Category Archives: Infrastructure

“Motors of such power and design”

Special Town Meeting

At a special Town Meeting held May 28, 1906, the following votes were passed:

Voted that the committee chosen by the Town to settle with the City of Brockton* be authorized to purchase for the town an electric motor or motors of such power and design as in their judgment shall be suitable, and install the same at the pumping station.

New pumping station machinery, 1906
New pumping station machinery, 1906

Voted, That the Committee chosen to settle with the City of Brockton be authorized to contract with the Plymouth Electric Light Co. for the extension of the lines of that company to connect with the pumping station.

Voted, That the committee chosen to settle with the City of Brockton be authorized to purchase such additional pumps and other machinery, and other apparatus as may in their judgment be necessary for the proper operation of the pumping station.

New pumping station machinery, 1906
New pumping station machinery, 1906

At a meeting held June 29, 1906, the following vote was passed:

Voted, In order to provide money to be expended for the improvement of the water works, including power therefor, as voted at the special town meeting held May 28, 1906, that the Treasurer be, and hereby is, authorized to borrow a sum not exceeding five thousand, five hundred dollars, and to issue therefor the notes of the town each for the sum of five hundred and fifty dollars, bearing interest at a rate not exceeding 4 1/2 per cent. per annum, payable semi-annually, dated August 1st, 1906, and payable on at the end of one year from said date, and one at the end of each year thereafter until all are paid. The said notes are to be signed by the Treasurer, and countersigned by a majority of the Selectmen.

* This committee  had been appointed in 1905 and “authorized to settle all claims which the Town has or may have against the City of Brockton for the taking the water of Silver Lake.”  Members included the Water Commissioners — George B. Holmes, Edward G. Brown and Truman H. Fuller — along with Charles H. Drew and James L. Hall.

Source: IC-7 LHR General Photographs; Annual Town Reports 1905 and 1906

For what it’s worth

In 1924, the Kingston Highway Department did a good deal of work on the roads — particularly West Street, Pembroke Street, and Maple Street — and a new “highway beacon” was installed.

While discussions of municipal spending on roadways dates back to the earliest town meetings, automobile traffic — that “modern method of travel” — was a new and rapidly growing concern.  Highway Surveyor Warren S. Nickerson did his best to balance repairs, new construction and snow removal within his budget.  He pointed out in his annual report that costs were held down by judicious purchase and careful maintenance of equipment.

Some of those parts came from the Buffalo-Springfield Roller Company.

Buffalo-Springfield Company bill to Kingston Highway Department, 1924
Buffalo-Springfield Company bill to Kingston Highway Department, 1924
Buffalo-Springfield Company bill to Kingston Highway Department, 1924
Buffalo-Springfield Company bill to Kingston Highway Department, 1924
Payment receipt to Buffalo-Springfield Roller Company for Kingston Highway Department, 1924
Payment receipt to Buffalo-Springfield Roller Company for Kingston Highway Department, 1924

 

Sources: Town of Kingston Annual Reports; TOK-5 Accounting

New Exhibit: The Elm Street Bridge

The Elm Street dam and bridge over the Jones River, before 1920
The Elm Street dam and bridge over the Jones River, before 1920

Sometime before 1920, Emily Drew photographed the wooden dam at Elm Street before it was replaced by a concrete structure.  She also captured the old iron bridge constructed in 1889 to carry Elm Street over the Jones River.  Stop by the library to learn more about the bridge.

 

Motormen

Three motormen, no date
Three motormen, no date

In the search for photographs for the summertime exhibit, these three images turned up.  As seen in earlier posts, the Plymouth & Kingston trolley, which started in 1886, merged with other lines and expanded until the tracks reached Brockton in 1900.   The emergence of Kingston as a summer destination and the development of the cottage communities of Rocky Nook quickly followed.

The company evolved into the Plymouth & Brockton Street Railway, which (despite its name) runs buses on the South Shore.

Inside a trolley, no date
Inside a trolley, no date

While it’s not clear if these men are motormen (drivers) or conductors (ticket takers, schedule keepers and safety inspectors), they seem very serious about the work at hand, or at least about posing for the photographer.

Two motormen and friend, no date
Two conductors and friend, no date

Not to mention well-armed.

River

Jones River, no date
Jones River, no date

Some time ago, an unknown photographer captured this moment of tranquility on the river.  The Old Colony Railroad bridge can be seen in the distance at left, along with at least one of the boathouses that stand between Landing Road and the riverbank. The stone wall at right is the end of the seawall (or river-wall) that runs from the Great Bridge along the property that was once Alexander Holmes’ Jones River Farm.

Kingston Capitalist

On the 1900 Federal Census, as on others before, each head of household was asked to give his (or more rarely, her) occupation. Along Summer Street, these included dry goods merchant, station agent for the railroad, boarding house keeper, stone cutter and teacher, until the census taker came to Horatio Adams, who declared “Capitalist.”

