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What we did in February 2015

The Library Building Study Committee was not able to meet in February because of the barrage of storms, but we did hold our February 7th focus group, attended by a lively group of 15 residents. We heard many ideas for what the group treasures about the current building and wants to see in the future building. Others who could not attend gave us their ideas by email and in person. It is not too late to submit your ideas. We’ll keep refining the plan over the next year.

The first draft of the Building Program is nearly complete.

We worked with the Town Administrator and Town Counsel to create a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for an Owner’s Project Manager, a building professional who will look out for the Town’s interests when we begin working with an architect to create schematic designs and cost estimates from the Building Program.

What we did in March 2015

The Building Program is nearly complete. The first draft was sent to the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners for review, and we are now finishing up the revisions.

We have issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for an Owner’s Project Manager and conducted a walk-through of the building with four interested firms. Responses to the RFQ are due on April 16th, and will be reviewed the next day by an Ad Hoc Library Building Review Committee set up by the Town Administrator. We will schedule interviews with the finalists.

The Owner’s Project Manager will help us select and hire an architect, help make sure the project stays on track, meets all legal requirements, and stays true to the Building Program.

In the meantime, we have begun work on an RFQ for an architect. The architect’s job will be to review the Building Program, evaluate the current library building and location, determine whether the current location is the best place for the library, and whether the current building can be remodeled to meet the issues identified in the Building Program. Based on that information, the architect will create schematic designs and cost estimates.

What we did in January 2015

The library director and building consultant continued work on the Building Program. The Library Building Study Committee worked on plans for a focus group to be held on February 7th, specifically about the library building. The Committee also visited public libraries in Mashpee and Falmouth to interview the library staff there about what works and doesn’t work in their buildings.

Library director Sia Stewart held four focus groups at the middle school and high school. One of the interesting revelations was that most of the students expressed a preference for reading physical books, especially when they need to focus. Since then, we’ve seen several studies of reading preferences among students, and we find that Kingston students are no exception. Lots of students still prefer physical books, and we know from experience that many adults do as well. We’ll make sure to include plenty of shelf space for print books in our Building Program.

The Strategic Planning Committee held its third and final meeting to review a set of draft goals based on what we heard from the community. The library director and staff will turn these into an action plan for the next five years. The Building Program incorporates the mission and goals.

What we did in December 2014

We continued work on the Building Program.

We worked with the librarians at the Silver Lake Regional High School and Middle Schools to plan student focus groups, to be held in January.

Library director Sia Stewart and Trustee Vanessa Verkade attended Library Journal’s Design Institute, an annual conference held at various locations around the country and attended by library and design professionals from all over the globe. This year, the Institute was held at the Boston Public Library.

The Kingston Public Library’s building study project was chosen as a “design challenge” for which we worked with the Boston design firm OudensEllo on three possible scenarios for the future Kingston Public Library building. The scenarios were discussed and critiqued in a group session of conference attendees, and we came away with some great ideas. We also got a preview of the fabulous renovations at the Boston Public Library, and we strongly urge you to visit!

What we did in November 2014

In November the Library Building Study Committee and library staff worked with our building consultant to compile community and library data that would become part of the Building Program. The consultant interviewed library staff, gathered statistics, and spoke with the Town Planner to get an overview of town projects, plans, and standards. We also held a second community forum on November 22nd at which 15 residents gave us their priorities for library services. We toured public libraries in Hanover, Abington, and Duxbury to gather ideas for our library building.

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.