Category Archives: Environment

Combating an Invasive Species: The Gypsy Moth Infestation

Illustration of gypsy moth caterpillar and adult
Illustration from “The Home and School Reference Work, Volume IV” by The Home and School Education Society, H. M. Dixon, President and Managing Editor, published in 1917 by The Home and School Education Society. Image file found here.

 

Today, we may see gypsy moths outside our homes or in our woodlands and think nothing of them, but this insect has a tumultuous history in the United States.

In 1869, an amateur entomologist imported this species from Europe to his home in Medford, Massachusetts. He intended to use the moths to breed a silk-spinning moth that would be more resistant to disease than the domestic silkmoth. Unsurprisingly, several adult moths escaped from their enclosures, setting a number of problems in motion that we continue to grapple with today.

Stop by to learn more about Kingston’s efforts to eradicate this pest in this month’s local history exhibit!

Black and white photo. Two large blooming trees

Arbor Day

Orchard behind C. Drew's house, c. 1925
Orchard behind C. Drew’s house, c. 1925

 

Happy Arbor Day! Here are a couple snapshots of some lovely trees from the orchard behind “C. Drew’s house” on Summer Street. C. Drew either refers to Charles Drew or Christopher Prince Drew, co-founder of C. Drew and Company, both of whom lived on Summer Street.

 

Orchard behind C. Drew's house, c. 1925
Orchard behind C. Drew’s house, c. 1925

 

Source: Images from the Emily Fuller Drew Collection (MC16).

Thanksgiving 1917

With Thanksgiving in just a few days, check out these negatives taken by noted Kingston historian and photographer, Emily Fuller Drew (1881-1950), on a freezing Thanksgiving Day in 1917.

Jones River at “the leaning tree,” Thanksgiving 1917

 

Curve of the Jones River, Thanksgiving 1917

 

Jones River “from the river path,” Thanksgiving 1917

 

Anchor Forge Dam
Anchor Forge Dam, Thanksgiving 1917

 

Source: Images from the Emily Fuller Drew Collection (MC16).

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.

 

The devil is in the details

Lyman Cushman's barns and sheds, Elm Street, 1925
Lyman Cushman’s barns and sheds, Elm Street, 1925

Emily Fuller Drew wrote an extensive caption on the back of a print of this image:

1925 Lyman Cushman’s barns and shed on Elm St. Taken from the now Harper barn. A freshet tore down thro the valley, the Winter Meadow Brook and the canal which took its place, washing out dam and canal and changing the valley as shown. The dam or dyke at Russells Pond was rebuilt but a new canal from the Pond to Sylvys Place Pond was made to replace the former one. Part of the bank of the old canal shows near Pine Tree at right.

Another view of the area was featured here. The main house to which the outbuildings belong, the Lyman Cushman/John Cushman house at 16 Sylvia Place Road, isn’t shown. The Harper barn from which Emily took the photo, sits behind the house at 4 Sylvia Place Road.

A discerning eye can just make out a figure, maybe a man, seated in a chair propped up against the shingled wall with a table at his left.  It could be Lyman Cushman (1851-1925); we don’t know. We don’t have a photo of him, and Emily didn’t mention him in the caption, but just a couple of photos later…

Lyman Cushman's cat, 1925
Lyman Cushman’s cat, 1925

Emily walked up the hill from the Harper’s barn and took this photo, which she later captioned “Lyman Cushman’s cat.” Nice detail.

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

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 peels 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

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.

Evergreen Cemetery Pond

Evergreen Cemetery Pond, 1876
Evergreen Cemetery Pond, 1876

 

84. Evergreen Cemetery Pond, 1876

Naturally a damp, spring spot. When cemetery was planned [in 1853], the spot was drained and curbed as shown. Later the pines were cut down or broke down from winter ice, and the spot was landscaped. Mr. Edgar Reed gave the granite seat on the north side of the pond.

 

Source: Text from Emily Fuller Drew’s lantern slide card file; image from Jones River Village Historical Society Lantern Slides IC4.  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.