March 22 is World Water Day, a day to focus attention on the importance of water. In honor of the occasion, take a look at this selection of images of some of our local bodies of water.
To learn more about Kingston’s rivers, ponds, and brooks, check out Places around Town.
For more information about World Water Day and this year’s theme—”Nature for Water”—go to worldwaterday.org.
Source: Images from the Emily Fuller Drew Collection (MC16).
The Great Bridge, or the bridge over Main Street (Route 3A) where the road intersects with Brook Street, did not receive its name because of its architectural significance, but because it carried the Great Road, running from Plymouth to Boston, over the Jones River.
The early history of this bridge and its predecessors is noted in the Town’s Annual Report from 1895. (These Annual Reports are great sources of information about Kingston’s history. We have a set here at the library if you’d like to check them out.) The yearly recap about the Great Bridge is as follows (phrases bolded for emphasis only in this post):
Horatio Adams, Alexander Holmes, and Azel H. Sampson were chosen a committee to make the alterations in the highway near the Great Bridge, ordered by the County Commissioners upon petition of George B. Thomas, and others, and a new arch bridge has been substituted for the arch and flat covered bridges, equal in construction and workmanship to any stone structure in this part of the State. As there has been some controversy over the history of the bridges built over the river at this place at different periods, the following may be interesting to some of our people: The first bridge was a wooden structure, and was built in 1715. This existed until 1825, when, at a town meeting held May 2nd, it was voted, “That a committee of five persons be chosen with authority to contract in behalf of the town for a new bridge to be built where the Boston Road crosses Jones River, to have a stone covering, to be 25 feet wide, and of such height as the committee shall judge the public good requires, and the following persons were chosen: Thomas P. Beal, Richard F. Johnson, Eli Cook, James Sever, Esq., and John Thomas.”
Four years later—April 6, 1829—it was voted “To choose a committee of seven persons to investigate the state of the bridge over Jones River, and the following persons were chosen: Eli Cook, John Sever, Joseph Holmes, Zebulon Bisbee, Robert Cook, Nathaniel Faunce, and Benjamin Delano.” Voted also, “That the committee be instructed to proceed immediately to examine the state of the bridge and to make a report of the result of their examination at the adjournment of this meeting.”
At the adjournment, the committee reported as follows: “The committee appointed to examine the shattered bridge near Timothy French’s have attended that service and report:
First—That in their opinion said bridge may and ought to be repaired upon its original foundation, and the bottom thereof made secure from undermining by a plank platform.
Second—That there be made one other arch or passageway for water on the North-west of, and near the present archway of seven feet in ye clear, built and covered with stone.
Third—The committee have made an estimate of the probable expense of repairs and alterations as above, and believe the whole may be done for the sum of $250.
By order of ye Committee,
ELI COOK, Chairman.”
They then “voted to accept the above report and that the Selectmen make the alterations and repairs to the bridge which are recommended in said report.”
The bills that were paid by the town are in evidence that the arch bridge was built in 1825, and the Northerly passageway in 1829, in accordance with the votes passed by the town.
Check out these photos, taken not long before the 1895 Annual Report.
Emily Drew wrote that the image above was captured “either in 1886 when they were laying our water mains or in 1890 when the street car system (trolley electric) was being installed.” She draws attention to the men “either raising a pole (a trolley pole) or lowering a length of pipe into the trench.” Even without her clues about its date, you can tell that this is the bridge that was repaired in 1829 because of the square arch to the left of the round arch.
Here’s the view looking West, likely taken the same day, as evidenced by that pole/pipe.
Now take a look at the bridge (below) built in 1895.
Notice the single arch?
As always, you can send your comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: Block quote from the Town of Kingston Annual Report of 1895, part of the Town of Kingston Publications (TOK4), and additional information from Emily Fuller Drew’s lantern card slide file, part of the Jones River Village Historical Society Lantern Slide Collection (IC4). Images from the Local History Room Image Collection (IC7) and the Delano Photograph Collection (IC11) .
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.
Source: Images from the Emily Fuller Drew Collection (MC16).
Yes, the Local History Room is full of old stuff, but sometimes we get new old stuff, new to us anyway. One of our recent accessions is a small trove of photographs, most not well identified, of boats built by George W. Shiverick in his shop on the Jones River. This unique collection was donated by Shiverick’s grand-daughter.
This particular snapshot stands out because it’s labeled in the hand of former Frederic C. Adams Librarian Ethel J. Shiverick (George’s daughter-in-law, in case you didn’t know) as follows:
Geo. W. Shiverick aboard “Alice,” personal boat, named for wife. EJS
We have so few paper fragments of this legendary boat-builder’s life and work, that a photo of him in his very own boat is just special.
Source: George W. Shiverick Collection AC8
The Elm Street dam may go the way of its upstream relative, the dam at Triphammer Falls just off Wapping Road, which was removed in 2011. The question of dam removal is a complex one, made doubly so in Kingston and other New England towns by the age of many of the dams.
To find out more about the issue, take a look at the FAQ and other information about dam removals posted by American Rivers, a non-profit focused restoration and conservation of rivers across the country; and at the Dam and Seawall Repair or Removal Fund run by Massachusetts’ Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.
Here are some photographs of the Elm Street dam when it was new, sometime in the 1920s.
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)
Kingston’s Town Administrator wrote yesterday
As many of you know, the town is awaiting a new Harbormaster Patrol Boat, which is estimated to arrive around July 17th, and perhaps sooner. This purchase was authorized at this year’s special town meeting.
The Board of Selectmen have offered a “contest” to name the boat for the town. The person who submits the name chosen will be given a maiden voyage around Kingston Harbor on the boat, along with family and/or friends to the maximum allowed on the boat.
So, please submit your entries to me with a copy to Laurie, and pass along the info on this contest to others in your department, and/or in the town!
Here are some possibilities from the Local History Room. Submit your own to the Town Administrator’s office (see here for how to)
Chesperus, owned by Chester Fuller (or possibly his talking dog).
Arteola, owned by Charles Drew, in a photo from Old Home Day, 1908.
Matchless owned by Captain James (or John) Drew.
Tiger, the only steamer built in Kingston, built by Edward Ransom in 1898, owned by him, A.J.Hill, C.A. Ransom and Henry S. West.
Kittiwake V, built by George Shiverick for Henry M. Jones.
Herculean, built in 1839 by Joseph and Horace Holmes, owned by Joseph Holmes.
Ship Herculean of Kingston, Benjamin Cook, Master, 1840
The 7 foot figure head weighed in at 800 pounds, heavy enough to cause the ship to leak. It was repurposed as a garden statue, where it stood among the shrubs for many years.
Finally, though there is no painting or photo, Independence, for the very first ship of the U.S. Navy, built in Kingston and seen here on the Town Seal, designed by Helen Foster.
Without a date, it’s hard to know if this train belonged to the Old Colony Rail Road, or the Old Colony and Fall River, or the Old Colony and Newport (you can imagine that Fall River was a little peeved when that happened), or the New York, New Haven and Hartford, or some other corporate conglomerate name for the railroad that ran through Kingston starting in 1845. It is the bridge that crosses the Jones River, so it is at least fixed in place.
The Local History Room is closed for summer vacation. See you in August!