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50 Years ago DECEMBER,1969

U. S. Marine Corps Sergeant Wilfred L. Noiseux of Esmond was honorably discharged and returned home after serving two-and-a-half years in Vietnam with the 3rd Marine Division.

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PFC Allen H. Uttley of Greenville was home on a14-day furlough.

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On November 29 a fire broke out at the Greenville Grange Hall which was located on Austin Avenue just in from Putnam Pike. Thanks to the quick actions by firemen the building was saved, but it had suffered significant damage to its interior.

The building had once been a school, and one item of historical interest that was rescued while flames still threatened the structure was the large bronze school bell still hanging in the belfry.

While it served as a school, classes for grades 1 – 4 were held on the first floor, and grades 5 – 8 were held on the second. The classrooms were heated with wood stoves.

Graduations were simple affairs as the classes seldom numbered more than five or six. The school closed when the William Windsor School on Route 44 opened in the 1930s.

The former Grange Hall remained standing into the early 1980s before giving way to “progress”. Today a row of small businesses occupies the land.

As for the historic school bell, it has survived, and is today displayed at the Winfield Funeral Home in Greenville. If one looks closely at the bottom rim they will notice a few chips – “battle damage” suffered during its rescue as it was dragged from the fire.

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On December 12 the Reservoir Rangers Drum and Bugle Corps held their third annual Christmas party at the Balfour-Cole American Legion Post. Sixty members of the corps and their parents attended.

Two DJ’s, Jim Pride, and Mike Sands, from radio station WICE broadcast their show live from the party, and gave away twelve long playing records, (Known as “LPs” in the 1960s) as prizes.

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On December 13 several inches of snow fell over the area, clinging to trees and creating a “winter wonderland” lending to the look of Christmas.

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On December 14 the town held two events in celebration of the Christmas Season. The first was the annual tree lighting ceremony held at 4:45 P.M. on the Greenville Common where a Nativity had been erected by the Apple Blossom Club. The program included short addresses by church leaders from St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Greenville Baptist Church, and St. Philips Catholic Church, followed by Christmas carols and refreshments. The tree was lit by Senator F. Monroe Allen.

The second event was held at 7 P.M. at the Town Hall which had been decorated with lights and wreaths, as well as a Nativity on the front lawn. Santa arrived on the back of a Georgiaville fire truck and distributed small gifts to children while adults sang Christmas carols and enjoyed refreshments.

Both events had been timed so that citizens from both sides of town could attend each of them.

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A meeting of Slack’s Pond residents was held where it was voted that the name of their association be changed from the Blue Gill Derby Association to the Slacks Reservoir Improvement Association.

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Bryant College, (Now Bryant University), unveiled its plans for the new Tupper Campus to be built on “Memory Hill” on Douglas Pike. The public was invited to view architectural drawings and models of the Unistructure and dormitories that were to be constructed.

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On December 19 and 20, the Smithfield Drama Club presented “Kaleidoscope 70”, a song and dance variety show, at the Smithfield High School.

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On the night of December 24th, NORAD radar control reported tracking a strange aerial object circling the globe while stopping briefly at every home. Military jets were scrambled to intercept and identify, but the mysterious aeronaut seemed to keep one step ahead, and was never sighted. One doesn’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to solve this X-File.

Merry Christmas.!