BRISTOL BITS: Fire at Muzzy Field grandstands remembered years later

Published on Thursday, 11 January 2018 21:35
Written by Bob Montgomery

Jerry Rafaniello sent me an email the other day and included a picture of his grandfather, Tony Rafaniello, one-time caretaker of Muzzy Field, and a copy of The Bristol Press edition of Sept. 13, 1937 with the story about the wooden grandstand fire at the park. Jerry had visited the Fire Museum at the New England Carousel Museum and took a picture of the story that is on display there. The grandstands were completely burned down and this was attributed to a burning cigarette left by someone who attended the West End vs. Brooklyn Dodger football game the day before.

Jerry’s grandfather, who was inducted posthumously into the Bristol Sports Hall of Fame some years back, was a Bristol treasurer. One of the reasons Jerry contacted me was that I recently had his grandfather’s “Builders of Bristol” biography in this newspaper. Jerry said that when the biography was originally written, it stated that his grandfather was 51 when he died in 1959, but it’s the opposite. Tony Rafaniello died at age 59 in 1951.

Mark Redman

While on the topic of the Fire Museum, I’m told that Mark Redman, a retired lieutenant of the Bristol Fire Department, has become active there. Mark, who has had a longtime interest in firefighting and the fire trucks utilized in the occupation down through the years, has written many articles on the subject. Some of those are published in different magazines. I’m sure he’s a welcomed addition to the museum with his knowledge and enthusiasm.

Dave Lepore’s “Hometown”

I’m sure some folks know that when the late Dave Lepore stopped writing his “Hometown” column for this publication, I picked it up when then-editor Bill Sarno suggested the column be named “Bristol Bits.” Anyway, here’s a segment from one of Dave’s entries from 20 years ago:

“A Bristol native is making quite a splash in musical theater. Alex Capirchio is currently appearing as ‘The Tin Man’ in The Beekley Dinner Theater’s Production of the ‘Wizard of Oz’ in Berlin. The final performance is this Saturday.

“Capirchio has appeared as ‘Ginger’ in ‘The Best Little Whore House in Texas,’ ‘Sasha’ in ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’ and has been in a number of other productions. He also has a touring ‘drag show’ called ‘Spice at Night.’”

(Note: I’ve read that Alex has played on Broadway too. I am wondering if any readers know what become of Alex in the past 20 years.)

Kory’s Beach

I’m sure here are many who remember Kory’s Beach from years gone-by. It is now the property of nice homes on Cedar Lake on the northern side. Tony Korytko owned the land and operated the beach, along with his meat market on upper Central Street in Forestville.

I recall going to the beach from time-to-time and once wrote here that my brother, Bill, had worked for Tony at both of his locations. Does anyone have a memory or story of the beach that they’d like to share? If so, contact me as shown at the end of this column.

Did you know?

A lot of Bristol residents are familiar with this, but I thought I’d bring it up for those who didn’t know. Retired Bristol attorney Woody Anderson reminded me in an email yesterday that the 1918 flu epidemic led to the building of Bristol Hospital, which if I’m correct, opened in 1922.

Write to Bob Montgomery, ℅ The Bristol Press, 188 Main St., Bristol, CT 06010. Call 860-973-1808 or email:

Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol on Thursday, 11 January 2018 21:35. Updated: Thursday, 11 January 2018 21:38.