Election returns

March Meeting, 1820

March Meeting, 1820

Here are the returns from 1820.  Kingston’s 2015 town election is this Saturday, April 25. Be sure to vote!

Source: Town House Attic Collection MC27 6.13

For more, visit the Kingston Public Library, and the Local History Room, and the full blog at piqueoftheweek.wordpress.com.

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Garage

Garage, 66-68 Summer Street, circa 1925

Garage, 66-68 Summer Street, circa 1925

This is one of those with little information attached; we have only what’s depicted in the image.  It looks like it may have been taken between 1920, when the garage was built, and 1925, when the Fire Department moved the Surprise Hose Company in.

The building at right was the second train station at the Old Colony Railroad’s Kingston stop. It was moved sometime around 1890 to the spot shown here, used as a laundry, then demolished in the early 1960s.

 

Source: Loring Photographs IC15 

For more, visit the Kingston Public Library, and the Local History Room, and the full blog at piqueoftheweek.wordpress.com.

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Warmer weather’s coming (soon, we hope!)

Town wharf on the Jones River at the foot of River Street, circa 1925

Town wharf on the Jones River at the foot of River Street, circa 1925

Time to scrape the barnacles off the hulls, check the lines and gear, and get the fleet ready for the season!

Source: Emily Fuller Drew Collection MC16

 

For more, visit the Kingston Public Library, and the Local History Room, and the full blog at piqueoftheweek.wordpress.com.

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“This place will suit you.” Kingston’s first hotel, 1854-1970

We’ve got a new exhibit in the Library lobby. Stop by and take a look.

Patuxet House, circa 1870

Patuxet House, circa 1870

The spot where the Kingston Public Library stands was once the site of Kingston’s first hotel, built in 1854, just nine years after the Old Colony Railroad first chugged through town. Former boarding house proprietor Josiah Cushman bought the land from Spencer Cushman, and immediately borrowed $1500 from the seller to finance the building. Josiah ran the hotel, known as the Patuxet House, for the next 25 years, until another of his creditors, merchant Henry K. Keith (listed in the 1888 publication Twenty Thousand Rich New Englanders), took over the property, though Keith did not run the Inn himself.

Kingston Inn, Flag Day 1915

Kingston Inn, Flag Day 1915

Sometime around 1900, the hotel’s name had changed to either the Hotel Kingston or, the better known Kingston Inn. In 1921, right in the thick of Prohibition, crime struck. The double-crossing rum runner murder happened after hotel proprietor Richard Rowland (or Roland) ordered 26 cases of illegal Scotch from a well-known bootlegger. According to the Boston Globe, “Rowland had a good market for liquor at the Kingston Inn,” which had a reputation as a sporting house with a regular dice game, but he didn’t want to pay for the booze. Rowland plotted with two local thugs to fake a robbery in the hotel garage, but the bootlegger fought back and his driver, Edward Cardinal aka Eddie Gardner, was gunned down. The bootlegger escaped with the liquor, and Rowland, “the debonair blond gambler,” was eventually convicted of manslaughter, but his accomplices were never caught.

Kingston Inn, Keith House and World War I monument, circa 1930

Kingston Inn, Keith House and World War I monument, circa 1930

By 1927, the hotel was known Bay View Inn, and served as the grand prize in a raffle advertised by the Plymouth chapter of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. The brochure described the Inn’s

“28 rooms, including reception parlor, one large and three small dining rooms, hotel office and billiard parlor. It is situated on over 1 acre of land and the beautiful trees and lawns add to the enhancing surroundings. In addition to the main Hotel, there is a 20-car garage, with a cement floor, with an accessory store and office included in the buildings.”

For reasons unknown, the raffle never happened. The Inn sat empty and changed hands a few times until 1953, when Coley and Lillian Mae Hayes bought the property. Originally from Georgia, the couple worked together as chauffeur/butler and housekeeper/cook in the 1930s and 1940s in private homes around New York City and Boston. Between 1933 and 1941, they spent summers at Twin Oaks, the Duxbury camp they owned with Lillian’s two sisters and their husbands. The camp was a great success among its African-American clientele, but when one of the sisters died, another took over, and the Hayes went back to private employment, until 1953 when they bought the Kingston Inn.

Guests on the lawn of the Kingston Inn, circa 1960

Guests on the lawn of the Kingston Inn, circa 1960

The Hayes advertised in publications like Ebony and the Amsterdam News, and focused on African-American vacationers from Boston, New York and Philadelphia. The promotional materials produced during the Hayes’s tenure emphasized the near-by sights of Plymouth, the delights of Cape Cod, and the comfortable family atmosphere at the Kingston Inn, where “you don’t have to dress for dinner.” Coley Hayes ran the Inn until his death in 1966; Lillian appears to have predeceased him, though her death date isn’t known. In 1970, Hayes’ executor sold the vacant hotel to New England Telephone, which razed the building and constructed the long-distance equipment facility, which eventually became the Kingston Public Library in 1995.

Kingston Inn giant postcard, circa 1960

Kingston Inn giant postcard, circa 1960

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The last Presidents Day (this December)

Signatures from out Presidential letters

Signatures from out Presidential letters

Tomorrow, December 30, is the last Presidents Day here at the Library.  We’ve had our letters from Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John Quincy Adams and  Thomas Jefferson (who apparently didn’t have a middle name) on display for a few selected day this month, but this is the last time for a while.

They’ll still be here afterwards, of course, but in the dark and cool of the Local History Room, for safekeeping. Stop by and see them tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

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File under: What the…?

