Category Archives: Houses

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.

 

August 22 was a Saturday in 1863 too

The Local History Room recently received a trove of old ledgers from H. K. Keith & Co.  These hand-written record books track inventory in the general store, customer accounts and daily sales, like this apparently busy Saturday exactly 153 years ago today.

Page 138 from H.K. Keith's 1863 register of daily sales
Page 138 from H.K. Keith’s 1863 register of daily sales
Page 139 from H.K. Keith's 1863 register of daily sales
Page 139 from H.K. Keith’s 1863 register of daily sales
Page 140 from H.K. Keith's 1863 register of daily sales
Page 140 from H.K. Keith’s 1863 register of daily sales

It appears that the column between the item and the price is a code for the purchaser’s account.

Henry Kingman Keith (1826-1909) was born in North Bridgewater and spent some time in Duxbuy, but lived most of his adult life in Kingston.

Henry Kingman Keith, portrait, circa 1860
Henry Kingman Keith, portrait, circa 1860

In 1847, he married Vesta Snell Cary (1827-1903).

Vesta Snell Carey Keith, portrait, circa 1860
Vesta Snell Carey Keith, portrait, circa 1860

Keith built his general store in Kingston in 1848, just three years after the Old Colony Railroad first drove through town.

H. K. Keith and Company General Store, 58-60 Summer Street, circa 1860
H. K. Keith and Company General Store, 58-60 Summer Street, circa 1860

The store was a success, and would thrive under a variety of owners and retail formats: Lewis H. Keith, Henry and Vesta’s son; Burges and Keith; Burges and Bailey; Toabe Hardware; Kingston Hardware; Crossroads Liquor; Trackside Liquor (and possibly more).

Two men at the entrance of the store at 58-60 Summer Street, circa 1875
Two men at the entrance of the store at 58-60 Summer Street, circa 1875

The building has been enlarged and lowered and added-onto; here’s a more recent look.

58-60 Summer Street, 1998
58-60 Summer Street, 1998

Two people, one house and a clerihew

This is the Reverend Augustus Russell Pope (1819-1855), minister of Kingston’s First Parish Church, or as it was then known, First Congregational Society, from 1844 to 1849.  The biographical piece linked above lauds Pope’s work in Kingston, particularly his work with the Town’s schools.

Reverend Augustus Russell Pope, seated portrait, circa 1845
Reverend Augustus Russell Pope, seated portrait, circa 1845

This is Lucy Ann Meacham Pope (1820-1870), the Reverend’s wife, who was originally from Cambridge. They married in 1843, just after his ordination.

Lucy A. Meacham Pope, head and shoulders portrait, circa 1845
Lucy A. Meacham Pope, head and shoulders portrait, circa 1845

This is the lovely home they built at 4 Elm Street in 1844; it now houses Hope Floats.

Reverend Augustus Pope House, 4 Elm Street, 1998
Reverend Augustus Pope House, 4 Elm Street, 1998. Photo from the Massachusetts Historical Commission.

So, portraits of a couple who briefly lived in Kingston and a later photo of their house: is there more to this story?  Why, yes, there is.

It’s always helpful to have full names and important dates for the people in the pictures; since neither of the Pope was a native Kingstonian, some research was required.  That process produced an interesting scrap of a much larger history. A few years after Pope left Kingston for a ministry in Somerville, he received Patent Number 9,802 for “Improvement in Electro-Magnetic Alarms.”

And as sometimes happens when deep in the research, a clerihew popped out.

Augustus Pope
Gave us all hope
And saved us from harm
With his burglar alarm.

Sources: Jones River Village Historical Society Lantern Slides IC4; Massachusetts 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

Photobombing is not a new thing

Lucas House, 159 Pembroke Street, August 1935.
Lucas House, 159 Pembroke Street, August 1935.

One August in the middle of the 1930s, Emily Fuller Drew took some photos to document the Old Lucas House on Pembroke Street. Her file card for one of the lantern slides made from these negatives reads:

William Cooke was son of Jacob Cooke Jr. mentioned in #38. He inherited & bought a great deal of land west of the Bradford lands. This very old house was built on Cooke land but must have stood close to the Bradford bounds. Major John Bradford gave the North Precinct or Jones River parish a piece of woodland from his homestead farm. The entrance or right-of-way to the Parish woodlot leaves Pembroke St. diagonally opp. the old house. Directly opp. the house is, or was, the White Pine Nursery. The owners bought the woodlot from the Parish; it lies between the nursery buildings and the R.R. tracks. Even if the Bradford-Cooke line were very irregular, it would seem the Bradford lands must have come very near the old house here shown. About 100 years ago, a son of the Lucas family built a house to the east of his father’s, which later burned. The cellar of the latter house still shows with a medium sized pine tree growing in it. Lucas ran the grist mill at Brackett’s. (# __).

A second card further explains:

Wm Cooke owned the land first, and probably built the house for himself or his daughter ___ who married ___ Wright . A granddaughter ___ Wright married ___Lucas and the farm and the old house came down for two three generations in the Lucas family. This is the first house after you overpass the R.R. at Brookdale, on Pembroke St.

Lucas House, 159 Pembroke Street, August 1935.
Lucas House, 159 Pembroke Street, August 1935.

Before it was demolished in 2002, the house was variously known as the old Lucas House, the Cooke-Wright-Lucas House, and later the Tangley Place.

Lucas House, 159 Pembroke Street, August 1935
Lucas House, 159 Pembroke Street, August 1935.

The name of the dog is unknown.

Sources: Emily Fuller Drew Collection MC16; Jones River Village Historical Society Collection MC29 

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

The Bradford House opens June 21

 

Bradford House, 1932. By H. Tarkiln.
Bradford House, 1932. By H. Tarkiln.

 

There’s a reception!  And an exhibit!

Breakfasts start later in the summer.

Check the Jones River Village Historical Society’s website for more information.

 

Source: LHR General Image Collection IC7

 

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

Asa Hammond and his house

"Asa Hammond house - Wapping Road. Asa in foreground," no date
“Asa Hammond house – Wapping Road. Asa in foreground,” no date

 

Asa Cook Hammond (1826-1913) was a carpenter or housewright,  who was born Pembroke, but lived in Kingston from around 1850 until his death.  He married Amanda Clark, a dressmaker from Plympton in 1849; they had several children.  Both are buried in the Evergreen Cemetery.

Asa is identified as the figure in the foreground of the photograph but the woman and two boys are not, though it seems likely they are Asa’s wife and children.

The Hammond’s house, built in the Queen Anne style with an unusual center hall plan and set perpendicular to the road, still stands at 40 Wapping Road.

 

 

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

Iconic Buildings of Kingston

Delano's Wharf block, 2001
Delano’s Wharf block, 2001

As part of the celebrations for Kingston’s 275th anniversary in 2001, the Friends of the 275th commissioned a set of blocks depicting eight iconic Kingston buildings: the old Town House, the Center Primary school (now called the Faunce School), the Pumping Station, the passenger station (now the restaurant Solstice), the First Parish Church, the Major John Bradford House, the now-gone Kingston High School, and Delano’s Wharf, shown here from the rarely seen bay side.

Red Cross swimming lessons behind Delano's Wharf, circa 1945
Red Cross swimming lessons behind Delano’s Wharf, circa 1945

The blocks, along with photographs from the Local History Room, as on display this month in the Library lobby.

 

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