Here is the Capitalist at his desk.

Horatio Adams at his desk, no date
Horatio Adams at his desk, no date

And the tools the capitalist used to manage his labors?  The book atop the glass case reads “Neapolitan Ice Cream” probably a business directory of some sort, and inside the case, “A Fragment of Plymouth Rock” with a certificate attesting to its authenticity.  There’s a telephone and an electric lamp, a fountain pen and a blotter.  There are law books piled and documents filed in pigeon holes.  There’s also a picture on Horatio’s desk of someone sitting at a desk which looks at lot like this one.

Horatio Adams in his Boston office, no date
Horatio Adams in his Boston office, no date

The second photo seems earlier: there’s no phone or electric lamp, though the desk looks the same.

Horatio Adams, according to his obituary, worked in the Boston Office of the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad, then moved to New York with the company for a year.  He returned to Boston to work for Frank Hay, “an expert accountant,” and was employed by the firm of John A. Burnham and Sons for many years.

His connection with the Old Colony Railroad and its various 19th century incarnations began early. He was born on the day the first train passed through Kingston, November 8, 1845 and except for his year in New York, took the train to Boston every day until his death on April 7, 1911.  His obituary noted that he was the oldest commuter in and out of Boston.

Horatio is also closely connected to the Kingston Library. His portrait hangs in the Local History Room and photos of him appear in numerous collections.  He and his mother Lydia (Mrs. George T.) Adams donated land upon which the Town built KPL’s predecessor, the Frederic C. Adams Library, funded by the will of Horatio’s uncle.  Horatio served as a Trustee for Adams Library for some time.

Returning to Horatio’s capitalist ways, stock certificates and investment prospectuses in LHR collections show his interest in all kinds of ventures, including the development of Fort Payne, Alabama and office buildings in the Mid-west.  Perhaps the most interesting is the booklet prospectus for the Colossal Elephant.  Stay tuned for that.

 

 

Sources: Two obituaries, dated April 7 and April 15, 1911, from an unknown newspaper in the Obituary Notebook in the LHR

A little walk on Summer Street

WARNING: For the historical thought experiment that follows, imagine there’s no traffic on Route 3A/Summer Street. Yes, it’s not easy, and if you can’t persuade yourself, please DON’T stand in the middle of the street! You have been warned!

Summer Street, no date
Summer Street, no date

Stand in the middle of Summer Street just south of Evergreen and face north to recreate this view.  Competing merchants Myrick’s (the whole building since picked up and moved around the corner onto Evergreen) and Burges & Keith are to the left, the railroad crossing a directly ahead, and the Post Office block to the right.  The hydrants on the sidewalk give one clue to the date: no earlier than 1887, when the water pipes were laid.

Watch out there’s a buggy coming!

Summer Street looking toward Green, circa 1887
Summer Street looking toward Green, circa 1887

Step aside for the buggy, turn around 180 degrees and look up the hill toward Green Street for this view.  The stairs up to Myrick’s can just  be seen at right, although the post and rail are different than in the preceding image. The water pipes ready to be installed on both sides of the street provide the date.

Summer Street at Green Street, no date
Summer Street at Green Street, no date

Ignore the caption — you’re still on Summer Street — and walk up the hill  past Green. Turn around again. A little closer to the sidewalk, that’s right.  A corner of the Kingston Inn (now the site of the Library) can be seen at left and the columns of the Frederic C. Adams Library at right.

Howland’s Lane Bridge

Two years ago, we noted that the wooden planks in the Howland’s Lane bridge over the railroad tracks needed to be replaced, an  issue had been under discussion for a decade.  The bridge, built in the 1870s and renovated during the 1930s, is now closed for repairs.  Rocky Nook’s primary water main, carried over the tracks underneath the bridge, will also be upgraded. See here and here for details.

Here are few early images of the bridge and the surrounding area.

How peaceful is this setting in the fields. One can hardly imagine the many trains that now go to steadily stream to and from Plymouth each day.

The Standish monument already stood across the Bay, but other familiar elements were missing.  Howland’s Lane was not yet unpaved. No water line crossed the bridge. No one lived in Rocky Nook. Gray’s Beach Park was still a marshy, rocky shore.  Shade trees stood few and far between.  It’s easy to imagine old Joshua Delano walking along the tracks, travelling from his warehouse at the wharf now named for him  to his home on Main Street for his mid-day meal.

I hear that train a-coming…

For more about Old Colony Railroad, check out the Local History Room’s exhibit case.

The Engine <i>Mayflower</i>, no date
The Engine Mayflower, no date

At one of their earliest meetings, the Directors of the Old Colony Railroad  voted to give the engines historical names related to Plymouth. The “Mayflower” along with the “Miles Standish” pulled the very first trainload of dignitaries officials on the railroad’s inaugural excursion on November 8, 1845.