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Smithfield, RI Weather

50 Years Ago January 1967

By Jim Ignasher

In the beginning of the month it was announced that plans for the soon-to-be-built Apple Valley Mall were proceeding on schedule. The $10-million dollar project being developed by Coutu Enterprises was to have 95 stores, and a 523,000 square foot parking lot capable of accommodating 3,000 cars.

The architect was Lathrop Douglas of New York City.

It was anticipated that the new mall would employ 2,000 people, some of whom might live in the apartment complex-housing development that would be built behind the mall. The new homes would be priced between $25,000 and $35,000.

An old red barn that stood facing Route 44 about where the parking lot of the TJ Max store is today was soon to be torn down.

It was expected that when Route 295 was completed the mall would bring additional business to Smithfield. Perhaps few realized at the time that the Smithfield portion of the new interstate highway was still years away from completion.

On January 6 & 7, the Smithfield Players amateur theatre group performed “You Can’t Take It With You”, a comedic three-act play about a quirky family in New York City. The play opened on Broadway in 1936, and was a great hit. In Smithfield it was performed at the high school.

It was also in this month that A Fistful of Dollars staring Clint Eastwood was released in the United States after having been filmed in Italy.

Williams Texaco of 263 Putnam Pike announced its grand opening and offered free flashlight key chains, as well as certain prizes, which included a bicycle, a radio, toaster, and steam iron.

The Smithfield Boys Club advanced its plans for a recreation area on the club site adjacent to Burgess Field off Pleasant View Avenue in Greenville. The area was to include tennis courts and a baseball diamond, which could be converted into skating rinks in the winter. $5,000 in funding was raised by the club’s directors and corporate sponsors.

Angus Bryant of Mountaindale Road was promoted to Airman First Class in the U.S. Air Force.

PFC Michael D. Quinn of Esmond was serving in the medical corps in Vietnam, stationed at the 8th Field Hospital in Nha Trang.

Airman William R. Garcia, USAF, of Esmond, was selected for technical training at Amarillo Air Force Base in Texas.

Army Specialist 4, Thomas St. Jean of Georgiaville, was home on furlough after being stationed for two years with the 379th Missile Battalion in Gressen, Germany,

Honors Day Ceremonies were held for 7th and 8th graders who obtained a 90 or above grade-point average in all of their classes. Seventh graders recognized included: Patrice Bolton, Marilyn Demaine, Robin McQuiddy, Paula Copobianco, Lauren Haugen, Lorraine Smith, Deborah Crepeau, Ann Marzilli, and Jean Nelson.

Those in the eighth grade were: Michael McQuiddy, David LaGreca, Doris Benson, and Tom Schwartz.

Principal Charles F. Bresnahan, Jr. instituted the program.

Dorothy McCormick of Greenville, and Andrea Giacolo, recently of New Jersey, but now living in Smithfield, were admitted to Junior Girl Scout Troop 360 of Greenville.

The Greenville-Harmony Barbershoppers, under the direction of Robert Jordan, took on new members: Edgar Belaire, Ray Mannarelli, Charles Fogell, Victor Sherring, Edgar and Robert Roy, Francis S. Canning, and Lee Walker.

Ballroom dancing classes were offered at the junior high school under the direction of Robert Spinney of the Anthony Rice Dance Studio. According to one local paper, they were very popular with the students.

On January 18, Albert DeSalvo, the infamous “Boston Strangler” was convicted of various crimes and sentenced to life in prison.

On January 27, NASA’s Apollo 1 spacecraft caught fire on the launch-pad in Florida, killing astronauts Virgil L. “Gus” Grissom, Edward H. White II, and Roger B. Chaffee.

On January 29, a “Kiddies Day” movie show was held at Smithfield High School hosted by the junior class. Admission was 40 cents.