Front page news, 50 years ago


THE RIDGEFIELD PRESS, Nov. 8, 1962 — The post-election Press a half century ago carried the election results that offered few surprises. Republican Ridgefield voted Republican. Among those elected was Romeo G. Petroni as state representative — his picture is in the middle of the trio. Mr. Petroni was also the town attorney (story at upper left is about a ruling he’d made) and went on to become a state senator, a probate judge, ran for Congress and for governor, and finally became a Superior Court judge (Oddly enough, he was nominated to the Superior Court by the man he would have run against for governor, Democrat William O’Neill.)  On Sunday, Judge Petroni, who now lives in Madison, will return to his native town to speak at Veterans Day ceremonies. To the right of him in the pictures is Probate Judge Reed F. Shields (Shields Lane in town is named for him) and at the left, State Rep. John Kelly. Back then, Ridgefield had two state representatives. Mr. Kelly was a retired commander of the Connecticut State Police. Note that back then, the nation was still in the “atomic war” mode, and Civil Defense (CD) was making sure locals could tell if we were getting too much radioactivity (nowadays, people seem worried more about the Indian Point atomic power station radiating them). “Kane” was Robert Kane of the Kane Funeral Home, who was active in the fire department. Back then, the Board of Finance was appointed by the selectmen, not elected by the voters. Appointments that year included Theodore H. Coogan (of the Coogan’s Bluff family) and William H. Casey (of the Casey Fuel/Energy family). A story at the bottom of the page notes that Dr. Francis W. Langstroth had died in his retirement home in Florida. Langstroth Drive, which extends from George Washington Highway to Sophia Drive, is named for Dr. Langstroth, whose farm became the Scodon subdivision, which includes that road. Dr. Langstroth, who had been a physician on Long Island, came to Ridgefield in 1922, buying a 79-acre farm. He did not practice medicine here and for most of his days was retired, although he did raise Irish setters. He was a frequent speaker at town meetings and would sometimes deliver “fiery” orations, according to one old timer. While here he married Sophia Langstroth, for whom Sophia Drive is named.

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