Wolcott Historical Society History for February 2014
By Florence Goodman
Another year has come to an end and I thank my readers for your support; your input is very important. Our local history is passed down in many ways, but not all of it is documented. If you have a story about Wolcott that you would like to share, please call or email me.
As I began to think about what I might write about this month, I decided to look through some old newspaper articles from our Historical Society archives. I stumbled upon a "whole" page of the Waterbury American newspaper from Friday, March 8, 1963 dedicated to Wolcott news. Two things immediately came to mind; fifty years had passed since these stories were written and a whole page of the paper dedicated to Wolcott. There were also three pictures with stories about our town. The "Worth's" ad also brought back fond memories. This month I will share these stories with you. There was a byline on this page from Mrs. C.H. Tyrrell, who was the Wolcott correspondent for the paper and I'm sure all the stories were researched and written by her. I still remember her calls to our house asking my mom for information about various organizations in which she was involved.
The first story dealt with the Wolcott Congregational Church and its church school enrollment (I believe this was Sunday School). In 1963 the Congregational Church membership was 311 and the church school enrollment was 210. This was compared to other area United Church of Christ churches in the Waterbury area. Wolcott's ratio was 1.34 children enrolled per two adults while the other area churches ranged from .42 to .88. They stated that the Wolcott church had a 75 per cent higher church member-child enrollment ratio than the other area churches and they expected the school enrollment to reach 400 by 1968. They included a picture of one class that was being held in the courtroom of the Town Hall because of insufficient space at the church. They stated that another class was being held in the minister's home and that double sessions (classes at 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.) had not relieved the overcrowding situation. Superintendent Alex Hay and Assistant Superintendent Oliver McLean, Jr. directed the church school, which had twenty-two teachers and four assistants on the school staff.
The next story was titled, "First Bylaws Get Approval Of Democrats." These newly approved bylaws allowed committee members to be elected by a party caucus rather than by a committee itself. There had been much debate over this issue for several months within the party. Those members who spoke in favor of the new bylaws were: Charles LaDue, Edward Wilensky, John Diorio, Dr. Armond P. Forgione, Frank J. Ryan and Frank S. Moore. Those speaking against the change were: Frank Primus, Kenneth Macdonald and Eugene Migliaro. The bylaws were approved by a 78 to 72 vote at a party caucus that was held in Frisbie School auditorium.
Another story discussed the Republican Women's monthly meeting. Mrs. George K. Woodard was president of the Women's Republican Club and the meeting topic was, "The Kerr-Mills Law and Medicare." The speakers were two of Waterbury's prominent physicians, Dr. William J. Beard and Dr. Louis C. Backhus. It was also mentioned that the April meeting topic might be "Detergents- Are They Contaminating our Water Supply?" Included in this article was the news and meeting information for other groups in town which included, Wolcott Girls Recreation, Democratic Women's Club, Junior Women's Club, Fire Company 3 Ways and Means Committee, Little League, who is in dire need of help, the Ladies Company 2 Fire Auxiliary, American Legion Auxiliary, Fire Company 1 Auxiliary and Wolcott Recreation All Star Basketball.
The last two articles were as follows: "PTA To Hear Address On Libraries," and covered the Robert A. Wakelee PTA meeting. They stated that classrooms would be open from 7:30 - 8:00, and a short business meeting would follow. The speaker for the evening from Southern Connecticut State College would discuss, "The Elementary School Library and Its Services." The last article was, "Taxpayers' Unit Urged In Wolcott," which was a communication from James F. Bolan of Wolcott proposing the formation of a third political party in Wolcott. He felt that the town should create a Taxpayer Association, which all voters could belong no matter their party affiliation. He stated, "The idea being that all the people would have an impelling voice on the powers to be, in matters of town affairs." The article concluded with a comment that in the near future an organizational meeting would be held.
Well, it is obvious that life in rural Wolcott was quite different fifty years ago. The stories that filled the newspapers were also unique and I thought it would be fun to reflect on how times have changed. Wishing one and all a Happy, Healthy and Safe 2014.
(Information for this article was taken from the Waterbury American newspaper, March 8, 1963)
Wolcott Volunteer Fire Department Company 3 receives a new truck. "The truck is a C850 Ford-American LaFrance with a 750 GPM twin-flow pump and a 750-gallon booster tank, a 35-foot, three section ladder of aluminum and a 16-foot roof ladder added to cope with taller buildings that are being built throughout town. This truck replaces a 1944 Ford of 500GPM and 100-gallon booster tank. Money was raised through co-operative social activities by firemen and their auxiliary."
Lack of space in the Congregational Church hall caused a class to be in the courtroom at the Town Hall.
"Copy Of College Guide" was the caption for this picture. The Connecticut Bankers Association presented Wolcott High School with this guide, which contained information about college-entrance requirements, costs, scholarships, student-aid services, a listing of colleges and there majors. Pictured from left to right: Nicholas D'Agostino, principal of Wolcott High School, Francis Petrillo, Manager of Wolcott Office of Connecticut National Bank, Miss Mary Hodson, director of Guidance, and Joseph Russo, guidance counselor.
Interesting ads because the styles seem to come back after so many years, but the prices never stop rising. Worth's was a well-known department store in Waterbury. You could enter the store on Bank or South win Streets.
To view past installments of the Wolcott Historical Society News, click here.