddler and crafter of reeds for pipes.


Miss Marguerite Shannon, of Athol, girls camp director at Camp Wiyaka in Richmond, N.H., was honored by the Athol Council, Camp Fire Girls, Inc. with presentation of the Luther Halsey Gulick award, the highest in Camp Fire. Miss Shannon received the award for serving five years membership in administration, for outstanding service and development and growth of Camp Fire Girls and camping opportunities.

■Industrial jobs have declined in number but employment on the retail level has increased in the Athol-Orange area, according to figures gathered by the Orange-Athol Industrial Development District. In Athol, the number of jobs in industry has dropped by 478 since 1969. At present, industrial employment stands at 2,845 compared to 3,323 in 1969. Industries in Orange show a decrease of 28 jobs, from 1,497 in 1969 to 1,469 at the present time. In the non-industry category, Chamber of Commerce statistics show 26 small businesses have closed in the past 12 years, but this has been offset by 20 new ones, including the two shopping centers, Lord Pond and Mohawk Plazas, both of which house large supermarkets and discount department stores, making more jobs available.

■The wreckage of “Widow Maker,” a converted World War II B-25 light bomber, which crashed at Orange Municipal Airport, killing pilot Roger N. Lopez, 36, of Northfield, has been released by the Federal Aviation Administration to its owner, Yankee Air Club Inc. of Turners Falls.

■Roaring in over Mt. Grace, heavy winds, described by eye-witnesses as a “small twister,” raised havoc in Warwick and Royalston. Hail and heavy rain of short duration accompanied the hurricane-force wind, which uprooted trees and disrupted power and telephone service.

■Army Sergeant First Class Charles O. Johnson, of Royalston, has received the Purple Heart at Fort Dix, N.J., for wounds suffered in Vietnam in action against hostile forces.

■Donelan’s Super Market advertised three jumbo size cantaloupes for $1.00, peaches for 15 cents per pound, sliced bacon for 89 cents per pound, sirloin steak for $1.09 per pound and a 16-ounce jar of Prince spaghetti sauce for 29 cents.

■Mars Bargainland advertised ladies’ brushed nylon waltz gowns for $1.66, skirts for $3.99, boys’ sport shirts for $1.99, men’s and young men’s pocket tee shirts for 59 cents, casual loafers for teens and women for $2.00 per pair, suedine oxfords for men and big boys for $2.00 per pair and boys’ and girls’ hi-rise bikes for $28.88.


Athol lost its traditional calm seconds after fire and factory whistles signaled the end of the global war. Auto horns blared. A huge flag was unfurled across the façade of the Athol YMCA. Main Street was jammed with traffic as every Atholite who could joined his neighbors in unrestrained celebration of the end of war tension and fatigue. Everybody from children to grownups immediately flooded Main Street, particularly at Pequoig Square. The theatre was immediately emptied of its audience.

■Orange responded almost instantly on the word of the end of the war. Streets filled at once with shouting, happy people and with noise of auto horns, fire sirens and fire alarms, cars soon lined the streets with the occupants waiting expectantly for the parade. People drifted up and down the sidewalks greeting each other and falling into animated conversations.

■The 1945 Hole In One contest at the Ellinwood Country Club became history when the time limit expired without last-minute upsets. The mark of 8¾ inches, set by Charles Varisco of Athol, won the $25 War Bond in the men’s division and that of 5 feet, 11 inches, produced by Mrs. Theresa Lange of Athol, won a bond for the same amount in the women’s division. The bonds are given by the Daily News, which sponsored the contest in cooperation with the Ellinwood club.

■Orange Airport proved its worth when a cub plane was forced to land oweing to lack of gasoline. The pilot of the plane, en route from Laconia to Hinsdale, N.H., became lost while dodging a thunderstorm, and after flying over several small towns which he was unable to identify, decided to land on the first likely spot, when he discovered the Orange Airport runways.

■Arthur Floyd, 75, of Orange, was instantly killed at the Water Street railroad crossing when he was struck by a train. He was found at the height of Orange’s victory celebration, when the accident was reported to the police.

■Roy Emery T/5, U.S.A. Postal Service, Italy, talked over the telephone with his mother, Mrs. Luella Emery of Orange, and six other members of the Emery family from Rome. Cpl. Emery says that the strain of waiting to get home is telling on the tempers of the soldiers over there.

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