Looking Back: Druid fire; A red cap

A fire 25 years ago burned Dario and Francoise Valenzuela’s Druid Lane home, destroying their prized collections — her antique dolls and china, his clocks and music boxes — the Oct. 15, 1992, Ridgefield Press reported.

“I had music boxes, near 45 to 50 boxes, and clocks — I had 18 to 24 clocks, exactly I don’t know — and I had an early French flute organ with 108 pewter flutes that was evaluated at $24,000,” Valenzuela said.

The value of their two collections exceeded that of the house, they said.

Ridgefield police reported that drunk driving arrests had increased from 61 in 1988 to 78 in 1989. The number of “incidents” of all kinds had grown from 17,296 in 1988 to 20,804 in 1991.

Al Trimpert — “a longtime assistant coach in several sports” — was named boys basketball coach at Ridgefield High School, replacing Tom Pardalis, who’d resigned “citing parental interference as his primary reason.”

Radio station WREF won the selectmen’s approval to sublet space on its tower, on town land in the Great Swamp, to “a mobile data communications firm.”

Maxine Rizzo was named Officer of the Year by the Police Commission on the recommendation of Chief Thomas Rotunda — “who calls her ‘Max,’” The Press noted.

In his “Blackwell’s Notes” column, former school board member and Newsweek executive Jim Blackwell challenged Murray Bloom of Accuracy in Media’s statement before the Ridgefield Men’s Club that “The New York Times was ‘a dangerous institution.’

“The New York Times may be many things to many people,” Blackwell wrote, “but is ‘dangerous’ only to those who fear the free discussion of a wide range of ideas.”

50 years ago

The Goodwill Baptist Church was planning its 25th anniversary celebration, the Oct. 12, 1967, Press reported.

“Miss Barbara Ann Sill, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. G. Reed Sill Jr. of Mead Ridge, has been selected by the faculty and seniors of her class at Ridgefield High School to receive the DAR Good Citizen Award.”

Author Richard Lockeridge’s latest mystery was set in a “village called North Wellwood, which seems made up of a combination of outward aspects of Ridgefield and South Salem.” In the novel, “the quiet of the town is disturbed when a prominent attorney, who is a Negro, decides to start an interracial country club.”

St. Stephen’s Oct. 15 Communion Breakfast was scheduled to hear “Ralston Young, better known as ‘Red Cap 42 ’… a railroad redcap in New York Grand Central Station. … He initiated and led a weekly discussion and prayer group for travelers and New Yorkers in an empty railroad coach.”