Tag Archives: Kingston history

Where were you when …?

Photograph held by the Local History Room, Kingston Public Library

On October 20, 1948, a 30-ton finback whale came ashore north of the town pier at the end of River Street (or the Ah-De-Nah). Measuring 42 feet in length, this would have usually been a human interest story, but it developed into a Board of Health problem when it became necessary to move it … (continued below)

Find out more in the upcoming Kingston 300 book, an illustrated history for the town’s 300th anniversary. To learn more about the project join us at an open house May 18 from 6:30-8 pm at the Adams Center!

Topics at the open house include:

– Share proposed scope of book, topics so far
– Hear your ideas
– Meet fellow contributors
– Timeline for contributions and publishing
– Show sample writing styles and lengths, guidelines
– Visual content: photos, maps, postcards
– Alongside the book: Gathering oral histories; dig deeper with online resources; social media

… continuing a “Whale of a Tale”

It became necessary to move it.

The Highway Department with the additional help of power machinery loaded the whale on a heavy duty platform trailer and carried it to the town dump where it was buried. The said dump was a huge hole under what is now the Summer Street Plaza, site of Stop and Shop today.

My grandparents lived on River Street so we had good seats to the process, which took several days as special equipment had to be obtained and town decisions took as long in those days as today, even without cell phones. The longer it took, the more people visited the site becoming a traffic mess (River Street was almost dead-end as the streets to the south were only dirt roads) and the decomposition odor was awful.

—Jan Guidoboni

Photograph held by the Local History Room

If you’re having a “Gray” day, consider this …

Ah-De-Nah before snow-rain mix, January 2023

Back in 1767, a Kingston farmer named John Gray eeked out a living during the grim winter. He  kept a diary with brief entries about those raw January days.

Gray operated a large farm in today’s Rocky Nook, spent some early years at sea, and later served as a colonel in the Revolution. Here are some daily excerpts over two weeks in January 1767:

9 Fryday (sic) – Cut and carted one load of wood.

10 Saturday – Butchered 1 swine and it begins to snow. Mended my hog sty.

11 Sabbath – Heard Mr. Rand preach from Matthew 17.5. Pleasant weather.

12 Monday – Winnowed out the wheat and began to thresh my rye.

12 Tuesday – Threshed rye. Etc. Rainy.

14 Wednesday – Ditto and winnowed 5 bushels.

…20 Tuesday – The ice begins to thaw. I am in hopes of striving with a team soon. Carted 1 load of wood for S.G.

21 Wednesday – Cut and carted 1 load of wood. Removed the widow Robbins household goods and carted her 1 load of wood. It begins to be very cold.

22 Thursday – The ways are rough and icy. This morning small showers of snow and cold. Went to mill. Bad traveling.

When we tire of grinding it out, it can be fun to look back!

Help us spread the word about Kingston 300, a volunteer project compiling a new illustrated history of Kingston for its 300th anniversary in 2026. We invite contributors of family histories and anecdotes, less known bits of local history, photos, other art, and much more! Contact Ken Brack at kenbrack5@gmail.com or the other directors listed on our website, http://www.kingston300book.com.

Courtesy of Tom Vendetti, “The Diaries of Colonel John Gray – Kingston Farmer, Revolutionary War Patriot, Town Officer.” River House Publishing, Kingston. 2020.