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History Corner: Looking Waaaay Back…

History Corner: Looking Waaaay Back…

Just as we now have local newspapers printing news of the various organizations in town with special write-ups of this and that so did we have one in the sixties.  Our Town.  It was sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and the Orange Businessmen’s Association.  The Orange Historical Society has two bound books of various months from those wonderful early sixties and below you can sit back and read about the “good ole days” in Orange.

1963

  • January 23: For 10 consecutive years Ellis Bradley and his son from West Haven decorated and provided Christmas lights for the tree on the Green.  The Orange Congregational Church provided the electricity.
  • Joseph Palmieri, building inspector, reported that building permits were down and that only 11 were received totaling $86,000, $76,000 for dwellings.
  • A re-zoning request was deferred for the area around the Firelight Shopping Center due to insufficient data concerning the Farrell family’s home abutting the commercial zone.
  • The police commissioner, Joseph Cummings, asked for a budget increase of $20,000 with a $400 increase across the board for a 16-man force. At the time, a sergeant would receive between $5900.00 and $6300.00 and the chief $7400.00.
  • June 18: Dottie Berger, 4th grade teacher at Mary L. Tracy school, was named principal of Turkey Hill School to be opened in 1964
  • Ralph Capecelatro sought nomination for selectman with the remark from Charles Stokesbury that he would receive unanimous endorsement.
  • July 23: Anthony Giordano sought the nod for 1st Selectman having been on the board of selectman, previously.
  • Zip Codes came to Orange with postmaster Ray Cuzzocreo stressing the importance of the new manner to which the town would send their mail.
  • August 28: Enrollment for the 1962 school year was 1562 with the anticipation that it would rise to 1700 leaving a shortage of 6 classrooms.  It was expected that class sizes would exceed 30 pupils until Turkey Hill was completed.
  • November 19: Sandy Becker, television personality, visited Racebrook School for its Book Fair.  Becker was known for two children’s programs aired on television station WNEW out of New York.
  • Food prices at local markets touted such items as boiled ham $.47/lb., pork chops $.79/lb., Italian sausage $.65/lb., and a package of carrots $.10.

1964

  • January 22: Town Planning & Zoning suspended consideration for any new subdivisions pending seepage testing.  It was stated that the testing must be submitted before any subdivision could be considered.
  • February 19: The Board of Education noted that sidewalks were being considered for children to walk to and from the various schools. It was stated that the number of children using the sidewalks did not out weigh the cost involved with the building, maintenance and crossing guards and that the use of buses throughout town was more efficient.
  • March 18: Asgrow signed a contract for construction of a new headquarters at a cost of $500,000 with 40-50 employees.  The building over-looked a man-made pond on a knoll adjacent to the Wilbur Cross Parkway.  The Asgrow Seed Company had its start in Orange as early as 1856 when the Everett B. Clark Seed Company merged with others to form the Associated Seed Growers.
  • Advertisement: McDouble Hamburger New N Big 28 cents.
  • Peoples Bank opened in the former U.S. Post Office with a colonial theme. The drapes were printed with copies of early American newspapers.
  • April 22: A paper and rag pickup was sponsored by the American Legion.
  • The Board of Selectmen hired a West Hartford firm to sweep the sand from the streets on a trial basis. The cost of $1000-$1500 was being weighed against the purchase of a new sweeper for $12,000.
  • School enrollment made the paper once again with 1782 students and classes beyond 25. Mary L. Tracy School for the grades 1-5 had 30 or more children in each classroom, Racebrook 25 and High Plains over 31.
  • More haggling over property on the Post Road and Old Tavern Road being changed from residential to commercial. I guess with the Post Office, Quizno’s, Dip Top etc. and the commercial properties won that one.
  • June 25: Substitute teacher salary, per diem, increased from $15.00 to $18.00
  • The Fire Department purchased a new truck; Mack Model C85F, 750 GPM Class A Pumper that could pump 750 gallons of water per minute.
  • School Enrollment again and cost per child:

64-65 1840,  $469, 65-66 1955, $490, 66-67 2047 $495, 67-68 2119  $501

  • October 28: A new look came to Route 1 with large signs gracing the entrance to Orange from both Milford and West Haven town lines.  A plan for large orange-colored urns with a small evergreen placed on every property line along the road did not appear to come about.  It was thought that this idea would give a favorable impression of the town.
  • November 24: The Chamber of Commerce was instrumental in getting the State to build the exit and entrance ramps on Marsh Hill Road.  The provision had been made when the highway was built but not installed.  It was thought that the increase in businesses in town would warrant the ramps being created which was to cost $150,000 with the state taking 90% of the burden and the Federal government 10%.
  • Do you know where the Turkey Hill time capsule is buried? Lou Esparo, 6th grade teacher gave his class an opportunity to leave the present for the future.  A capsule was created and with help from the first town engineer, Bob Hiza, it was buried 6 feet into a rocky ledge at the school.

1967

  • January 23: The Town Hall, at a cost of $368,800, was scheduled for completion by April 1 with occupancy by May 1.  The Town Hall was at that time located in the building known as the Academy just down the street.  The Academy now houses the office, research center, museum and antique shop for the Orange Historical Society.
  • Alice Coe, then school dietician, announced the menu for the week at the elementary schools. Sea shell macaroni with tomato sauce, green mixed salad, buttered rolls, gingerbread square with orange sauce, cheeseburgers, oven-fired potatoes, string beans and fruit cocktail, oven fried chicken, buttered rice, sliced carrots, bread and butter, chocolate pudding with whipped cream, chicken and vegetable soup, chicken salad sandwich, cookies and applesauce.  Gee, is it lunchtime yet?
  • March 20: An ad appeared with the headline Housewives $80-$100 a month, 2 hours a day, noon-2p, 5 days a week, Mon-Fri, $2 an hour-and more, No weekends-no catches, Earn while you learn, full rate to start. Apply in person.  Friendly Ice Cream Shop, Sears Shopping Center, Orange, CT
  • December 18: Excellent progress was being made on the construction of the ramps on Marsh Hill Road.  G. DeFelice & Son construction firm from North Haven worked to open the entrances and exits which had added costs to the $350,000 mark to be completed in the spring of 1968.

1968

  • March 4: A new business came to town.  Wolfe’s Bakery was owned by Fred and Bob Wolfe and they were over-whelmed by the percentage of business they experienced.  Known for specialty cakes and fresh breads, this bakery was a staple for menus throughout town.  They were asked, with such wonderful food why they didn’t have a deli section.  Answer?  The “blue” laws at the time did not allow shops to be open on Sunday so that operating such would not be feasible.

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