Times Past: Jan. 13, 2021

  • “Smoky joins parade” is the title of this old parade photo of an Athol Fire Department truck. File photo

Published: 1/13/2021 3:58:07 PM
Modified: 1/13/2021 3:58:01 PM

The “Blizzard of ’96” rolled into the North Quabbin region with snow, sub-freezing temperatures and high winds. Schools are closed throughout the nine town region and across the state, with many businesses announcing shift closings or delayed openings. Town roads are passable in Athol and Orange, but highway superintendents said roadways are getting narrower with each storm. The major problem now is finding a place to put it all. Depths of up to 18 inches were reported in area towns.

■Performers from the Spoof Gabbling Circus entertained the over 250 attendees at Athol’s First Night celebration at the YMCA sponsored by the local Girl Scouts.

■M. David Goldsher, 70, former proprietor of Goldsher’s Clothing, Inc., a long time Athol business, died at home following a lengthy battle with multiple sclerosis.

■Two former local ballplayers and coaches, Vic Colo of Orange and Mike Dube of Sturbridge, formerly of Athol, will be inducted in the Massachusetts Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame next month. Colo was varsity baseball coach at Mahar for 24 years from 1968-1992, chalking up 267 wins and 201 losses. Dube (a standout at Athol High School in five sports) accumulated a 140-72 record in 10 years with only two losing seasons as a varsity baseball coach at Tantasqua High School.

■Parents in Orange and their elementary school children took advantage of the blockbuster snowstorms to enjoy an afternoon of sledding at Dexter Park School. The event was organized by the Parental Involvement Committee, sponsored by the Executive Office of Education.

■An alternative education program — classes held from 2-7 p.m., for students chronically disruptive in regular classes — was outlined at a Mahar Discipline Sub-Committee meeting. It may be implemented in September if funding is approved.

■Enthralled by 7,700 pounds of slippery, seafaring mammal, thousands of whale fans turned out to welcome the unpaid star of “Free Willy” to a spacious new home in captivity. The ailing killer whale named Keiko arrived at the Oregon Coast Aquarium after a plane trip from a Mexico amusement park. Families, some chanting “Keiko, Keiko,” came from hundreds of miles around to stand behind barricades and greet the orca as he arrived at a new home built for him with $7 million in donations from around the world.


Athol is one of three towns in Worcester County that showed a decrease in population over the past 10 years, according to the report of the U.S. Bureau of the Census made public in Washington, D.C. recently. Orange, in neighboring Franklin County, shows a similar decrease.

■The fire department will seek an estimated $60,000 at the annual town meeting for a new 100-foot aerial ladder truck, Fire Chief Armand J. Dugas said. He said a new truck is needed to replace the present 65-foot ladder truck which has been in use 30 years and has reached its limit of life expectancy. The present truck has served the town well, Dugas said, but its ladders are becoming dangerous to use and parts are difficult to obtain.

■An estimated 100 rock enthusiasts attended the second concert presented by the Depot Teen Council in the Depot, youth center. Music was by the “New Appian Way,” a newly formed rock group comprised of Steve Chiasson, Keith Gale, Mike Hume, Bob Brazeau, Peter Lawrence, Mike O’Hara and Bob Gullage, manager.

■Air Force Sgt. Francis P. Farley. Jr., son of Mr. and Mrs. Francis P. Farley Sr., of Athol, has arrived at Cam Rahn Bay, Vietnam, for a tour of duty as a survival equipment specialist. A graduate of Athol High School, Sgt. Farley attended Mount Wachusett Community College, Gardner, prior to enlistment in January 1969.

■Army Pfc. Howard W. Thompson, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Cummings of Orange, will be assigned to Vietnam after reporting to Fort Dix, N.J. A 1969 graduate of Mahar Regional High School, he entered the Army in May 1970.

■Fire of undetermined origin set off a sprinkler alarm in a back room of the Adell Corporation in Orange. Firemen said the fire apparently started in the ceiling. The company, which makes metal stampings, is owned by Thomas Sogard of Wendell and Fred Johnson of Orange. Business was carried on as usual according to a spokesman for the company.

■Woodward’s Drug Store in Orange Square has been sold to Northfield Pharmacy, Inc. Donald Woodward, of Orange, has operated the pharmacy at its present location for the past five years, after moving in March 1966 from the Putnam block which was torn down. Woodward will work for the new owners.


Marked improvement in the attendance of students following a wave of mumps and respiratory ailments was noted by School Superintendent William A. Spooner, who said that absences averaged “about normal for winter” with 337 out. Dr. Marion Bowker Sibley, Board of Health clerk, said that cases of mumps have run into several hundred during the past few weeks, but that Athol is comparatively free from other communicable diseases.

■The Athol School Board at a meeting held following the annual dinner, served by the Home Economics Department under Miss Isabel Alden, at the High School building, heard a report on the progress of hockey this winter by Harold Chaplin of the sub-committee on athletics. He states that some 22 high school players have turned out, as interested in the continuance of hockey as a school sport, and it was hoped to be able to compete the schedule and play this winter.

■One of the least known U.S. services in the recent war, and yet one of the most important, is the Counter Intelligence Corps of the Army. An Athol man, Sgt. John F. Hamilton, who entered this service in May 1943 and continued in it up to his recent discharge, has lately returned to Athol with his wife. In May 1943 he became an agent and investigator just before being ordered overseas. He was first at Casablanca and Algiers in Africa, as well as Oran. Much of the work then was tied up with anti-sabotage activity as well as espionage. One of the highlights at this point was being one of a five-man guard of Winston Churchill when he visited that area.

■The Orange UNO Presentation Committee reported progress in gaining support for the Orange-Quabbin area as a permanent site for the United Nations headquarters. Members of the committee went to Boston to confer again with Miss Elizabeth Herlihy, chairman of the State Planning Board, which is preparing a Massachusetts brochure of possible UNO sites in the State.

■Motion picture shows will begin at the Orange Town Hall Theatre. Robert Mathieu, manager of the theater, is a resident of Winchendon, a graduate of Murdock High School and Holy Cross College. He served three years in Africa and Italy with the U.S. Army. His father, Joseph Mathieu, operates a chain of 10 theaters with which the Orange theater will be affiliated. Shows will be presented daily.

E-Edition & Local Ads


athol forecast

Most Popular

Heywood Hospital nationally recognized as a Best Maternity Care Hospital by Newsw

Social Media

Athol Daily News

14 Hope Street,
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Telephone: (413) 772-0261
FAX (413) 772-2906


Copyright © 2020 by Newspapers of Massachusetts, Inc.