A lovely little launch

George Shiverick aboard
George Shiverick aboard “Alice,” his personal launch named for his wife, date unknown

Yes, the Local History Room is full of old stuff, but sometimes we get new old stuff, new to us anyway.  One of our recent accessions is a small trove of photographs, most not well identified, of boats built by George W. Shiverick in his shop on the Jones River. This unique collection was donated by Shiverick’s grand-daughter.

This particular snapshot stands out because it’s labeled in the hand of former Frederic C. Adams Librarian Ethel J. Shiverick (George’s daughter-in-law, in case you didn’t know) as follows:

Geo. W. Shiverick aboard “Alice,” personal boat, named for wife. EJS

We have so few paper fragments of this legendary boat-builder’s life and work, that a photo of him in his very own boat is just special.

Source: George W. Shiverick Collection AC8

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.

Name the Town of Kingston’s new boat!

Kingston’s Town Administrator wrote yesterday

As many of you know, the town is awaiting a new Harbormaster Patrol Boat, which is estimated to arrive around July 17th, and perhaps sooner. This purchase was authorized at this year’s special town meeting.

The Board of Selectmen have offered a “contest” to name the boat for the town.  The person who submits the name chosen will be given a maiden voyage around Kingston Harbor on the boat, along with family and/or friends to the maximum allowed on the boat.

So, please submit your entries to me with a copy to Laurie, and pass along the info on this contest to others in your department, and/or in the town!

Here are some possibilities from the Local History Room. Submit your own to the Town Administrator’s office (see here for how to)

Chesperus, owned by Chester Fuller (or possibly his talking dog).

Chester Fuller and dog aboard the 'Chesperus,' 1898
Chester Fuller and dog aboard the ‘Chesperus,’ 1898

Arteola, owned by Charles Drew, in a photo from Old Home Day, 1908.

Arteola, at Delano's Wharf, 1908
Arteola, at Delano’s Wharf, 1908

Matchless owned by Captain James (or John) Drew.

Matchless, by William Ames, 1890
Matchless, by William Ames, 1890

Tiger, the only steamer built in Kingston, built by Edward Ransom in 1898, owned by him, A.J.Hill, C.A. Ransom and Henry S. West.

Steamer Tiger, 1898
Steamer Tiger, 1898

Kittiwake V, built by George Shiverick for Henry M. Jones.

Kittiwake V, 1905. Photo by N. L. Stebbins Photo, Boston, Mass.
Kittiwake V, 1905. Photo by N. L. Stebbins Photo, Boston, Mass.

Herculean, built in 1839 by Joseph and Horace Holmes, owned by Joseph Holmes.

Ship Herculean of Kingston, Benjamin Cook, Master, 1840

Ship Herculean of Kingston, Benjamin Cook, Master, 1840

The 7 foot figure head weighed in at 800 pounds, heavy enough to cause the ship to leak. It was repurposed as a garden statue, where it stood among the shrubs for many years.

Figurehead of the ship Herculean, no date
Figurehead of the ship Herculean, no date

Finally, though there is no painting or photo, Independence, for the very first ship of the U.S. Navy, built in Kingston and seen here on the Town Seal, designed by Helen Foster.

Kingston Town Seal
Kingston Town Seal

 

Lonesome train on a lonesome track

Train crossing the Jones River, no date
Train crossing the Jones River, no date

Without a date, it’s hard to know if this train belonged to the Old Colony Rail Road, or the Old Colony and Fall River, or the Old Colony and Newport (you can imagine that Fall River was a little peeved when that happened), or the New York, New Haven and Hartford, or some other corporate conglomerate name for the railroad that ran through Kingston starting in 1845.  It is the bridge that crosses the Jones River, so it is at least fixed in place.

For National Poetry Month: “A-sailing Down Jones River”

Sailboat on the water, no date
Sailboat on the water, no date

A-sailing Down Jones River

Do you recall one night in June,
When sailing down Jones River,
We listened to the Bullfrog’s tune
And watched the moonbeams quiver?
I oft since then have watched the moon
But never, love, ah never, never,
Can I forget that night in June
While sailing down Jones River.
Can I forget that night in June
While sailing down Jones River.
Can I forget that night in June
While sailing down Jones River.
Can I forget that night in June
And the moonlight on Jones River

Our boat went drifting toward the Bay,
By the wharves along the river,
Those old, old wharves where the good ships lay,
In the days now gone forever.
The busy hum of toil is o’er;
On the ways no ships were standing, standing
Holmes, Cushman, Bartlett, Drew, were gone;
All silent lay The Landing.
Can I forget that night in June
When sailing down Jones River?
Can I forget that Bullfrog’s tune
And the moonlight on Jones River?

Catherine Drew Russell

It was customary in earlier days for boating parties in the river or out into the Bay, to drift and sing. Moonlight parties were especially popular. Popular tunes of the day were often sung with original words, like the above, following the general idea of the song but adapted to the mood of the party. Miss Russell was very apt at impromptu rhyming and this is one of the songs composed at the time and recalled in later years. We used the song with its original music at the meeting of the Jones River Village Club, when Miss Russell gave her Musical Reminiscences of Kingston, with different members assisting in the vocal and instrumental examples. E.F.D. [Emily Fuller Drew]

Sources: IC-11 Delano Photograph Collection; PC-36 Poetry

Landscape

View across the Jones River from Rocky Nook, undated
View across the Jones River from Rocky Nook, undated

 

There are a number of similar views in the Local History Room collections, captured by the anonymous eye of an unknown photographer, but this one stood out today.  The sweep of the land, the curves of the river, the angle of railroad bridge, the scattered buildings at the waterside and up on the hill, and one solitary sailboat are now a moment fixed in time here, yet long gone.