All posts by Sharon Pietryka

About Sharon Pietryka

Archivist at the Kingston Public Library

A foul fowl?

Sometimes you come across an image that really makes you wish someone had written a caption. Here is one such photo.

With Delano’s Wharf in the background, we know that the photo was taken on the edge of Kingston Bay. The man stooped over the water resembles Charlie Delano (1837 – 1903) who fished and clammed in the area. But what is he doing with that bird? Catching it? Releasing it? Giving it a rinse? Added to the puzzle are the expectant looks from the four by-standers to the left.

Any ideas?

 

Source: Image from the Delano Photograph Collection (IC11).

Great Bridge

The Great Bridge, or the bridge over Main Street (Route 3A) where the road intersects with Brook Street, did not receive its name because of its architectural significance, but because it carried the Great Road, running from Plymouth to Boston, over the Jones River.

The early history of this bridge and its predecessors is noted in the Town’s Annual Report from 1895. (These Annual Reports are great sources of information about Kingston’s history. We have a set here at the library if you’d like to check them out.) The yearly recap about the Great Bridge is as follows (phrases bolded for emphasis only in this post):

Horatio Adams, Alexander Holmes, and Azel H. Sampson were chosen a committee to make the alterations in the highway near the Great Bridge, ordered by the County Commissioners upon petition of George B. Thomas, and others, and a new arch bridge has been substituted for the arch and flat covered bridges, equal in construction and workmanship to any stone structure in this part of the State. As there has been some controversy over the history of the bridges built over the river at this place at different periods, the following may be interesting to some of our people: The first bridge was a wooden structure, and was built in 1715. This existed until 1825, when, at a town meeting held May 2nd, it was voted, “That a committee of five persons be chosen with authority to contract in behalf of the town for a new bridge to be built where the Boston Road crosses Jones River, to have a stone covering, to be 25 feet wide, and of such height as the committee shall judge the public good requires, and the following persons were chosen: Thomas P. Beal, Richard F. Johnson, Eli Cook, James Sever, Esq., and John Thomas.”

Four years later—April 6, 1829—it was voted “To choose a committee of seven persons to investigate the state of the bridge over Jones River, and the following persons were chosen: Eli Cook, John Sever, Joseph Holmes, Zebulon Bisbee, Robert Cook, Nathaniel Faunce, and Benjamin Delano.” Voted also, “That the committee be instructed to proceed immediately to examine the state of the bridge and to make a report of the result of their examination at the adjournment of this meeting.”

At the adjournment, the committee reported as follows: “The committee appointed to examine the shattered bridge near Timothy French’s have attended that service and report:

First—That in their opinion said bridge may and ought to be repaired upon its original foundation, and the bottom thereof made secure from undermining by a plank platform.

Second—That there be made one other arch or passageway for water on the North-west of, and near the present archway of seven feet in ye clear, built and covered with stone.

Third—The committee have made an estimate of the probable expense of repairs and alterations as above, and believe the whole may be done for the sum of $250.

By order of ye Committee,

ELI COOK, Chairman.”

They then “voted to accept the above report and that the Selectmen make the alterations and repairs to the bridge which are recommended in said report.”

The bills that were paid by the town are in evidence that the arch bridge was built in 1825, and the Northerly passageway in 1829, in accordance with the votes passed by the town.

 

Check out these photos, taken not long before the 1895 Annual Report.

Panel card of Great Bridge over the Jones River, view looking East
Great Bridge over the Jones River, view looking East, 1886 or 1890

Emily Drew wrote that the image above was captured “either in 1886 when they were laying our water mains or in 1890 when the street car system (trolley electric) was being installed.” She draws attention to the men “either raising a pole (a trolley pole) or lowering a length of pipe into the trench.” Even without her clues about its date, you can tell that this is the bridge that was repaired in 1829 because of the square arch to the left of the round arch.

 

Panel card of Great Bridge over Jones River, view looking West
Great Bridge over Jones River, view looking West, 1886 or 1890

Here’s the view looking West, likely taken the same day, as evidenced by that pole/pipe.

 

Now take a look at the bridge (below) built in 1895.

Black and white postcard of Jones River and Great Bridge
Jones River and Great Bridge, around 1915

Notice the single arch?

 

As always, you can send your comments or questions to history@kingstonpubliclibrary.org.

 

Source: Block quote from the Town of Kingston Annual Report of 1895, part of the Town of Kingston Publications (TOK4), and additional information from Emily Fuller Drew’s lantern card slide file, part of the Jones River Village Historical Society Lantern Slide Collection (IC4). Images from the Local History Room Image Collection (IC7) and the Delano Photograph Collection (IC11) .

 

Looking ahead to spring

Missing the warm weather yet? Now that we’re halfway through winter,  spring is right around the corner.

280 Main Street, around 1900

Take a look at this beautiful bed of asters in front of the house at 280 Main Street, built around 1897. The woman on the left is Martha Maglathlin. On the right you can see the fork of Wapping Road (left) and Pembroke Street (right), with the public watering trough at the point of the intersection.

 

Source: Image from the Local History Room Image Collection (IC7). 

Are you ready for some football?

