New Exhibit: Memorial Day

Memorial Day exercises on the Training Green, circa 1943

Memorial Day exercises on the Training Green, circa 1943

Decoration Day, which we now know as Memorial Day, started in 1868.  Kingston’s first documented observance was 1879, with formal Town funding starting in 1881.  Stop by the Library to see photographs of Memorial Day parades dating back over a century.

Source: Mary Hathaway Collection MC21

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

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Rock bowl?

Rock formation in the woods, circa 1925

Rock formation in the woods, circa 1925

Rock formation in the woods, circa 1925

Rock formation in the woods, circa 1925

These two negatives have no accompanying information whatsoever, but the intriguing rock formation may be the result of the glaciers that covered the area about 23,000 years ago, and could well show one of the “punch bowls” Emily Fuller Drew wrote about in her 1933 notes on places around town.

The Punch Bowls have almost disappeared, from the top of Stony Brook Hill. They were of glacial origin, huge bowls or “scouts” in the sandy glacial “dump”. Five of them where located within a short distance of Prouty’s Garage. The largest was where A.S. Parker’s Ice Cream stand is, north of Prouty’s Garage. This was used as a public dump for years, without making much impression on the hollow, then the stumps and trunks of the beautiful elm trees taken from Stony Brook Hill when the highway was “improved” were thrown there, and later material was brought from other place and the great bowl entirely filled in to make the yard which goes with the Parker place.

Two others, twin bowls, stood on the east (right hand) side of Tremont Street, beyond Prouty’s Garage. One of these was filled in, and the new construction caused by the widening and straightening of the road at that point completely obliterated it. The other, not noticeable from the highway because it is masked by a good growth of pine trees, probably still exists. A shallow one is being used as a public dump behind the “Garden of Allah Coffee House”, in the development called “Fort Payne”. The fifth is behind the house of Mr. Charles Childs at the top of Stony Brook Hill. All these Punch Bowls, almost perfect shape, were caused by the swirling of ice and water in the glacial period, of which Kingston has other interesting evidence.

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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Well, well, well, that’s the Point

The Point, at the junction of Main and Summer Streets, 1886

The Point, at the junction of Main and Summer Streets, 1886

One of the many lantern slides collected by Emily Fuller Drew for the Jones River Village Historical Society, this image shows the Point, where Summer Street peals away from Main Street. It was the center of Kingston before the railroad came through.

The index card of Emily’s notes on this slide reads:

20. “The Point,” jct. Main & Summer Sts. 1886

Main Street was formerly the Bridgewater Road; Summer was in early day called the Boston Road. Where they joined or separated, was called the “Point.” The well which was built by Samuel Foster, Benjamin Samson and Joseph Stacey on Mr. Stacey’s land was called the Point Well and, as time went on, the Old Point Well. The Rev. Samuel Glover, minister of the Baptist Society lived at #39. His son Henry was born there. In memory of his early days in Kingston. Mr. Henry Glover in his later and wealthier years, gave the Town of K a drinking fountain for dumb animals to be placed at The Point and a sum of money to maintain it. (Mr. Glover also gave funds for the present Baptist Church and a fund to maintain it.)

Emily’s “#39″ refers not to an address, but to another lantern slide.

Samuel Foster house, 25 Summer Street, 1922

Samuel Foster house, 25 Summer Street, 1922

The corresponding card:

39. Samuel Foster house (front) 1922

In 172_, Samuel Foster bought of Maj. John Bradford a piece of land, part of the Bradford farm, joining the land of John Brewster, #135, and lying on the east side of Boston Road ( Summer St.) Here Foster built a house in which he lived __ years. In 175_, he sold the place to Wrestling Brewster, son of Deacon Wrestling and built a second house, a much larger and more pretentious house, nearer the junction of Green and Summer Streets, the present Harry Cook house (east side of Summer St.).

And, #135 refers to…

135. John Brewster house, Main and Linden Streets, 1922

135. John Brewster house, Main and Linden Streets, 1922

This was one of several houses on Main and Summer Streets that were demolished in the early 1920s…oh, we could follow Emily’s references around for days! But let’s stop there and go back to the Point. The well in the first lantern slide was replaced in 1888 with this public watering trough or as Emily put it, “drinking fountain for dumb animals.”

Henry R. Glover Watering Trough, 1997

Henry R. Glover Watering Trough, 1997

Here’s the benefactor himself, Henry Rogers Glover (1814-1893), “in his later and wealthier years.”

Henry R. Glover, seated portrait, circa 1890

Henry R. Glover, seated portrait, circa 1890

According to his obituary (thanks Cambridge Public Library), he was a manufacturer and wholesale dealer of mattresses and curled hair, and further, “He has always been rich.”

Sources: Jones River Village Historical Society Collection MC29 and Lantern Slides IC4; Mass. Historical Commission MACRIS Digital Photographs IC13

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

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New Old Business: Kingston Wants You!

There’s a lot of talk about Kingston’s business community these days, so here’s a look at efforts 50 years back to bring new business to town.

Published in 1965 by the Industrial Development Commission, this colorful pamphlet lays out the advantages of mid-20th century Kingston: a strategic historic location, efficient town government, fine schools, a well informed public, and more!

Kingston Public Library, Local History Room

Here’s the pdf version of Kingston’s Just Right for Your Plant Site.

Source: Town of Kingston Annual and Miscellaneous Publications TOK3

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

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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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