Looking Back: Computerizing health, limiting liquor stores

Need to find out about a disease or a health-related topic?

That was the question raised in the first paragraph of the lead story in the Jan. 21, 1993, Ridgefield Press. The question pertained to the Ridgefield Library’s new CD-ROM computer, which allowed users to access information they once had to get from other locations.

“Information that you used to have to dial up on a mainframe computer in New York or Washington can be called up on one of the disks,” said Michael Schott, the director of Danbury Hospital’s library.

The Ridgefield Library’s computer was only the third in the Danbury area.

“It has already generated considerable interest among library patrons of all ages,” The Press reported. “Students were using it Monday as they did homework in the library on their day off from school.”

“We’re doing a mid-year project,” ninth grader Aaron Hochberg explained as he did research about children of drug addicts for his health class at Ridgefield High School. “So far I looked up children of drug addicts and it gave me a bunch of different subjects.”

50 years ago

A mansion became a temple on this day 50 years ago.

The Jan. 18, 1968, edition of The Press featured a picture of the former Doubleday house on Peaceable Street that Temple Shearith Israel (known today as Congregation Shir Shalom) announced would become its congregation’s new headquarters.

The home, built in the 1890s by Francis D. Bacon, held several names before becoming a place of worship.

Bacon named it Nutholme, and former owner George Doubleday called it Westmoreland.

It wasn’t the only notable property making headlines that week.

The Press reported that construction of a new elementary school, originally planned to be ready to open in September 1968, wouldn’t be complete until February of the following year.

“Delays in steel deliveries, labor shortages caused by the great amount of industrial and school construction going on in the area, inclement weather and possible union contract renegotiations in April” were cited by school contractor Arthur Canzler as reasons for slowing down progress at Branchville Elementary School.

Elsewhere in town, a petition requesting that zoning regulations limit the spacing of liquor stores made its rounds.

The petition, sponsored by some of the package store owners, aimed to limit the “sale of intoxicating liquors, beer, ale, or win for consumption” to one store within a 1,500-foot radius.

According to Town Planner Bud Williams, the petition had little chance of being adopted.

“He also suggested that the last five words in the petition do not make sense, possibly because of a typing error,” The Press reported.