We’ve got a new exhibit in the Library lobby. Stop by and take a look.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
From 1889 to 1928, trolleys ran through Kingston, every half hour or so, reaching Brockton to the west and Manomet to the east. The line was run by three companies in succession: the Plymouth & Kingston, the Brockton & Plymouth, and the Plymouth & Brockton (and if that last one seems familiar, that’s because they still run buses between Logan Airport and Provincetown). There’s not much left of the street railway, but you can stop by the Library to see photos of some of the trolleys in the exhibit case this month.
Source: OC2 Vertical Files – Trolleys. “Brockton & Plymouth Street Railway” by O.R. Cummings. In Transportation Bulletin, No. 59, July-August-September 1959. Inserted between pages 2 and 3.
This month, the Local History exhibit case at the Kingston Public Library features a few football artifacts loaned to us by the Silver Lake Regional High School Library. Recently Coach John Montosi, who led the Lakers football team from 1960 to 1980, donated six scrapbooks to the school. These volumes, created by Montosi’s mother Dorothy, document the coach’s career and the team’s development over two decades which ended with a Division Championship and a Super Bowl win.
The artifacts will be on display through early December. The scrapbooks will be available in the Kingston Public Library through December 31; please contact the Archivist for an appointment. In 2014, the scrapbooks will return to the Silver Lake Library.
Thanks to Linda Redding, SLRHS Librarian, for making this exhibit possible!
Ring ring goes the bell
The cook in the lunchroom ready to sell
Chuck Berry — “School Days”
For September’s lobby case exhibit, the Local History Room presents highlights from a great collection of photographs of Kingston Elementary School dating from 1952 to 1966. These class portraits and candid shots were collected by Florence Esther DiMarzio, who taught at KES from 1920 to 1958 and served as principal for 34 of those 38 years. In addition to 180 prints, the Local History Room has digital copies of another 20 photographs held in a private collection.
We haven’t identified everyone in the photos, so if you know who some of them are, ask for a photocopy, label the people you know and return it to the Local History Room. We’ll put in their Permanent Records!
In honor of this most American holiday, here are a few views of one of our favorite floats from the inaugural year: the “Guardians of the Clam Flats.”
Source: LHR General Images IC7 (top two); Hathaway Collection MC21
And now, a word from our sponsors…
If you can spare a moment, please help the Library Needs Assessment Committee plan for the Library’s future by sharing your thoughts and ideas in this short survey. Even if you don’t currently use the Library, we want your input.
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.
The blocks, along with photographs from the Local History Room, as on display this month in the Library lobby.
If you’ve ever wondered why the building at 7 Green Street, right across from the Library, has a sign on the front that reads “Adams Lodge, IOOF, 1900” stop by and have a look at this month’s exhibit.