Chester Films Program

 Remember home movies?

Thanks to a grant from the Community Foundation of Middlesex County/River View Cemetery Fund, the Chester Historical Society and the Deep River Historical Society have taken decades-old (and never-seen-before) home movies of our towns from film to digital format.

Three of the Chester films will be shown on Sunday, March 24 at 4 p.m. at the Chester Meetinghouse.

From the Centennial film, 1936.

From the Centennial film, 1936.

These include: a film made by Peter Calamari in the mid 1930s that shows businessmen of Chester as well as students at Chester High School and parishioners of St. Joseph’s Church leaving after Palm Sunday mass. You’ll see John Zanardi filling an oil truck, Silvio “Babe” Zanardi cheerfully shoveling coal, and Postmaster Jim Grote (see photo below). You’ll also see Hazel Watrous (Archambault), Arnold Watrous, Anthony “Squint” Bertelli, Anne Dacundo (Hesser) and Theresa Scarpini leaving school.

Jim Grote, Chester postmaster, in front of the post office, then at 1 Main Street. From the 1930s film

Jim Grote, Chester postmaster, in front of the post office, then at 1 Main Street. From the 1930s film

This will be followed by Mr. Calamari’s film of the 1938 Chester Centennial Celebration – a remarkable parade with floats and bands followed by a townwide gathering on the Green and a tea party for the oldest residents of Chester. On one of the floats is a young Shirley Miceli.

The third film was taken by Harry Archambault in the 1950s and features the “Chester Home Day/Dr. Cash Day” on the Meeting House green. Here you’ll see Evelyn Bennett, Mary Jane Watrous, Irma Lanzi, Danny Zanardi and Jake Feinstein among many hundreds more.

The film program, on Sunday, March 24 at 4 p.m., is at the Chester Meetinghouse and includes refreshments. It is free. Come ready to help spot faces and scenes of old Chester!

CFMClogo_LargeW.jpg