Category Archives: Past

Posts appears on Past Exhibits page, and possibly some others TBD. Use this for posts that have value over time to the public (please don’t use it as a substitute for documenting staff work).

2017 Solar Eclipse

2017 Solar Eclipse at the Kingston Public Library!

The Kingston Public Library provided close to 1000 patrons with free solar eclipse glasses!  Residents of Kingston and surrounding communities gathered at the Library to view the solar eclipse and share their interest in space science and astronomy.    It was a beautiful day, and everyone got a great view of the event of the century!

Carved in Stone

Kingston has grave stones that predate the town.  Photos of some of them are in the display case this month.

Charles Little July 25, 1724
Charles Little July 25, 1724
Sarah B. Loring July 12, 1851
Sarah B. Loring July 12, 1851
Henry Davis May 10, 1802
Henry Davis May 10, 1802
Peleg Wadsworth Feb. 24, 1790
Peleg Wadsworth Feb. 24, 1790
William Drew May 10,1795
William Drew May 10,1795
Sarah Sever Aug. 25, 1756
Sarah Sever Aug. 25, 1756
Lydia Drew Dec. 27, 1800
Lydia Drew Dec. 27, 1800
Priscilla Wiswall June 3, 1724
Priscilla Wiswall June 3, 1724

 

 

Source: Jones River Village Historical Society Lantern Slides IC4

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

It’s National Library Card Sign-up Month

Do you have a library card?

Kingston Library Association card, 1872
Kingston Library Association card, 1872

If not, please stop by the Library and get one, and take a look at this month’s Local History exhibit featuring some older library registers and cards.

Source: Frederic C. Adams Library and  Kingston Public Library Collection MC22

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

Summertime

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

There’s a new exhibit in the Local History case in the Library lobby.  Stop by to see photos of summers past in Kingston: ice cream, beaches, picnics and more.

 

Source: Mary Hathaway Collection MC21

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

The last Presidents Day (this December)

Signatures from out Presidential letters
Signatures from out Presidential letters

Tomorrow, December 30, is the last Presidents Day here at the Library.  We’ve had our letters from Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John Quincy Adams and  Thomas Jefferson (who apparently didn’t have a middle name) on display for a few selected day this month, but this is the last time for a while.

They’ll still be here afterwards, of course, but in the dark and cool of the Local History Room, for safekeeping. Stop by and see them tomorrow.