Summer 1961: Memories of 60 years ago

Anita Mance

At the end of summer, we find ourselves looking back on the weeks that went by too quickly. In looking through our copies of the East Rochester Herald of 1961, I found several surprises from those days. 

In June, Larry Weise (ER Class of 1954) was named coach of St. Bonaventure University’s basketball team. Larry had been a high school basketball star and was named to the All-County Five.  

The June 9 newspaper informed us that the Rialto Theater (on the corner of East Elm and Main streets) would be closed for remodeling. Purchased by Allied Theaters, the $30,000 renovations would include new sound and projection equipment and a wider screen. The theater would be renamed the Capri.  

Rialto Theater closed for remodeling, later opening as Capri Theater, circa 1961.

June 16’s paper talked of the dedication of an historical marker at the old schoolhouse on Washington Street. The Public Library announced that the theme for the summer reading program would be “Aloha to Hawaii.”  

In the June 23 paper, we learned that 118 students would be graduating from ER High School.  Barry Tuttle’s Town & Country Musicals announced that the season would open once again at the high school on Woodbine Avenue. The first musical would be  Annie Get Your Gun” starring Jacqueline James, opening on June 26.  

Summer recreation programs at the playgrounds would begin on June 26, with the swimming pool opening June 24. Swimming lessons would be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., with public swimming from 1 to 9 p.m. daily. The pool would be under the guidance of Sherman Reed and John Baynes. 

Highlights for the month of July included the Little League All-Stars winning the Western New York Section V Eastern Championship beating Newark, 12-2. Green Hills Country Club opened in Mendon. The dream of Peter Pataccoli came to fruition with the help of many other ER golfers.  

The July 28 issue of the ER Herald also noted the winners of the Hat Show at Edmund Lyon Park, with prizes given in categories including the smallest, largest, funniest and best homemade. 

August began with the Firemen Parade on Aug. 5. The day started with the Kiddie Parade. Rides were in Edmund Lyon Park. Two band concerts were held that evening: the Webster Band performing in the park and Mike Arena’s band playing music for dancing at the corner of Commercial and Main streets. Later that month, a new dog leash law became policy.  

By the time Labor Day rolled around in September, the swimming pool attendance was recorded as 50,460 people with 227 lessons being given and class attendance at 3,625. It had been a busy summer. 

Anita Mance serves as historian for the town/village of East Rochester.