BRISTOL BITS: Plane crash witnesses recall the scene from the late 1940s

bristol bits plane crash witnesses recall the scene from the late 1940s - BRISTOL BITS: Plane crash witnesses recall the scene from the late 1940s

I received a phone call from Daniel Totire on Monday saying that he witnessed the plane crash in the late 1940s that I wrote about in Monday’s column. Dan, 91, recalls being between 12-14 years old at the time and living on Marjorie Street. He said he saw that the plane was in trouble and was heading to the former Bristol Airport, but over ran it, landing across the street.

“I saw him (the pilot) parachute out and The Bristol Press wrote that he said he ‘ruined the plane,’” Totire said. The Army plane “crossed the street into the farm. It was headed for Windsor Locks.”

Clarence Bradshaw, 77, was standing in his yard when the plane was coming over South Mountain, leaving a trail of smoke. It then came down in a loud nose-dive after going over a tree line. He saw a mushroom cloud, but hadn’t heard it crash. After his father came home from work that afternoon, they went over to the crash site. One house was badly destroyed while a couple of others were singed by the flames. There was a big hole in the street and they saw a tire leftover from the crash and that was after a clean-up crew began working the area.

Audrey Totire

I also received an email from Daniel’s daughter, Audrey, who told me that her father remembers the Flood of ’55, Hurricane of ’38, and when the school kids were let out of school to view the famed Hindenburg in 1937 when it passed over the area. The next day it was destroyed.

Audrey, among other memories, recalled Buff Road, which became her family’s cul-de-sac. It was named as such, according to Audrey, after a cat that a woman who lived there owned.

The Cherry City

Bristol was first known as the Bell City, because of New Departure’s manufacturing and later Mum City when the former Bristol Nurseries became known worldwide for the variety of chrysanthemums they produced. Prior to the Bell City, Bristol could possibly have been known as the Cherry City.

Clockmaker Gideon Roberts (1749-1813) traveled by horse selling clocks he made and this took him to Pennsylvania. While there, he came across cherry pits and brought them back and planted them on his property on Fall Mountain. They became quite popular here and were in demand after he started sharing the cherries he grew from his trees with friends and neighbors. The wood from the cherry trees were also used in making his clock cases.

Cherry Street here was named as such in 1911 because of Roberts’ cherry trees. I read somewhere his original trees are no longer alive.


Richard Rich celebrates today and Lori DeFillippi tomorrow.

Bristol Bits Rewind 2009 (10 years ago)

When John Breen retired from the Bristol Post Office 25 years ago, he organized a monthly breakfast for his fellow post office friends. They began meeting at the Golden Key Restaurant, where Dunkin’ Donuts is now on the corner of Center and North Main streets. They are now meeting at the Applewood on Farmington Avenue.

Those at the last meeting, besides John, were Normand Riquier, Bill Davilio, Carol and John Yuschak, Dewey O’Dell, Normand Bisaillon, Guy Morneau, Jim Danis, Eileen “Chip” Cenci, Lou Kempton, Mastafa Chavis, Angelo Papapietro, “Tooti” Carlson and Jim Pennito.

The Bristol Lions Club had friends coax Bev Strong to attend a gathering at Nuchie’s Restaurant while not telling her she was the “person of the day” at the dinner. Bev was given a surprise party, being the club’s first female member of the organization, joining 18 years prior.

“I was surprised,” Bev said. “They told me to get dressed for the evening, but that was all.”

Contact Bob Montgomery at or by calling 860-973-1808.

Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol on Tuesday, 25 June 2019 20:24. Updated: Tuesday, 25 June 2019 20:26.

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