Looking Back: New traffic sign, Belgian guest

Love was in the air in the Feb. 11, 1993, Ridgefield Press.

Dorothy Daddona, owner of Jenni’s Hallmark, reported that she had replenished Valentine’s Day cards Monday to make sure last-minute shoppers could get a good selection.

“She anticipated selling about 18,000 cards this year,” the newspaper reported.

Ridgefield welcomed a new postmaster, William Gutelius, to town that week. No time to celebrate, though — he already faced a challenge!

“March 20 marks Ridgefield post office’s bicentennial and he’s working on a way to commemorate the event,” The Press said.

“Two hundred years is too important to go unnoticed,’” said Gutelius, who formerly served as postmaster in Katonah. “I’m going to have to talk to the first selectman about that.”

Crossing over the board was a “significant transfer” — and promotion, according to Gutelius.

“I’ve known for years that Ridgefield was a thriving, relatively quickly growing town,” he said to the paper. “I knew it had a handsome post office with an excellent reputation.”

A new three-way stop sign at the intersection of East Ridge Road and Governor Street received a big front-page picture — and a nice, splashy headline, “New traffic sign stops confusion.”

Hank Williams, president of STOP Inc. of Holmes Road, donated the new traffic sign as part of a pilot program to test if such signs alleviated confusion at intersections.

“Knowing if another driver has the right-of-way is of the utmost importance in preventing accidents,” Williams said.

50 years ago

Voters didn’t express much fervor at a Feb. 2, 1968, public meeting over a piece of Ridgebury land that cost the town $350,000.

The Press reported that the Lippolt property purchase was unanimously approved, and not one out of the 80 residents in attendance voiced disapproval — maybe because the meeting was held on a Friday night.

“The 560-acre tract will be used for open space and recreation,” The Press reported in the Feb. 8, 1968, newspaper the following week.

“It consists of about 25 parcels acquired during the 1930s by the late Otto H. Lippolt.”

Who’s ready for a barefoot walk in the park? The Ridgefield Workshop for the Performing Arts appeared to be that week, when it announced the dates of its spring production, “Barefoot in the Park.” Perhaps the only time in The Press’s history, six sets of bare feet were printed on the front page — toes a-wiggling.

The image must have been quite something for Ridgefield’s special foreign guest, Worshipful Charles Wagemans, grand master of the Grand Lodge in Belgium. He was arriving in town as part of an event at the Jerusalem Lodge No. 49 on Main Street.

“A dinner in his honor will be given by the Lodge at Fox Hill preceding the special communication,” The Press said. “All Masons in the area are invited to attend. …

“Mr. Wagemans will be in this country to attend the conference of Grand Masters in Washington, D.C., the week of Feb. 18.”