The sources of information in "Looking Back" include "Williamstown: The First 250 Years: 1953-2003," the archives of the Williamstown Historical Museum, and personal recollections of town residents.
* The lion-like behavior of March weather was starkly displayed 125 years ago this month, when the town set about digging itself out from under "the greatest blizzard ever recorded in these parts." The storm raged for three days, ceasing on March 14, 1888. Four days later, road and rail traffic remained stalled. Four deaths were attributed to the weather and several stores ran out of food. "A few only have crackers left," a resident wrote.
* The passage of 50 years has left largely unchanged the tribulations of a small-town newspaper editor. In March 1963, the editor of the Williamstown News acknowledged in his weekly column the "fun" of the newspaper business, but noted the persistent occurrence of certain problems. Often, wrote the editor, he felt compelled to "apologize for spelling a fellow's name wrong, even though he hasn't been able to spell your name right since you were in high school." The editor was Edward F. Smith.
* Salad bars in public school cafeterias were unheard of in 1963, but menu planners of the day did their best to touch as many nutritional bases as possible.
* Real estate investors of 50 years ago might have been drawn to an advertisement in the Williamstown News for a "2-tenement house, 5 rooms each, sep. heat, one apt. empty." North Adams real estate and mortgage broker Sam Kerson listed the property at $12,500.
* The origins of Williamstown's leash law may be traced to March 1963, when the Selectmen agreed that the "voluntary restraint" of dogs, particularly in the snowy stretches of deer season, had been, in the words of a board member, "a dismal failure." The Selectmen decided to investigate the matter further, with an eye toward instituting more stringent dog-control measures.
* The winter of 1963 saw the destruction by fire of the former Kappa Alpha fraternity house on the north side of Field Park. The Williams Inn now occupies the lot. The ruins of "KA" remained ice-clad for days after the fire, as did the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity house some years earlier. In the DKE fire, firefighters were hampered by an insufficient water supply when the Main Street house burned in January 1959. By 1963, however, the department was equipped with large-capacity, high-pressure pumper trucks and longer and lighter fire hoses.