Renovations to Cranston Property Under Way  
Wednesday, February 22, 2012

WEBSTER ¡X Cranston Print Works Co. has sold its vacant East Webster factory at 2 Worcester Road for $2,750,000, the Sunday Telegram reported in January.

East Village Square, the buyer, probably an LLC to Galaxy developers, reportedly plans to develop the corner, with ramp access to Interstate 395, as a shopping center. Temporary fencing set the parameters of the transaction a couple of weeks ago. Demolition started about the same time by Ronald Bussiere. The demo permit was issued for a storage building at the back of the complex by town building-zoning officer Theodore Tetreault III. It's probably down by now.

Cranston Co., originally with the nation's oldest print plant in Rhode Island, brought production back to the former S. Slater & Sons Co. mill on Jan. 13, 1936, eventually financing the epoch-making event off innards to the print works.

Cranston started with 150 former Slater Co. workers and about 50 others. Twenty men left the Works Progress Administration to return to the Rhode Island-branded mill. The new owners had the savvy and experience to start their new economic engine with an auction.

¡§A sale of (surplus) machinery and more than 2,300 copper rolls netted the company about $60,000,¡¨ a report indicated. There was nothing to say whether the rolls had been engraved. The auction was on St. Patrick's Day in 1939.

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Our son Joel, of Montclair, N.J., was in town with his boys, Alex and David, just before Super Bowl Sunday. Football became the topic, or more specifically the Patriots vs. Giants championship game.
I didn't have much to contribute, so I offered a memory, recalling that the New York Giants once had a couple of halfbacks surnamed Webster and Dudley.

Joel subsequently emailed: ¡§Did some web research on the Giants backfield tandem of Webster and Dudley.

¡§Alexander ¡¥Red' Webster had a great career with the New York Giants, both as a player and head coach. He played for 10 seasons, 1955 to 1964 and twice made the Pro Bowl.¡¨ Another line says Mr. Webster was the Giants head coach from 1964 to 1973.

¡§Paul Eugene Dudley played halfback for the Giants in 1962. He participated in 11 games and had 27 carries for exactly 100 yards.¡¨

The Giants had a great season with a 12-2-0 record in 1962, capturing the National Football League's East Championship, but were defeated for the league title by the Green Bay Packers, 16-7. The Patriots in 1962 were one of the upstart clubs in the old American Football League.

The AFL competed with the NFL, even for draft choices, for the better part of a decade. The leagues merged in 1969. Those of us in Worcester County who grew up from the mid-1940s were mostly Giants fans, mainly because New York had the closest NFL team.

While the Patriots cut into fandom from the beginning, they didn't overtake the Giants in the hearts of many area football followers until the National and American leagues merged. For all of the ink and air time devoted to ¡§the game¡¨ over the last few weeks, there are still some born to the Giants dynasty that switched to the Patriots only over time. I get a ditto here.

I think our grandsons, raised in northern New Jersey, are Giants fans because of proximity, just like I was!

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TelegramTowns had a nice piece by Debbie LaPlaca Feb. 3 about Charlton's William O. Hultgren, an ¡§Images of America¡¨ author, ¡§Worcester 1880-1920.¡¨ The city effort was in concert with Eric J. Salmonson and Frank J. Morrill.

¡§I've got that book,¡¨ Roland Savageau of Oxford declared, bringing it to coffee for comments by all a couple of days later. It's an Arcadia publication, following their highly successful photos formula.

The story gave me a reintroductory line to Mr. Hultgren when he was a prime mover in the restoration of Charlton's historic Rider Tavern.

More than this, Mr. Hultgren was the source to a rather unsettling feature, the destruction of the great many mules brought to Charlton and vicinity before work was terminated on the ill-fated Grand Trunk Railroad. Investors lost their money, men lost their jobs, but the mules lost their purpose. The animals were ¡§walked¡¨ into some deep woods in Charlton and killed.

There's still some visual evidence of the Grand Trunk in this vicinity because the line was designed to run mostly under roadways, meaning some significant cuts in the landscape, such as Dresser Hill Road, Lyons Road, Central Avenue and other places in Dudley, Southbridge and Webster.

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Recently I read the ¡§Eagle,¡¨ newsletter of Webster's St. Joseph's Elementary School. Janet and John Gogolinski are the editors, with contributions from teachers, students and others. It's a well-edited quarterly that says the Gogolinskis know something about publications. A good job!

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Test borings were taken about the Park Avenue School in Webster for the project architects planning a new school at the start of the month.

This suggests that cost formulas are in the works. Knowing what's in the ground is important if requests are going to be submitted for the May town meeting.

-Courtesy Of
Telegram & Gazette

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