The Liberty Bell came through Kingston!
Yes, THAT Liberty Bell! And we have five glass plate negatives to help tell the tale.
Between 1885 and 1915, the Bell gallivanted around the country — down to New Orleans, across to Chicago, all the way to California — on a special flatbed railcar. In 1903, one of those trips brought the famed Bell to Boston for a commemoration of the Battle of Bunker Hill, then south to Plymouth on June 18th.
The Boston Globe proclaimed the event “one grand ovation.” After an estimated 50,000 people saw the Bell on Boston Common, hundreds more lined the tracks and thronged the stations as the train carried this most American symbol from South Station to meet its less-travelled cousin, Plymouth Rock.
On its journey, the Bell was guarded by patrolmen from Philadelphia and Boston — “their work was not arduous” said the Globe — watched over by GAR veterans and active military escorts, and accompanied by politicos and tycoons who “scattered flowers and other Liberty Bell souvenirs” to the singing, flag-waving crowds at each station stop.
The celebration in Plymouth included a sumptuous banquet at the Hotel Pilgrim, patriotic tunes, and speeches galore. The sizable Philadelphia delegation even got to stand on Plymouth Rock!
Though Kingston was not specifically mentioned in the Globe, we know the Bell came through on the way to Plymouth and back. This last image gives some idea of how Kingston celebrated. [If something about this image seems strange to you, you’re right! It’s reproduced in reverse, as is the third photo above.]
The Liberty Bell’s last train trip was to San Francisco in 1915. Officials determined that in 30 years of crossing the country, the Bell had lost 1% of itself along the way and this American icon has remained home in Philadelphia for the last 99 years.
Sources: Glass plate negatives from the Margaret Warnsman Collection MC30 (scans federally funded with LSTA funds through the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners and digitized at the Boston Public Library in conjunction with the Digital Commonwealth); “Seen by 50,000 on Common,” Boston Globe, June 19, 1903; Liberty Bell Timeline; National Park Service “The Liberty Bell: From Obscurity to Icon”
Emily Fuller Drew captured what feels like the deep cooling shade of a summer afternoon in these two photos. A familiar scene, yes, but the quality of the light makes something special of it.
Source: Emily Fuller Drew Collection MC16, negatives scanned by the Digital Commonwealth/Boston Public Library.
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!
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.
Now that the summer weather has arrived, do you miss the snow? The glass plate negative above shows Main Street looking north to Linden Street, while the one below shows the opposite view south on Main near the intersection with Brook Street.
Around 1946, the Town’s Honor Roll, which listed those Kingston residents who served in World War II, got an eagle. It was carved by Captain Fred Bailey, who fashioned at least two.
When the Honor Roll was taken down — it was replaced by the monument where Main Street crosses Route 3 — Holmes asked for the eagle. It stayed in his family until very recently, when it landed here in the Library, to be cared for by the Local History Room.
The trolley ran through Kingston from 1889 to 1928, and while the traffic definitely increased in the summer, the cars ran all winter too. In 1922, when the Brockton & Plymouth (successor to the Plymouth & Kingston and predecessor to the Plymouth & Brockton) owned the line, the rolling stock included three snowplow cars. One is shown here, scanned from a glass plate negative copy of an earlier photographic print.
Many thanks to Joe Colby, Head Custodian at the Recreation Department, for letting us know that today is the birthday of the Reed Community Building! The photograph above appeared in The Civic Progress of Kingston (Memorial Press of Plymouth, 1926) and was accompanied by Sarah DeNormandie Bailey’s text:
And this summer the town is to receive as a wonderful birthday remembrance the crowning gift of a beautiful Community House, given by Mr. and Mrs. Edgar Reed of Worcester. The Playground Committee must feel as if Aladdin’s lamp had been given to them and they had only to name a wish and have it granted. how many times have I heard their plans for a Community House and smiled to myself at the enthusiasm which could even dream of such a building, — and now it is all going to be true, only so much more and better than even the wildest dreams. It is a proud and happy Mother Town which inspires a love in the heart of a son and daughter which lives through many years to blossom at last in a gift like this.
Below is the actual building standing proudly over the ball fields in its first decade. Here’s to many more!
On Saturday, November 3, the Adams Building will be open to the public from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. with a dedication ceremony at 2:00.