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“Dick’s Dispatch”

Dick’s Dispatch Now Online

Richard E. “Dick” Venus (1915-2006), a native son and Ridgefield’s first town historian, wrote 366 “Dick’s Dispatch” columns for The Ridgefield Press between March 13, 1982, and Nov. 16, 1989. They focus mostly on the people of the first half of the 20th Century and the events and places that were part of their lives. They are valuable to researchers and readers alike in not only providing an incredible collection of information on hundreds of people, but also as a light-hearted, in-depth look at life in a small Connecticut town, especially in the first third of the 20th Century, but up to and including World War II.

Columns 1 through 25

In which Dick describes the north end of Main Street, where he grew up as boy, Joe’s Corner, Titicus, and the people who lived along North Salem Road out to Lake Mamanasco, including the Scotland district.

Columns 26 through 50

In which Dick describes Titicus, the Titicus Store, more lower North Salem Road people, Joe’s Corner and the fatal accident, house moving with horses, the village train station and freight depot, the fatal train wreck, and early Italian families, especially the Carbonis.

Columns 51 through 75

In which Dick describes Bailey Avenue families and businesses, spending much time on Alex “Lick” Santini, the grain elevator, Black families, more Italian clans, Coleman’s Lunch Wagon, horses, fire engines, the Town Hall, and the Bailey Avenue or Center School.

Columns 76 through 100

In which Dick describes old post offices, the Todd farm in lower Ridgebury, early voting machines, more on the Town Hall including its jail, hobos and tramps, great snow storms and dealing with them, Masonic Hall, and the sad story of Harvey Lown, the tax collector who went to prison.

Columns 101 through 125

In which Dick describes his and others’ farming experiences, especially at Waldee Farm, the Reginald Lewis estate, moving the Oreneca Inn, the old Odd Fellows Hall, early circuses and American Indian shows, and Harry Thomas, the famous village blacksmith.

Columns 126 through 150

In which Dick continues his series on blacksmith Harry Thomas, discusses Christmas long ago, Sperry’s livery stable, and H.B. Anderson and his Port of Missing Men resort, and then delves into the grand Upagenstit estate of Frederic and Mary Lewis on West Lane.

Columns 151 through 175 NEW 10-11-2022

In which Dick begins a series of profiles of the mansions on High Ridge and the people who owned them, with a focus on Dr. Royal Van Etten who owned the Dutton mansion and earlier, Hillscroft Farm on St. Johns Road, where Dick had been estate superintendent.

Columns 176 through 200 NEW 10-11-2022

In which Dick continues his series on Dr. Van Etten and Hillscroft Farm, then resumes tales of the the great estates on High Ridge and on Peaceable Street, including Ward Acres.

More to come

We will continue to post more of Dick Venus’s columns here as they become digitized.