Category Archives: Houses

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

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

Historic places

Frederic C. Adams Library, view from the south, no date.
Frederic C. Adams Library, view from the south, no date.


This September. Wikimedia, the home of Wikipedia and so much more, is hosting a photography contest called Wiki Loves Monuments, featuring photographs of properties on the National Register of Historic Places.

Kingston has two buildings on the National Register of Historic Places: the Frederic C. Adams Library and the Major John Bradford House, as well as a National Historic District, which includes the area around Main and Green Streets.  For a listing of National Register sites in Plymouth County, and elsewhere, see Wikimedia’s list.

Major John Bradford house, rear view with well, 1921. By Emily Fuller Drew
Major John Bradford house, rear view with well, 1921. By Emily Fuller Drew


The Octagon House

The Octagon House, 1920

The Octagon House, 1920

As Emily Drew tells us in the card file she created to describe the lantern slides she used to illustrate lectures on Kingston history

East side South Street, near Wapping Rd. Built by Josiah Cook in [1854] when there was a fashion for six- and eight-sided or round houses and barns. The rooms inside are attractive with corners cut off. View from S. or S.W. An older, earlier house, built in ____ had stood for many years in or close by the driveway (south). When the present house was finished, the older one was demolished and the driveway built. In the background may be seen the house recently occupied by the Varneys and some time before that by [Howland?] Sampson. See #106.

And here is #106.

The Octagon House, 1920
The Octagon House, 1920

Emily’s notes for this lantern slide:

(East side South St. near Wapping Rd.) Now owned by Clarence Ertman. House was built close by a much older one by Josiah Cook. Octagon and round houses were fashionable at that time (see #83) More comprehensive view than #83, shows more of farm buildings. This view is from the N. or N.W.

And finally, here’s a more recent view.

The Octagon House, 1998
The Octagon House, 1998 (photo courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Commission)

For more on octagon houses including floor plans and interior views of Kingston’s own, take a look at this Inventory of Older Octagon, Hexagon and Round Houses.

View looking north, no date

View of Kingston looking north from Horatio Adams' House, no date
View of Kingston looking north from Horatio Adams' House, no date

From Abram’s Hill, you can see a quite a way.  This view shows the back of the Frederic C. Adams Library at lower left and the houses along Summer Street down through Kingston center.   The Reed Community Building was not yet standing (it would be at lower right), so the photograph dates between 1898 when the Library was built and 1926 when the Reed Building went up.


Last week’s look at the capitalist Horatio Adams leads to this week’s pique.  Among the many stockbroker’s receipts, enticements to buy land in Nebraska, an 8% Gold Bond for the Death Valley – Arcalvado Consolidated Mine Company, and stock in the Association Salt Company is a beautiful little booklet.

Yes, in January 1893, a friend of Horatio’s sent him a golden opportunity, a chance to invest in a Colossal Elephant to be built at the Chicago World’s Fair.  The patent holder J.V. Lafferty had already built two others: Lucy the Margate Elephant near Atlantic City, NJ, and the Elephantine Colossus in  Coney Island.  He and his partners hoped to raise enough money to build an even grander “work of art and mechanical genius.”

While Lucy stood a mere 44 feet tall and the Colossus stretched to 100, the proposed Chicago model would take on “a more elaborate scale…200 feet to the top of ‘Howdah’ or observatory, from which a grand view can be had for miles.”

Better yet, “beyond the increase in size over any yet attempted, and also of great importance and attractiveness, is the fact that when this Elephant is finished, IT WILL RAISE ITS TRUNK PERPENDICULARLY, ROLL ITS GREAT EYEBALLS, FLAP ITS EARS AND WAG ITS TAIL as naturally as a live elephant.”  A “monstrous Electric Calliope Organ in his throat” would add sound.

After some discussion of the profit potential in soda fountains and “segar” stands, the prospectus notes that “the Elephant and plant will be insured against fire,” a good plan as the Coney Island Colossus would be destroyed by fire just a few years later.

As tempting an opportunity as the eye-rolling, ear-flapping Colossal Elephant represented, Horatio was not swayed. And it seems he was not alone in turning down the investment: searching through books and photographs and postcards and stereoviews related to the Fair yields not a single clue that the Colossal Elephant was ever built.