Historical records matching Elmer Allen Rounds
About Elmer Allen Rounds
Copyright Providence Journal/Evening Bulletin Apr 15, 2001
- The flagpole at a Bristol intersection now bears the name of the man who tended it for more than 40 years.
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BRISTOL - The flagpole stands in the middle of a grassy triangle at the crossroads of a tiny neighborhood.
For more than 40 years, one man was responsible for the American flag that still flaps in the wind 20 feet above the ground.
It greets people entering the area and provides a landmark for visitors following directions. But for residents, it also represents a man who had his own quiet way of uniting their households.
When Elmer A. Rounds moved to the neighborhood in 1952, he quickly took to the task of tending the traffic island yards from his house. He would mow the lawn, trim the shrubs, and care for the flag every day.
Yesterday just two days short of the one-year anniversary of his death his neighbors, friends, and the town honored him by naming the flagpole at the intersection of Beach Road and Cliff Drive in his memory.
The 10-minute ceremony was led by the 62-year-old Beach Terrace Improvement Association a group that once had Rounds as its president.
One of his daughters, Helen C. Barboza who is now superintendent of the Bristol-Warren Regional School District said that caring for the flag was part of his daily routine.
"Family, neighborhood, church. That was his world and that was good enough," she said.
Most of the residents here grew up in the neighborhood, and they still wave to each other as they pass. Several moved away, but ended up returning a few years later. They can still point to the house where they were raised just a few doors down from their current home.
"It's a neighborhood where people don't leave," explains John R. Cambra, the association's president.
He points down the block to Narragansett Bay, and several residents talk about how the group used to own a dock and a boardwalk at the beach.
In the winter, Rounds would keep the boardwalk on his lawn. His garage was full of the neighborhood's old newspapers, which he constantly collected to pay for paint for the boardwalk.
Rounds who died at the age of 85 was a lifelong Bristol resident and had been a foreman at the former Kaiser Aluminum plant. Before that, he worked at the former U.S. Rubber Co.
"Everybody knew him in town. Half the town worked for him at one time," said his widow, Rhea I. Rounds, 81. "They were the biggest places in town. Everybody worked there at one time."
Every morning, residents heading to work would wave and toot their horns as they passed Rounds.
Less than a year before his death, Rounds handed over the flag duty to John F. McKenna, the secretary-treasurer of the association. A few years earlier, the town had taken over mowing the lawn and trimming the bushes.
The flag no longer comes down every night.
"I'm not as faithful as he was, but I keep an eye on it," McKenna said. "If the weather is going to be bad, I'm going to take it down."
After the ceremony, Rhea Rounds invited everyone, 26 people, into her home for coffee and snacks.
"It was nice to know that all the neighbors remembered him and were thankful for all the things he did over the years," she said. "It was a nice tribute."
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- ROUNDS OF APPLAUSE: Family members Andrew Rounds, Rhea Rounds and Tina Barboza, all of Bristol, applaud after a ceremony in honor of Elmer Rounds at the flagpole named in his honor yesterday at the intersection of Beach Road and Cliff Drive.