Summer’s Last Hurrah


As we enjoy the last week or so of summer, take a look at this fantastic image taken by Kingston historian and photographer, Emily Fuller Drew, showing the Bearse and Drew families enjoying a clambake. It was taken around 1925 and gets even more interesting the longer you look at it. Many of the people here are looking in down toward the right, and the man in the center is reaching his arm down as well. Could he be offering up a table scrap to the family dog? What do you think? Let us know.


Source: Image from the Emily Fuller Drew Collection (MC16).

Posted in Events, People | Tagged | Leave a comment

New Exhibit: The Allerton Site

The Local History Room has a special exhibit for September! This month we’re featuring a selection of artifacts that were excavated from the Isaac Allerton Site on Spring Street back in 1972.


Photograph held by the Local History Room

Allerton Site, 1972

Orfeo Sgarzi had been about to begin construction on his new house when he and his architect, Christopher Hussey, discovered a scattering of artifacts. This led to an archaeological dig undertaken by a crew of archaeologists and volunteers from Plimoth Plantation, led by Assistant Director, Dr. James Deetz. Together, they found a number of important artifacts, including a seal-top spoon, a King James I farthing, a bale seal, an almost fully-restorable wine bottle, a stirrup, a pitchfork, the blade of a shovel, pieces of smoking pipes, projectile points, nails, shells, and an assortment of glass and ceramic shards, among others. Additionally, they uncovered the remains of not just one, but two house structures, the first having been built around 1630 and the second around 1650.

The Allerton Site is one of the earliest archaeological sites in the Plymouth Colony area, and at the time it was excavated, the 1630’s structure was the first earthfast or post-in-ground house to be discovered in New England. Stop by to check out this fascinating collection! It will be displayed in the lobby exhibit case for the entire month.


Source: This image comes from the Local History Room Image Collection (IC7).

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New Exhibit: It’s Been a Pleasure to do Business With You…

There’s a new exhibit in the Local History Room’s lobby display case featuring photos, artifacts, and ephemera from a selection of notable Kingston businesses, including H. K. Keith & Company Store, Toabe’s Hardware, Tura’s Pharmacy, Ye Kyng’s Towne Sweetes, and the stores of Myrick’s Block.

Old Railroad Station and Burges and Bailey Store, 1868

Old Railroad Station (left) and Burges & Bailey Store (right), 1868

It will be up until the end of August. Stop by and check it out!


Source: Image from Jones River Village Historical Society Lantern Slides IC4.

Posted in Commerce, Exhibit | Tagged | Leave a comment

Throwback Thursday: Myrick’s Tin Shop

In honor of Throwback Thursday, let’s take a look back at a moment in Kingston’s past!


Myrick’s Tin Shop, Summer Street, 1876

Over 140 years ago, William H. Myrick of Kingston entered the tinsmith’s business, and his first shop was located on Summer Street. Emily Fuller Drew, a Kingston resident and the creator of the lantern slide shown above, kept a card file of valuable information about the images she took. The file for this image reads:

55. Myrick’s Tin Shop & Cart, 1876

Building used previously as a finishing shop for augers by “Uncle” Nahum Bailey. Such work as did not require water power, such as filing and hand polishing, could be done here. All else was done at the Stony Brook Mill. The work, or the use of the building, antedates that at the Mill (1805). Later Myrick (Wm. H.) used, as shown, as tin shop and stove works. The tin car went the rounds of the outlying districts, serving the more distant farm-wives, bartering tinware and the like for eggs, fowl and other farm produce.

She expands on her description in her notebooks, explaining:

The tin cart was always a curious sight, especially when it started out in the morning from the shop. Tinware, brooms, wooden buckets and other wares hung from every conceivable spot, so that “those who ran” might see. At first only metals wares were carried, but soon all sorts of household conveniences were added, and they became small departments stores in themselves…Mr. Myrick built up quite a business, of tinware, later stoves and furnace heating equipment. He soon outgrew his small shop with metal ware and stoves alone; then he built in 1878 the block at the corner of Summer and Evergreen Street, which bears his name, and increased his business to correspond.


Myrick’s Block, about 1878

As you can see, this building was a great improvement! Myrick’s store was on the second floor, while the post office, O. B. Cole’s Apothecary, Cantori’s fruit store, and Stegmaier’s Barber Shop were on the ground floor. The building even had a dentist, Dr. A. C. Woodward. In this image, William Myrick Sr. and William Myrick Jr. are both standing on the top steps.

Myrick’s Block was eventually moved from its location at 48 Summer Street to 78 Evergreen Street by Edgar W. Loring, Inc. for use in his wood, coal, and cranberry business around 1940. The building is now occupied by Kingston Sheet Metal.


Both of these images are part of the Jones River Village Historical Society’s collection here in the Local History Room. As always, if you have any questions or comments about Kingston history, you can send us an email at You can also visit the Jones River Village Historical Society’s website for current information about the Major John Bradford Homestead and the group, including membership and events.



