Times Past: 25, 50 and 75 years ago

Published: 5/18/2020 3:40:59 PM
Modified: 5/18/2020 3:40:55 PM

Vincent Purple, president of LP Athol Corporation and a bomber pilot with the 3709th Bomber Group Station 117 stationed in Kimbolton, England during World War II, celebrated VE Day by flying the unit’s flag along with Old Glory over the LP Athol building.

John Michalski (retired employee of the Athol Daily News) recently spoke to the fourth-grade students at Silver Lake School. He told of experiences as a prisoner of war during World War II and the Holocaust. Students had just finished reading several books about the Holocaust.

The Athol Police Department has a new $16,649 computer system. Hopefully it will cut down on the time involved in securing background checks and the time needed to book a prisoner or file a report.

The Pleasant Street School Student Council planted a flowering dogwood tree in memory of the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing recently.

Scouts and adults from troop 72, St. Francis Church made and placed 12 wood duck houses around Long Pond in Royalston recently.

History does repeat itself and a second generation of police cadets was organized at the Orange police station. Officers Dan Kimball and Bill Golding reinstituted the Boy Scout Explorer Post that was active in the police department during the 1980s. All youth members are students at Mahar Regional High School. They have taken part in basic training that includes communications, police procedures, use of tracking K-9s, search procedures for lost people and CPR and first aid training.

The Orange Gun Club recently held its annual fishing derby for 210 youngsters of the area.

Concert-goers who once had to drive to Worcester of Fitchburg to get tickets or try to get through jammed phone lines for credit card orders, have reason to celebrate. The new Music Forum at Aubuchon Plaza in Orange is a Ticketmaster outlet.

There will be a Farmers Market this summer in Veterans Park in Orange, sponsored by the Orange Revitalization Partnership. Area farmers will be present every Thursday from 3:30 – 6:30 p.m. to sell produce, flowers and plants. Arts and crafts will be available and occasionally hot dogs, hamburgers and sodas.

Royalston Junior Girl Scout Troop 146 recently participated in a year-end fun day at Otter River State Forest. They waded in Beaman’s Pond and hiked to the location of the five-day camping trip being planned for this summer.


An immunization clinic for diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, measles, mumps and German measles, sponsored by the Athol Board of Health was held in the board rooms at Memorial Building.

More than one-fifth of the first grade in Athol elementary schools will not be promoted to grade two in June. Doris Tappin, elementary supervisor, said students being held in grade one were not ready for school when registered, have worked throughout the year on the kindergarten level and did not perform well in readiness tests administered prior to school entrance.

Fifty volunteers in the Friendly Visitors program designed to rehabilitate homebound persons are ready to accept referrals from physicians and clergymen in the Mt. Grace region. The volunteers will act as social contacts for persons confined to their homes, assisting them in becoming as productive as possible when they return to community life.

Carpenters and masons have been working on the exterior of seven two-story structures in Colonial Acres. At the invitation of the Orange Housing Authority, many persons who have been accepted as tenants in the 56-unit complex have visited the East River Street site to measure for curtains and view the layout of apartments.

A proposal for a ten-classroom addition to Dexter Park School will be presented to a special town meeting by the school facilities committee. The proposed addition would cost the town $247,000, some $43,000 less than the $290,000 estimated cost of renovating Central School.

Orange resident Erwin Stockell’s challenge is the prospect of fulfilling a lifelong ambition: to build a flying automobile. A pilot with more than 35 year’s flight experience, Stockwell retired from Starrett’s in 1969 to devote full time to the project which first took shape in his imagination in 1950. He began constructing an airplane assembly, now nearly complete, in 1963 and hopes to road- and flight-test the apparatus which is perched atop a 1960 Corvair in his garage within two months.

Erving Paper Mills has announced the moving of its art department and staff to the Orange Division of the company on West Main Street.

Twenty-two Wendell Center School children visited the Adell Machine Shop in Orange recently. Arranging the trip was David Gralinski, teacher-principal of the school. He and Mrs. Elsie Diemand, with Mrs. Lois Johnson chaperoned. Tom Sogard, co-owner of the company and father of two of the school children, explained procedures from the receiving room to inspection.


The Athol-Orange area awakened to find several inches of snow covering fruit trees and early gardens, and making highway transportation difficult. The area escaped heavy damage reported from communities north and west of here.

Simultaneously with President Truman’s announcement of victory in Europe, for which many families huddled attentively at their radios, the Athol Fire Department sounded three whistle blasts in significance of the occasion, schools held appropriate exercises and most stores closed for the day.

Pfc. Lawrence Perry, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Perry of Athol, has been wounded in Germany for the second time, according to a report received by the family.

Mr. and Mrs. Luis Berton, of Athol, received word from the War Department that their son, Pvt. 1st Class Leno L. Berton, 19, had been killed in action in Germany on April 13. Pvt. Berton was born in Athol and had completed his junior year at Athol High School before entering the Army, and would have graduated this June.

Two Athol and one Orange Army officers were among a list of Central Massachusetts soldiers reported liberated from German prison camps. Second Lt. Harland S. Thompson and Second Lt. Joseph H. Henchman were those listed from Athol and Second Lt. William J. Waters of Orange was the other man.

Mrs. William Piper, of Orange, has learned through a letter she received from her husband, Staff Sgt. William Piper, that he has been wounded again. He is fighting with the 34th Division somewhere north of Bologna.

The greatest war in history ended with the unconditional surrender of Germany. Joy at the news was tempered only by the realization that the war against Japan remains to be resolved, with many casualties still ahead. The end of the European warfare, greatest, bloodiest and costliest war in human history came after five years, eight months, and six days of strife that overspread the globe.

The OPA was on record with the view that a flood of consumer goods is the best weapon against disastrous inflation in the reconversion period. Record production at low prices and high wages will do more than anything else to “smother the fires of inflation,” said Price Administrator Chester Bowles.

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