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50 Years Ago October, 1967

By Jim Ignasher

October 1, 1967 marked the 60th anniversary of the Greenville Grange, an organization that promoted community and agriculture.

Henry S. Turner and a group of other influential citizens are credited for the formation of the Greenville Grange which held its first meeting in 1907 in the vestry of the Greenville Baptist Church.

The officers elected at that meeting were: Henry S. Turner, Master; Nicholas S. Winsor, Overseer; Mrs. Henry Eldredge, Lecturer; Thomas K. Winsor, (aka “The Apple King”), Steward; Frank Colwell, Assistant Steward; James Winsor, Chaplain; Mary M. Steere, Treasurer; Mary B. Lamb, Secretary; Frank Grant, Gatekeeper; Mary Barden, Ceres; Lizzie A. Hill, Pomona, Alice Blanchard, Flora; Jennie A. Winsor, Lady Assistant Steward.

The organization initially held its meetings at the church before deciding to utilize the upstairs portion of Wilkinson Hall which once stood across the street from the Baptist Church on the corner of Austin Avenue and Route 44, where a dry cleaners and law office are located today. The first floor or Wilkinson Hall was occupied by the Smithfield Market, but the upper floors were used for meetings and entertainment,

Wilkinson Hall burned to the ground in 1916, necessitating the grange meetings to once again be held in the church. A short time later the Greenville Grange began to hold its meetings in the back room of Tobey’s Store, which once stood on the corner of Route 44 and Smith Avenue, on the site now occupied by Wood Items and More. Tobey’s store burned on January 23, 1924, and was replaced by the brick building that stands today.
In 1939 the Greenville Grange acquired the former Greenville School, a building that dated to 1874, and converted it to a Grange Hall. The school stood on Austin Avenue, just in from Route 44, until the 1980s when it was demolished to make way for new development.

On October 10, 1967, the Grange held an open house party to celebrate the anniversary and invited the public to attend. In preparation of the event, the building had been refurbished and painted. Presiding at the celebration was Master Joseph Connetti.

State Master Woodrow Tucker presented awards to Greenville Grange members for community progress, membership growth, and home economics.

Music was provided by Priscilla Lowell and her orchestra.

On October 3, the Bernon Library, that in 1967 stood at 15 Homestead Ave., and the Esmond Free Public Library, which occupied the former Esmond Recreation Hall at 7 Esmond Street, merged together to form the Esmond Free Public Library Corporation. The name was changed shortly afterwards to the East Smithfield Public Library.

At the time of the merger it was hoped that a new library building could be built within the next three years. Meanwhile, the library would continue to operate at both locations.

Airman 2/C Brian P. McCaffrey of Greenville was home on leave before his deployment to Vietnam.

Airman 1/C Thomas D. Paiva of Esmond was serving with the Air Force Security Police at Tan Son Nhut Air Base in Vietnam.

Lieutenant (j.g.) Warren Manchester was appointed commander of the Smithfield Junior Naval Cadets.

The annual Smithfield Harvest Festival was held at Waterman’s Lake on October 8. Besides the traditional games and rides, entertainment included a trick-motorcycle exhibition performed by New England’s champion rider “Chubby DeCubellis”, as well as a multiple parachute drop by members of the North Central Sky Diving Club.

Square dancing music was performed by Russ King & Co., and dance music for the “younger generation”, (Who would be in their 50s and 60s today.) was provided by a group called “The Pastel Shaydes”. (Their spelling.)

Bryant College, (Now Bryant University), announced that it was going to develop the 220 acre parcel of land on Route 7 it had received as a gift from Earl S. Tupper. One local newspaper reported that the campus would be known as “Tupper Campus on Memory Hill”. (How many knew that? I didn’t.)

The land included several buildings, one being a former aircraft hangar, and the other being the Captain Joseph Mowry House that dates to 1708. The hangar is now gone, but the Mowry House still stands.

36 October 2017

50 Years Ago October, 1967