Source: Text from Emily Fuller Drew’s lantern slide card file and notebooks; images from Jones River Village Historical Society Lantern Slides IC4. Scanned with LSTA funds through the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners and digitized at the Boston Public Library in conjunction with the Digital Commonwealth)


For more, visit the Kingston Public Library, and the Local History Room, and the full blog at

Posted in Commerce, Houses | Tagged | Leave a comment

New Exhibit: The Colossal Elephant!

We have a new exhibit up in the Local History Room’s lobby display case featuring well-known Kingston resident and capitalist, Horatio Adams, and an exciting prospectus he received for the construction of “The Colossal Elephant” at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893.


This investment opportunity was featured back in 2011 on the blog, but something so unusual and interesting deserves to be shared again. Stop by to check it out for yourself!

Posted in Exhibit | Leave a comment

New exhibit: Summertime, and vacation!

Two summer-related announcements.
First, the new exhibit in the LHR’s lobby display case features selected images of Kingston summers gone by. Just as we do today, past Kingston residents and visitors enjoyed the warmth of the brief New England summers. Stop by and have a look!

Unidentified sailboat, no date

Unidentified sailboat, no date

Second, the Local History Room will be closed for vacation July 15 to July 29. You can email questions to, or leave a voicemail at 781-585-0517 x123 (be sure to leave all of your contact information).

Happy Summer to all


Posted in Exhibit, Kingston Bay, Ships | Tagged , | Leave a comment

What’s in a name?

There’s a spot in Kingston just west of Exit 9 on Route 3, elevation about 68 feet, which has been long known as Thomas’ Hill.

Area around Thomas' Hill from Kingston GIS, 2016

Area around Thomas’ Hill from Kingston GIS, 2016

[This screen shot is from the Town’s GIS, which is just amazing. Give it a try!]

In her 1933 description of Kingston place names, Emily Fuller Drew tells us that

Colonel Thomas’ Hill is located from the Great Bridge up the slope, going south of the River. This hill was named for the Thomas family whose home was located on the hill.

That’s this house.

John Thomas House, Thomas Hill, 156 Main Street, circa 1900

John Thomas House, Thomas Hill, 156 Main Street, circa 1900

Here’s a view south, up the hill towards the Thomas House, taken from a spot just before the Great Bridge over the Jones River.

Main Street, looking south up Thomas' Hill, circa 1900

Main Street, looking south up Thomas’ Hill, circa 1900

And here are a couple of views looking the opposite way down the hill.

Kingston Village from Col. Thomas' Hill in 1838, reproduced 1975

Kingston Village from Col. Thomas’ Hill in 1838, reproduced 1975

[This wood cut is from this book, originally published in 1839.]


Main Street, looking north down Thomas' Hill, 1876

Main Street, looking north down Thomas’ Hill, 1876

And here’s one of indeterminate direction, but with a nice shady feel to it.

Strolling on Thomas' Hill, 1890

Strolling on Thomas’ Hill, 1890


These images all bear the description “Thomas’ Hill,” because that’s what’s it’s been called for quite some time.  Now, though, there’s a need to update our shared geographical vocabulary. There’s a whole group of Kingstonians with a completely different point of reference, for whom this area doesn’t relate at all to an 18th century Kingston family or their stately home atop the hill.

Let the historical record now reflect the vernacular alternative: “HoJo Hill.”


Kingston-Plymouth Howard Johnson's. Photograph courtesy of Dan Holbrook 2003, via

Kingston-Plymouth Howard Johnson’s. Photograph courtesy of Dan Holbrook 2003, via

Here’s more.


Source: Jones River Village Historical Society Lantern Slides IC4; LHR Image Collection IC7; Mitchell Toabe Papers MC18; and

For more, visit the Kingston Public Library, and the Local History Room, and the full blog at


Posted in Commerce, Environment, Houses, Landscapes | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

New exhibit: Tura’s Pharmacy

Tura's Pharmacy, November 1979

Tura’s Pharmacy, November 1979

From the 1870s until last October, Kingston had a drugstore on Summer Street. Tura’s Pharmacy has a long history, and it’s on display in the Local History Room’s exhibit case this month. Stop by the Library and check it out.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and Good Morning, 1911

Merry Christmas and Good Morning, 1911

From the fabulous Finney postcards comes this touching glimpse of two mischievous vandals and their squirrel sidekick pranking Santa while he naps.

For more Christmas goodness from the Local History Room , see here and here.


Source: Joseph Cushman Finney Papers MC11

For more, visit the Kingston Public Library, and the Local History Room, and the full blog at


Posted in Holidays | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

New exhibit: Laddie: A Christmas Story

Just for the holidays! Stop by the Library and see Laddie.

Laddie convinces Santa, 1928

This is Elspeth Hardy’s first grade class at the Faunce School (then called Center Primary) in 1915.


In 1928, she would help another group of students write a book, as she explains in the preface.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment