Category Archives: Events

A flyer inviting people to attend a Centennial Military and Fancy Dress Party.

A Centennial, Military and Fancy Dress Party

Invitation sent to Horatio Adams for "A Centennial, Military and Fancy Dress Party," 1876
Invitation sent to Horatio Adams for “A Centennial, Military and Fancy Dress Party,” 1876

 

1876 marked the 100th anniversary of nationhood for the United States. On April 12th of that year, a “Centennial, Military and Fancy Dress Party” was held at Fuller’s Hall (which burned down in 1900) in support of the “Massachusetts Women’s Centennial Fund.” The invitation above was sent to Horatio Adams, Kingston resident and self-proclaimed “Capitalist.”

Attendees must have enjoyed a night of dancing, as Joyce’s Quadrille Band provided the music for the evening. The quadrille was a type of group dance commonly featured at events such as this during the nineteenth century. Four couples faced each other in a square formation, performing a set of figures to music with eight-bar phrases. It was popular in part due its familiar figures and its numerous variants, like the waltz, polka, schottish, Esmerelda, and mazurka.

 

Source: Document from the Invitations and Calling Cards Collection PC8.

The (Almost) Centennial of the End of World War I

Today marks the 99th anniversary of the armistice agreement between Germany and the Allies, ending the actual fighting (though the war did not officially end until the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919). November 11th became known as Armistice Day until 1954, when the United States began celebrating Veterans Day.

Town House decorated with American flag bunting and "Welcome Home" sign
Town House decorated for the celebration, October 18, 1919

Kingston held a Welcome Home Celebration in October of 1919 in honor of the return of servicemen and nurses who had served during the war. For pictures of the parade, see our post from last month.

And thank you to all who have served in the military.

 

Source: Image is from the Glass Plate Negative Collection (IC3).

Shall We Dance?

Kingston High School Junior Prom, 1942
Kingston High School Junior Prom, 1942

During November, the lobby display case will feature a selection of photos, invitations, and dance cards from throughout Kingston’s history. Did you know that ballroom etiquette once prescribed ladies to carry dance cards to pencil in the names of gentlemen who had reserved a dance? Or that in 1875, Kingston residents held a Thanksgiving Ball to celebrate the holiday? Stop by to learn more!

Source: Image from the Mary Hathaway Collection (MC21).

Welcome Home Parade, 1919

On this day in 1919…

Welcome Home Parade, 1919
Welcome Home Parade walking down Green Street, 1919

October 18, 1919 was a known as “Welcome Home Day” in Kingston in honor of its servicemen and nurses returning from World War I. The “Welcome Home Committee” presented each with a bronze token of appreciation for service to the town and country, and sponsored festivities that included the parade seen here, as well as band concerts, decorations, speeches and a turkey supper in the Town House.

Welcome Home Parade

There is now a monument to the 132 men and women who “entered the service” during the war. Constructed in 1926, it is located at the intersection of Summer and Green streets.

Welcome Home Parade, 1919

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

Welcome Home from the War to End All Wars

For more on Kingston’s Welcome Home parade, see this post.

Marcher with Red Cross flag in the Welcome Home parade, October 18, 1919.
Marcher with Red Cross flag in the Welcome Home parade, October 18, 1919.
Riders and marchers in the Welcome Home parade, October 18, 1919.
Riders and marchers in the Welcome Home parade, October 18, 1919.
Spectators at the Welcome Home parade, October 18, 1919.
Spectators at the Welcome Home parade, October 18, 1919.
Marchers in the Welcome Home parade, October 18, 1919.
Marchers in the Welcome Home parade, October 18, 1919.
Marchers in the Welcome Home parade, October 18, 1919.
Marchers in the Welcome Home parade, October 18, 1919.
Riders in the Welcome Home parade, October 18, 1919.
Riders in the Welcome Home parade, October 18, 1919.
Marchers in the Welcome Home parade, October 18, 1919.
Marchers in the Welcome Home parade, October 18, 1919.
Marchers in the Welcome Home parade, October 18, 1919.
Marchers in the Welcome Home parade, October 18, 1919.
Marchers in the Welcome Home parade, October 18, 1919.
Marchers in the Welcome Home parade, October 18, 1919.
Marchers in the Welcome Home parade, October 18, 1919.
Marchers in the Welcome Home parade, October 18, 1919.
Marchers in the Welcome Home parade, October 18, 1919.
Marchers in the Welcome Home parade, October 18, 1919.
Marchers in the Welcome Home parade, October 18, 1919.
Marchers in the Welcome Home parade, October 18, 1919.
Marchers in the Welcome Home parade, October 18, 1919.
Marchers in the Welcome Home parade, October 18, 1919.
Marchers and cars in the Welcome Home parade, October 18, 1919.
Marchers and cars in the Welcome Home parade, October 18, 1919.
Spectators at the Welcome Home parade, October 18, 1919.
Spectators at the Welcome Home parade, October 18, 1919.

 

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

Memorial Day

Memorial Day exercises on the Training Green, circa 1943
Memorial Day exercises on the Training Green, circa 1943

Decoration Day, which we now know as Memorial Day, started in 1868.  Kingston’s first documented observance was 1879, with formal Town funding starting in 1881.  Stop by the Library to see photographs of Memorial Day parades dating back over a century.

Source: Mary Hathaway Collection MC21

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

“This place will suit you.” Kingston’s first hotel, 1854-1970

We’ve got a new exhibit in the Library lobby. Stop by and take a look.

Patuxet House, circa 1870
Patuxet House, circa 1870

The spot where the Kingston Public Library stands was once the site of Kingston’s first hotel, built in 1854, just nine years after the Old Colony Railroad first chugged through town. Former boarding house proprietor Josiah Cushman bought the land from Spencer Cushman, and immediately borrowed $1500 from the seller to finance the building. Josiah ran the hotel, known as the Patuxet House, for the next 25 years, until another of his creditors, merchant Henry K. Keith (listed in the 1888 publication Twenty Thousand Rich New Englanders), took over the property, though Keith did not run the Inn himself.

Kingston Inn, Flag Day 1915
Kingston Inn, Flag Day 1915

Sometime around 1900, the hotel’s name had changed to either the Hotel Kingston or, the better known Kingston Inn. In 1921, right in the thick of Prohibition, crime struck. The double-crossing rum runner murder happened after hotel proprietor Richard Rowland (or Roland) ordered 26 cases of illegal Scotch from a well-known bootlegger. According to the Boston Globe, “Rowland had a good market for liquor at the Kingston Inn,” which had a reputation as a sporting house with a regular dice game, but he didn’t want to pay for the booze. Rowland plotted with two local thugs to fake a robbery in the hotel garage, but the bootlegger fought back and his driver, Edward Cardinal aka Eddie Gardner, was gunned down. The bootlegger escaped with the liquor, and Rowland, “the debonair blond gambler,” was eventually convicted of manslaughter, but his accomplices were never caught.

Kingston Inn, Keith House and World War I monument, circa 1930
Kingston Inn, Keith House and World War I monument, circa 1930

By 1927, the hotel was known Bay View Inn, and served as the grand prize in a raffle advertised by the Plymouth chapter of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. The brochure described the Inn’s

“28 rooms, including reception parlor, one large and three small dining rooms, hotel office and billiard parlor. It is situated on over 1 acre of land and the beautiful trees and lawns add to the enhancing surroundings. In addition to the main Hotel, there is a 20-car garage, with a cement floor, with an accessory store and office included in the buildings.”

For reasons unknown, the raffle never happened. The Inn sat empty and changed hands a few times until 1953, when Coley and Lillian Mae Hayes bought the property. Originally from Georgia, the couple worked together as chauffeur/butler and housekeeper/cook in the 1930s and 1940s in private homes around New York City and Boston. Between 1933 and 1941, they spent summers at Twin Oaks, the Duxbury camp they owned with Lillian’s two sisters and their husbands. The camp was a great success among its African-American clientele, but when one of the sisters died, another took over, and the Hayes went back to private employment, until 1953 when they bought the Kingston Inn.

Guests on the lawn of the Kingston Inn, circa 1960
Guests on the lawn of the Kingston Inn, circa 1960

The Hayes advertised in publications like Ebony and the Amsterdam News, and focused on African-American vacationers from Boston, New York and Philadelphia. The promotional materials produced during the Hayes’s tenure emphasized the near-by sights of Plymouth, the delights of Cape Cod, and the comfortable family atmosphere at the Kingston Inn, where “you don’t have to dress for dinner.” Coley Hayes ran the Inn until his death in 1966; Lillian appears to have predeceased him, though her death date isn’t known. In 1970, Hayes’ executor sold the vacant hotel to New England Telephone, which razed the building and constructed the long-distance equipment facility, which eventually became the Kingston Public Library in 1995.

Kingston Inn giant postcard, circa 1960
Kingston Inn giant postcard, circa 1960

Happy Blog-a-versary, with bonus maps

This blog started six years ago this  week with this post.  Thanks for reading!

And it’s a great time to announce a new page Maps of Kingston on the Local History Room Online site, which (as the clever title suggests) has links to a nice bunch of maps of Kingston from 1795 to 1903.  Click on a thumbnail to open or download a pdf copy of a map.

There are either originals or copies in the LHR of these maps, but in some cases,  the images are also linked to terrific online collections like the State Library’s Real Estate Atlases and the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library.

Village detail from the “Map of Plymouth County," Henry Francis Walling. 1857
Village detail from the “Map of Plymouth County,”
Henry Francis Walling. 1857

In the case of this 1857 wall map, the LHR has this detail and the full Town depiction only; these pieces were found in a local flea market after someone cut up the map!  If you’d like to see the whole thing in person, we’re lucky to have a beautiful copy of the full map hanging in the Selectmen’s Office over in the Town Hall.

 

Source: Maps OC3

 

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