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92-year-old Arthur Knapp recently was honored in a ceremony as Bradley's oldest resident, receiving the Boston Post Cane.
The Boston Post Cane honor dates back to 1909 when the publisher of the Boston Post newspaper sent canes to 700 towns in New England, to be presented to the oldest male citizen of each community, with it to be upon death handed down to the next oldest citizen of the town. Women were made eligible as well for the award in 1930.
You could safely say small town life has been to Knapp's liking- he's lived in Bradley his entire life. Born in 1925, he lived on Cram Street while growing up. He married his wife, Alvena, who grew up on French Island, in 1943, joining the US Navy that same year. Following three years in the service (with additional time served in 1951-52 in the Air Guard), he returned home, and he and his wife built their home on Main Street in Bradley in 1946, where they've lived ever since; the couple recently celebrated their 74th anniversary.
"Everything I wanted was right here. I never wanted to go any place else. We liked small town life," said Knapp during a visit at his home last week. "We did do a lot of camping around New England when we were younger, and we had a summer camp on Chemo Pond. That was enough time away from home for us. Bradley has changed some over the years, but it's still a nice, quiet place."
Knapp made a career of working at the Old Town mill, working at jobs including pulp tester, timekeeper and in the office. He retired after 41 years on the job there. He and Alvena raised two daughters; the couple now also has six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus and VFW, bowled a lot and golfed.
"It's been a good life. I'm still feeling pretty good for my age," said Knapp.
"Pretty good" may be an understatement. Knapp still takes care of his property, which has a neatly manicured lawn and a home in sound shape. He drives himself everywhere, and still golfs-five days a week.
"There's a whole group of us who goes. I don't walk the course like I used to, but I'm still a pretty good golfer."
When asked his secrets to a long life, Knapp acknowledged genes may have played a part in it-his mother lived to 93-but adds there are other factors.
"I believe in eating well and getting exercise," he said. "And don't smoke. I did for several years, but quit back in 1962."
Knapp added that he was honored to receive the Boston Post Cane. "I really didn't think I was the oldest person in town. But now that I know I am, I intend to be that person for a while longer," he said.