Newtown news of 25, 50, 75 and 100 years ago, from the files of The Newtown Bee....Read Full Article
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January 1, 1993
A CHANGE FOR THE BEE. An editorial appeared in this space on November 14, 1958, in which The Bee compared itself to an old and trusty automobile. Editor Paul S. Smith wrote: “Some years ago, sales of Dodge automobiles were promoted with the slogan, ‘No yearly models — just constant improvement.’ The Bee has no such slogan, but it does strive for constant improvement.” This observation was part of the explanation for The Bee’s decision to change its format from eight columns to nine columns, which reflected a trend for more and narrower columns set by the dailies in the 50s. Other papers have transformed themselves several times since, while The Bee’s basic format, nine-columns, has stayed the same for 35 years. This week, we are changing back to an eight-column format and trimming the width of the paper by a half inch. In the 116 years since its first issue in 1877, The Bee has changed format only five times.
While walking through the woods near Boggs Hill Road recently, young Evan Graves, 10, stumbled upon a strange spherical object partially buried in the soil. Looking down, he spotted a matte-finish, slotted sleigh bell, which when shaken produces warm sonorous tones. “Sometimes, I just walk out there,” said Evan, of finding the bell near Hattertown Road. Patty, his mother, explained that the bell is in use as a holiday ornament. In the past, logging was done in the area where Evan found the bell. Mrs Graves suggested that perhaps the bell fell from a sawyer’s team of horses as it traveled through the woods.
Five years ago, Matthew and Scott Pessoni told their parents they would like a special Christmas present — a $120 Fisher-Price black and white video camera — even if it was the only gift they could have. Their parents agreed, and today the eighth graders are much in demand at the Middle School for recording school activities. “They didn’t know we were going to get into it this much,” said Matthew, waving a hand toward a homemade studio — a bank of television screens, speakers, tape decks and computers. Most of the equipment, they pointed out, were throw-aways they refurbished to meet their needs. The two have also held garage sales and done dog sitting to raise some money for their studio, and have received some gifts.
As work progresses on the town’s new swimming pool at Treadwell Park, questions have been raised on whether work there has followed proper construction practices. An anonymous letter sent to several town officials raises a variety of questions about the construction project. The technical questions largely concern whether construction is proceeding properly in light of cold winter conditions. Joe Murphy Jr, of Pools by Murphy and Sons, Inc of Durham, the subcontractor building the pool, said December 28, “The consensus of opinion is that it’s [a letter] from a disgruntled competitor. Despite the letters the town fathers feel they’re in good hands,” he said. A previous unsigned letter raised other concerns about the project. Mr Murphy said that if the person or persons making the claims would identify themselves, he would refute the claims. Those making the charges aren’t very familiar with pool construction techniques, he said. Building official Alan Brinley said he believes that construction workers were maintaining proper temperatures at the site while building the pool.
When Edmond Town Hall opens for business on January 4, 1993, a familiar face will be missing from the town clerk’s office. After working half a day on December 31, Gladys Eddy is retiring after 26 years as an assistant town clerk. She began in 1966 and has worked for four town clerks — Barbara Parker, Mae Schmidle, Betty Smith, and Cindy Curtis. In 1966 Ms Eddy was one of two part-time assistant clerks. In 1967 she became the first full-time assistant town clerk. She was originally asked to work by Barbara Parker, a neighbor.
January 10, 1968
At 12:13 am on Tuesday, January 9, Trooper Peterson on routine patrol spotted a fire at the 1875 House of Fine Liquors, at Church Hill Road and I-84, Newtown. It was reported to the State Police Barracks in Ridgefield and transmitted to the Newtown Fire Dispatch Center. Hook and Ladder Company Chief Lee Glover ordered a second alarm, which brought Sandy Hook Volunteer Company to the scene. Chief Glover called the Highway Department for sand due to icing. The temperature, as registered on the thermometer at the gas station next door, was 15 degrees below zero. The building was completely involved from the cellar to the roof when the first firemen arrived. It was a stubborn, smoky blaze, which hampered firemen as much as the extreme cold. One Sandy Hook firemen was slightly injured by falling on the ice. Damage to the building was heavy. The inside was completely gutted. Probable cause of the fire was a defective chimney.
Within the last week, many of the creche figures have been stolen from the front of Trinity Episcopal Church. They are hand painted, of exterior plywood, and were completely redesigned this year. Would anyone knowing of their location, or finding any of these figures, please call or relent and return them to Trinity church. Some of the figures are five feet long and of little use to anyone but Trinity.
Senior Staff Nurse Miss Mary Nolan reported to the Visiting Nurse Association Board of Directors at its January 2 meeting, that the Hospital Cost Commission has approved a revised charge of $6.81 per visit for Welfare patients. This charge is contingent to a person’s ability to pay, in accordance with long-standing VNA policy. Staff nurses made 160 visits in December on 41 cases.
