All posts by Susan Aprill

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Houses on Summer Street, Kingston, in 1927

Summer Street, 1927

In March 1927, Emily Fuller Drew (seen here in her Tercentenary costume) took these photos of Summer Street, looking south toward the center of Town, just after Town Meeting voted to widen the street.Houses on Summer Street, Kingston, in 1927Houses on Summer Street, Kingston, in 1927 Houses on Summer Street, Kingston, in 1927

Summer Street had been previously straightened and/or widened in 1846, 1856, 1905 and 1922, when a number of very early houses around the Point fell victim to highway work.

This time the casualties were the gracious trees that lined and shaded the street.  Emily wrote “Maples and elms lined our Summer Street in the old days..the green tunnel which was our street before the trees were cut down in 1927, to allow for widening the thorofare. Summer Street was the Boston Road which superseded the Bay Path as a highway from Plymouth to Boston.”

Her cousins Mary W. Drew and Jennie McLauthlen (Kingston’s first librarian) made their position clear in this handbill, but to no avail: the proposal was approved, the street widened, and the trees all taken down.

Handbill about the removal of trees required by a proposed project to widen Summer Street, March 1927

Sources: Photos from the Emily Fuller Drew Collection MC16. Handbill from Vertical Files OC2 “Summer Street.” Additional information from Street Files TOK6 “Summer Street.”

Cover of The Chickenshit Club: Why the Justice Department Fails to Prosecute Executives by Jesse Eisinger

The Chickenshit Club: Why the Justice Department Fails to Prosecute Executives by Jesse Eisinger

Cover of The Chickenshit Club: Why the Justice Department Fails to Prosecute Executives by Jesse Eisinger
It’s a little frustrating. A decade after the financial crisis that nearly demolished the world economy, there has been little if any accountability. Citizens, many victims of essentially criminal acts by huge multinationals, wonder “Why isn’t anyone  going to jail? Isn’t that kind of thing illegal?”

Well, yes, fraud is still illegal, but the Department of Justice doesn’t seem to handle it that way anymore. The Chickenshit Club explores how the DOJ, and the regulators who rely on it for criminal enforcement, changed after successful prosecutions of Enron, WorldCom and other last century harbingers of impending financial doom.

It’s a sad tale of dedicated prosecutors and investigators hemmed in by front office politicians far closer to the center of corporate power than to the people they should serve, losing their edge, their institutional memory, and ultimately, their mission. If you want to know how deferred prosecution agreements and “chump change” fines replace criminal convictions and jail time,  this book has the answers.

Filled with horrifying examples of the revolving door between high powered corporate law firms and high ranking government positions, The Chickenshit Club is an informative read,  but not a very happy one. As Eisinger notes in conclusion, “Any hope for tougher corporate enforcement appears laughably misplaced.” Sigh.

Tura’s Pharmacy

Sometime in the 1870s an apothecary opened on Summer Street in Kingston. It would serve the Kingston community for almost a century and a half, until October 2015, when the doors closed for good.  Stop by this month and see photos and artifacts that tell  the story of Tura’s Pharmacy.

Tura’s Pharmacy, November 1979

Tura’s Pharmacy, November 1979

Vacation

The Local History Room will be closed from July 21 through August 4.

Regatta on Kingston Bay, circa 1905
Regatta on Kingston Bay, circa 1905

If you click on the photo to display a larger size, you may be able to make out what looks like the Bug Light on the horizon on the right side of the the photo (under the black dashed line).

 

Sources: Cyanotype from the Delano Photograph Collection IC11 (scan federally funded 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.

What’s in a name?

There’s a spot in Kingston just west of Exit 9 on Route 3, elevation about 68 feet, which has been long known as Thomas’ Hill.

Area around Thomas' Hill from Kingston GIS, 2016
Area around Thomas’ Hill from Kingston GIS, 2016

[This screen shot is from the Town’s GIS, which is just amazing. Give it a try!]

In her 1933 description of Kingston place names, Emily Fuller Drew tells us that

Colonel Thomas’ Hill is located from the Great Bridge up the slope, going south of the River. This hill was named for the Thomas family whose home was located on the hill.

That’s this house.

John Thomas House, Thomas Hill, 156 Main Street, circa 1900
John Thomas House, Thomas Hill, 156 Main Street, circa 1900

Here’s a view south, up the hill towards the Thomas House, taken from a spot just before the Great Bridge over the Jones River.

Main Street, looking south up Thomas' Hill, circa 1900
Main Street, looking south up Thomas’ Hill, circa 1900

And here are a couple of views looking the opposite way down the hill.

Kingston Village from Col. Thomas' Hill in 1838, reproduced 1975
Kingston Village from Col. Thomas’ Hill in 1838, reproduced 1975

[This wood cut is from this book, originally published in 1839.]

 

Main Street, looking north down Thomas' Hill, 1876
Main Street, looking north down Thomas’ Hill, 1876

And here’s one of indeterminate direction, but with a nice shady feel to it.

Strolling on Thomas' Hill, 1890
Strolling on Thomas’ Hill, 1890

 

These images all bear the description “Thomas’ Hill,” because that’s what’s it’s been called for quite some time.  Now, though, there’s a need to update our shared geographical vocabulary. There’s a whole group of Kingstonians with a completely different point of reference, for whom this area doesn’t relate at all to an 18th century Kingston family or their stately home atop the hill.

Let the historical record now reflect the vernacular alternative: “HoJo Hill.”

 

Kingston-Plymouth Howard Johnson's. Photograph courtesy of Dan Holbrook 2003, via highwayhost.org
Kingston-Plymouth Howard Johnson’s. Photograph courtesy of Dan Holbrook 2003, via highwayhost.org

Here’s more.

 

Source: Jones River Village Historical Society Lantern Slides IC4; LHR Image Collection IC7; Mitchell Toabe Papers MC18; and highwayhost.org.

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

 

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and Good Morning, 1911
Merry Christmas and Good Morning, 1911

From the fabulous Finney postcards comes this touching glimpse of two mischievous vandals and their squirrel sidekick pranking Santa while he naps.

For more Christmas goodness from the Local History Room , see here and here.

 

Source: Joseph Cushman Finney Papers MC11

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