1933 South Shore Football Champions

First row: (standing, left to right): Malcolm (Mac) Peterson, Alfred Bruneau, Harold (Slim) Alberghini, Chester (Chet) Morrison, Amelio Ruffini, Russell (Prout) Prouty 

Second row (kneeling, left to right): Bob Bailey, Raoul Corazzari, George Candini, Clyde Melli, Eddie Cadwell, Stephen Reed, Bob Davis

 

In 1933, the Kingston High School football team won the South Shore Championship.  Over the course of this season, they won five games, lost two, and tied one. 13 out of the 28 team members can be seen here in their practice jerseys on the field behind the Reed Community House. They were coached by Mr. Gotschall, the Principal, who also supervised the basketball team.

 

 

Source: Image from the Local History Room Image Collection (IC7).

 

Colorized photo of soldiers resting by a road

“Just a word to let you know I am still alive…”: Postcards from World War I

Postcard with image of soldiers and horses, captioned "Greetings from Camp Gordon, Atlanta, Ga."
Postcard sent by Joseph Finney to Mary Fries, postmarked November 21, 1917

 

When the US entered World War I in 1917 and called for a draft, Joseph Finney registered during the first round. He became one of approximately 2 million men who joined the American Expeditionary Forces, armed forces sent overseas to Europe. Throughout his service he exchanged postcards with friends and family, especially his elder sister, Ella Finney, and the woman he went on to marry upon his return, Mary Fries. Looking through this correspondence allows us to piece together a loose timeline of his experiences. Stop by the library to check out this exhibit for yourself!

 

Source: Image from the Joseph Cushman Finney Papers (MC11).

Skiing down Summer Street

Four young men on cross-country skis on Summer Street in Kingston, MA
From left to right: Clinton Keith, Isaac Hathaway Sr., Ralph Drew, and Ralph Holmes, around 1915

 

On a snowy, winter day a hundred years ago, these four young men strapped on their cross-country skis and posed for this picture right in the center of Summer Street, just north of the railroad tracks. The Adams Block is visible on the right, and the laundry building that was previously the freight station for the railroad is visible on the left.

 

Source: Image from the Albion Holmes Collection (MC25). 

Cyanotypes

Cyanotype photographic prints are immediately recognizable. Their striking blue appearance is the result of a particular chemical combination (though the prints can in fact be toned to alter this color).

Credited to Sir John Herschel—an astronomer and chemist—in 1842, the cyanotype process involves coating a piece of paper with a solution of ferric ammonium citrate before exposing it to light under a positive image (as opposed to a negative image, which is the inversion). Then, that exposed paper is developed with a potassium ferricyanide solution.

Anna Atkins, who knew Herschel as a friend of her father, used this process to illustrate her botanical studies. Her three-volume work,  Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions (1843–53), was the first photographically illustrated book.

The first commercial cyanotype paper emerged in 1872 in France. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) started instructing its students on the cyanotype process for the creation of blueprints in 1875. The following year, the first commercial blueprint machine made in Switzerland was introduced at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition, the first official World’s Fair in the United States.

From the 1870s to the 1950s, the cyanotype process was primarily used by engineers and architects for printing blueprints. It was revived by photographers during the 1960s as an alternative to the silver gelatin process.

We have a number of cyanotypes here in the Local History Room.

House where they serve clambakes, Wharf Lane, Rocky Nook, circa 1905
House where they serve clambakes, Wharf Lane, Rocky Nook, c. 1905

 

Joshua Delano house, 91 Main Street, circa 1905
Joshua Delano house, 91 Main Street, c. 1905

 

Woman standing in front of a large snow drift, undated
Unidentified woman standing in front of a large snow drift, undated

 

Man seated in a horse-drawn buggy, undated
Man seated in a horse-drawn buggy, undated

 

If you’d like to see these—or the other cyanotypes we have—in person, stop by the Local History Room!

 

Sources: Images from the Delano Photograph Collection (IC11) and the Emily Fuller Drew Collection (MC16). 

Stulik, Dusan, and Art Kaplan. 2013. The Atlas of Analytical Signatures of Photographic Processes. Los Angeles, CA: Getty Conservation Institute. http://hdl.handle.net/10020/gci_pubs/atlas_analytical

James, Christopher. 2014. “The Cyanotype Process” in The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes. (Course Technology). https://www.christopherjames-studio.com/docs/chapter7-the-cyanotype-process.pdf

 

Ada Brewster: Civil War Nurse, Traveler, and Artist

Sketch captioned "Cow Boy from Arizona," dated April 19, 1885
Cow Boy from Arizona, April 19, 1885

 

Ada Brewster, born in Kingston on May 25, 1842, lived a fascinating life. She served as a nurse at Lovell General Hopsital in Rhode Island during the Civil War; worked at the U.S. Mint in Carson City, Nevada during the production of the first trade dollar coined by the federal government; studied art at the Lowell Institute in Boston and the California School of Design (now the San Francisco Art Institute); opened her own art studio and became known as a portraitist, illustrator, china-painter, and teacher; and moved all over the country before returning home to Kingston in 1919. Stop by to learn more in this month’s Local History exhibit, featuring a selection of Ada’s sketches from her time out West.

 

Source: This sketch comes from the Ada Brewster Collection (MC24).