Taking a look back over 25 and 50 years


50 years ago

A man named Ellsworth Panos was still on the loose after climbing a 10-foot wall and escaping from the Plymouth House of Correction the previous Saturday while the guard was briefly distracted, according to the July 11, 1968, Old Colony Memorial. A passing motorist on Obery Street notified police when he noticed a man wearing prison garb. The previous April, Panos leaped from a deputy’s car taking him from Brockton to the jail but hounds and a helicopter flushed him out of the woods hours later. He was facing a charge of nighttime breaking and entering and larceny from a building.

A paid political notice in the paper by the Wallace Campaign of Montgomery, Alabama, invited the public to see and hear George C. Wallace in person July 12 at the Garibaldi Hall on Castle Street in North Plymouth. Admission and entertainment were to be free. Wallace, former governor of Alabama, was running in the presidential election as a candidate for the American Independent Party.

The Kingston Unitarian Church had an ad in the paper for its July 13 “Side-Walk Book Fayre” on Main Street in Kingston. Everything from antique silver to books for less than 10 cents would be for sale, and other features included a snack bar and horse-drawn carriage rides all through the town.

Plymouth Aero Club planned to sponsor its third annual air show July 28 at Plymouth Airport. It would include parachute jumps, aerobatic performances, spot landing contest, demonstrations of helicopters and gliders, an antique auto show, radio controlled model plane demos and even a parade through the streets of Plymouth.

Mary Ferreira, 61, of North Carver, was injured when her home was flattened by a gas explosion the previous Thursday, but had been released from Jordan Hospital after being treated for severe lacerations on the back and minor abrasions. An 85-gallon propane gas outside her home provided fuel for the kitchen range and floor heater. She and her daughter, Lorraine Collins, 25, had been washing dishes in the kitchen of the six-room bungalow when the explosion occurred. Collins crawled to the aid of her mother, who was pinned down by the overturned refrigerator. Fire officials determined that a leak in the propane gas tank piping caused gas to collect and the gas was accidentally ignited. The total loss was estimated at $18,000 and the explosion destroyed the house and all furnishings.


25 years ago

The July 8, 1993, Old Colony Memorial reported that the July 3, 1993, celebrations and bonfires at White Horse Beach had been relatively peaceful. One participant recalled the 1991 event “resembled a riot more than a celebration” with a crowd estimated at more than 7,000 and more than 50 arrests. Arrests had dropped to 13 the previous year’s July 3. Police had closed off the entire White Horse and Priscilla Beach areas to vehicle travel and limited the number of bonfire permits issued by the fire department. In 1993 there were four arrests among a crowed estimated at 5,000.

At the July 4 fireworks at Stephens Field, a 23-year-old man was burned on the chest when a falling piece of cardboard debris used as a shell casing for a firework landed on him. He had been seated a couple hundred feet away from where the fireworks were being ignited. He suffered slight burns but refused medical treatment.

The previous Friday, an officer heard loud banging sounds from an abandoned old military museum on Court Street and arrested two men and a woman for trying to steal copper piping. All three pleaded innocent. Patrolman Larry Rooney had found the three standing next to a white car with its trunk open. In the trunk he noticed copper piping rolled up and duct taped together as well as a hacksaw and pipe cutter. Inside the building, copper piping was partially torn from heating vents along the floor. Copper piping usually sold for about $2 a foot.

Officials from Siberia toured the county jail the previous month. Siberian Police Chief Anatoly Chernov explained to Plymouth County Sheriff Peter Flynn, “We feel the need to back off, to change from our image as being heavy in military force,” and said their purpose was to “ask you how you do things over here.” To the officials’ surprise, Flynn replied, “I think we need to adopt your system. I think we have gone too far as being lenient on criminals. We could toughen up.” Chernov said the major crimes in his region were break-ins and robberies. Murder and drug use were climbing but still considered rare.