Twenty nationalities were represented at the international dinner at Stratford Hall in Fairfield Hills, January 5, arranged by a group known as Friends from Abroad. The party was to honor those Newtown families who have “adopted” foreign doctors and their families at the hospital. The hospital families had made an impressive variety of dishes from many different countries. Friends from Abroad was started two years ago with the purpose of interested townspeople to extend informal hospitality to the foreign doctors and their families at Fairfield Hills Hospital. The doctors come here from all parts of the world for their psychiatric training.
Mrs J.V. Blomquist, president, announces that the next meeting of the Hawley School PTA will be Tuesday, January 16, at Hawley School at 7:30 pm. The admission will be “One Dad Plus His Offspring.” So kids, tell your dad you would like a night out with him. Come dressed in comfortable clothes and wear sneakers.
January 8, 1943
Perhaps there is no qualification more needed at the present time than a proper sense of values. This is especially true in the case of those OPA individuals who are imposing the present restrictions of rationing on a willing, submissive and abused general public. There obviously have been gross errors in judgment which have caused much of the crippling curb on food, heat, and travel. These errors will come to light later on, for murder always will out. Meanwhile, it is up to everyone, from top rationer to the most hampered individual, to determine by a comparison of values what curbs are necessary and what sacrifices should be made. For we are all willing to give our shirts to win the war — provided giving shirts will do it.
Word has been received from Pfc Samuel Nezvesky that he has arrived safely somewhere in Africa. Pfc Nezvesky is the son of Mr and Mrs Abraham Nezvesky of Huntingtown. In one of his letters he requested that his family send him a copy of The Bee.
Despite the inevitable delays created by the holiday season, bad weather, and limitations on travel, things are moving forward with the new Observation Post tower. Through the kindness of Jerome Jackson, the revised plans and specifications have been finished and blue printed and are now available to builders for bids. First Selectman Stanley J. Blackman has started preliminary work on the site and if weather permits, the new post should soon be visible above the village. One night recently the Newtown post was alerted by Mitchell Field and asked to be on the watch for two planes lost in a snow storm. In addition to the two observers on the post, six others were called in various parts of town and they kept watch on their own hilltops until it was reasonably certain that the lost planes were not in this vicinity. A couple of midnight hours spent in the snow and wind gives one a healthy respect for the men in the planes who are doing the real job, and depending on posts such as ours to give them the support they need.
The editor of The Bee has been pleased to receive a postcard from Staff Sergeant Ernest Graupner of the Housatonic Farms, Southbury, who is now in service, sending “Greetings from somewhere in Africa.” The card was written on December 2 and friends will be interested to know of this recent word from him.
Miss Jeanne Smith, who is a student at Sargent College in Boston, recently returned to her studies, after spending Christmas vacation with her parents, Mr and Mrs Harold F. Smith of South Center district.
January 4, 1918
A man about 56 years old, giving the name Joseph Mattellatt, has been committed to the Connecticut Hospital in Middletown. Mattellatt has been wandering through Woodbury, Roxbury, and Brookfield for years making his stopping places in old barns. He was a frequent applicant for something to eat at houses he passed, his universal request: “Eat. 10 cents.” Selectmen’s attention was called to the man by Edgar T. Andrews, and Sheriff Beers was instructed to gather him in. But this was no easy task, for Mattellatt succeeded in giving the sheriff and others the slip. Early in the week he came to the house of Mr Andrews, but before Andrews could stop him he was out and going down the road. Mr Andrews jumped into a sleigh and took a man with him and started pursuit. When Andrews came up on Mattellatt, he said, “Jump in the sleigh.” The man declined but Andrews persisted. Whereupon he struck out at Edgar with a wicked looking railroad spike. Andrews dodged back but got a slight blow near his nose. Andrews got into action then and landed the man one and with the aid of his hired man put him into the sleigh and covered him with blankets and started toward Sandy Hook. On the way he met Sheriff Beers who slipped some steel ribbons on the would-be pugilist. Once in Middletown and properly fed and clothed, he may get the wandering bug out of his head. The man talks about mythical bank deposits he owns. Perhaps he has ‘em and perhaps not.
REPORT OF THE SUNSHINE BRANCH IN SANDY HOOK: Standing upon the threshold of a new “Sunshine” year and before entering therein, we pause to look over the year gone by, picking up the threads along the way and weaving them into a record of our work, which if not perfect, we hope has not been in vain. It has been a strenuous year of work in every branch. The dreadful war upon us calls for busy workers all the time. With constant demand upon our resources, we have not been idle.
Mr and Mrs Clarence L. Beardsley of New Haven motored to Newtown, New Year’s Day, taking luncheon with Mr Beardsley’s parents, Mr and Mrs C.F. Beardsley.
J. Gallagher filled his ice house last week, cutting the product around Fabric Fire Co.’s pond
Miss Helen Kilbride of Woodbury returned to her school duties after 10 days’ vacation with her grandmother, Mrs John Kilbride, of the Glen.
Please consider sharing your old photographs of people and places from Newtown or Sandy Hook with readers. Images can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, or brought to the office at 5 Church Hill Road to be scanned. When submitting photographs, please identify as many people as possible, the location, and the approximate date.