Lungmotor letter, circa 1920

Lungmotor letter, circa 1920

 

Okay, it’s a business pitch to the Board of Selectmen, but what exactly  is a lungmotor?

Our friends at the Library of Congress can help!

Lungmotor, [between ca. 1910 and ca. 1915]

Lungmotor, [between ca. 1910 and ca. 1915]

If you need to know more about the Lungmotor (like I did), the Boston company put out a whole book on their product. Popular Science reported on a special motorcycle squad with Lungmotor-equipped sidecars in Chicago. And finally, according to this, screenwriter Rube Goldberg picked the Lung Motor as the favored resuscitation apparatus in the big-screen debut of Three Stooges.

Now, that’s an endorsement that should have made the pitch letter.

 

 

Source: Town House Attic II TOK5, “Health”  Digitized glass plate negative from the Library of Congress: catalog record here.

 

For more, visit the Kingston Public Library, and the Local History Room, and the full blog at piqueoftheweek.wordpress.com.

 

 

 

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Evergreen Cemetery Pond

Evergreen Cemetery Pond, 1876

Evergreen Cemetery Pond, 1876

 

84. Evergreen Cemetery Pond, 1876

Naturally a damp, spring spot. When cemetery was planned [in 1853], the spot was drained and curbed as shown. Later the pines were cut down or broke down from winter ice, and the spot was landscaped. Mr. Edgar Reed gave the granite seat on the north side of the pond.

 

Source: Text from Emily Fuller Drew’s lantern slide card file; image from Jones River Village Historical Society Lantern Slides IC4.  Scanned with LSTA funds through the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners and digitized at the Boston Public Library in conjunction with the Digital Commonwealth)

 

For more, visit the Kingston Public Library, and the Local History Room, and the full blog at piqueoftheweek.wordpress.com.

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Saturday’s cemetery tour postponed

The tour of Evergreen Cemetery planned by the Jones River Village Historical Society for this Saturday, October 4, has been postponed.

As a small consolation, here are few interesting tombstones, headstones, gravestones, or as the Thesaurus of Graphic Materials from the Library of Congress would have it, Tombs & sepulchral monuments from Kingston’s Old Burying Ground.

 

Priscilla Wiswall   June 3, 1724

Priscilla Wiswall June 3, 1724

Lydia Drew  Dec. 27, 1800

Lydia Drew Dec. 27, 1800

Sarah Sever  Aug. 25, 1756

Sarah Sever Aug. 25, 1756

William Drew  May 10,1795

William Drew May 10,1795

Peleg Wadsworth  Feb. 24, 1790

Peleg Wadsworth Feb. 24, 1790

Henry Davis  May 10, 1802

Henry Davis May 10, 1802

Sarah B. Loring  July 12, 1851

Sarah B. Loring July 12, 1851

Charles Littel  July 25, 1724

Charles Littel July 25, 1724

A different Charles Little lies here.

 

Source: Jones River Village Historical Society Lantern Slides IC4.  Scanned with LSTA funds through the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners and digitized at the Boston Public Library in conjunction with the Digital Commonwealth)

 

For more, visit the Kingston Public Library, and the Local History Room, and the full blog at piqueoftheweek.wordpress.com.

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Dam!

The Elm Street dam may go the way of its upstream relative, the dam at Triphammer Falls just off Wapping Road, which was removed in 2011.  The question of dam removal is a complex one, made doubly so in Kingston and other New England towns by the age of many of the dams.

To find out more about the issue, take a look at the FAQ and other information about dam removals posted by American Rivers, a non-profit focused restoration and conservation of rivers across the country; and at the Dam and Seawall Repair or Removal Fund run by Massachusetts’ Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

Here are some photographs of the Elm Street dam when it was new, sometime in the 1920s.

The new Elm Street dam, circa 1925, by E. Bird

The new Elm Street dam, circa 1925, by E. Bird

The new Elm Street dam, circa 1925, by E. Bird

The new Elm Street dam, circa 1925, by E. Bird

The new Elm Street dam, circa 1925, by E. Bird

The new Elm Street dam, circa 1925, by E. Bird

The new Elm Street dam, circa 1925, by E. Bird

The new Elm Street dam, circa 1925, by E. Bird

 

 

Source: Emily Fuller Drew Collection MC16.  Negatives scanned with LSTA funds through the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners and digitized at the Boston Public Library in conjunction with the Digital Commonwealth)

 

For more, visit the Kingston Public Library, and the Local History Room, and the full blog at piqueoftheweek.wordpress.com.

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Happy Blog-a-versary, with bonus maps

This blog started six years ago this  week with this post.  Thanks for reading!

And it’s a great time to announce a new page Maps of Kingston on the Local History Room Online site, which (as the clever title suggests) has links to a nice bunch of maps of Kingston from 1795 to 1903.  Click on a thumbnail to open or download a pdf copy of a map.

There are either originals or copies in the LHR of these maps, but in some cases,  the images are also linked to terrific online collections like the State Library’s Real Estate Atlases and the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library.

Village detail from the “Map of Plymouth County," Henry Francis Walling. 1857

Village detail from the “Map of Plymouth County,”
Henry Francis Walling. 1857

In the case of this 1857 wall map, the LHR has this detail and the full Town depiction only; these pieces were found in a local flea market after someone cut up the map!  If you’d like to see the whole thing in person, we’re lucky to have a beautiful copy of the full map hanging in the Selectmen’s Office over in the Town Hall.

 

Source: Maps OC3

 

For more, visit the Kingston Public Library, and the Local History Room, and the full blog at piqueoftheweek.wordpress.com.

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