The Revere Bell Returns to Canton
After more than 188 years, a bell cast by Joseph Warren Revere in 1834 has been returned as part of a donation to the Revere Heritage Trust. You can read the full story here.
Receiving Tomb and Vaults Being Preserved
The Canton Corner Cemetery is a major contributing element in the Canton Corner Historic District and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (2009). In May of 2015, Town Meeting approved Community Preservation Act funding for the development of design plans for restoring the large receiving tomb and adjacent vaults and for stabilizing grave sites on a nearby knoll in the Canton Corner Cemetery.
Detailed design plans and cost estimates were provided by Structures North in the Fall of 2015, and the Canton Historical Commission sought additional CPA funding to undertake a portion of the work set forth in those plans. Now, three years in the design and planning stages has yielded the ongoing work. The approved funding of $160,000 is being used to restore and preserve the Receiving Tomb which dates back to 1882 as well as the three tomb vaults which date back even further to 1837. In their current condition, the tomb and vaults pose a significant public safety hazard. This historic preservation project will ensure that these landmarks within one of the oldest sections of the cemetery will persist to be studied and enjoyed by future generations.
Several historic details are being restored as part of this project. The iron doors, small slit windows and the repointing of the entire granite structure. Also, historic Quincy Granite is being sourced to create new caps for the facade to ensure a watertight element over the east facing wall.
This project is being managed by the Department of Public Works and the Canton Historical Commission.
Raffle tickets are now on sale for a handmade quilt that features 24 squares depicting Canton's most historic sites. Each of the hand stitched depictions were drawn by local artist, Elaine Lowry. The quilt was made by several women who each hand-stitched designs that showcase our beloved cultural sites. Tickets are now on sale for a $5.00 donation or three for $10.00.
Tickets can be purchased at:
Janet Pratt Real Estate - 1475 Washington Street
Helen's Hair Salon - 14 Forge Pond
Flowers by Ami - 1 Washington Street - Cobb Corner.
Or, buy them online. Drawing held on September 9th at 2:00 pm at the Canton Historical Society.
Removing The Veil of Time
Volunteers Will Help Preserve History
The Canton Historical Commission in partnership with the Society are embarking on a Community Preservation Project that protects and preserves the Old English Burying Ground and the Proprietor’s Lot; both burying grounds are located in one location. The "English Graveyard" portion: this is the portion closest to Washington Street is bisected by the asphalt walkway that leads to the "Proprietor's Lot" section. It is the younger portion of the cemetery and the original "English Graveyard" was established after 1754.
The "Proprietor's Lot" portion: this is the area of the oldest burials lies at the top of the hill. The land was used as early as 1700 and the deed was procured in 1741. After the Canton Corner Cemetery was established in 1716, only the descendants of the original proprietors continued to use this portion of the cemetery.
The bulk of this project is intended to clean a total of forty-four (44) historic gravestones. These stones, over time, have advanced biological growth, which obscures and obliterates the carvings. There are ten stones that are in need of advanced repair, and experts will repair and reset these stones. In the case of the repairs, six stones require washing and resetting, and 10 will require advanced work and repair including the casting of new bases. Three remaining stones are highly fragmented and will require additional research in order to develop a preservation plan. Finally, two stones that were surveyed in 1995 are missing, and it is assumed that they may be located and reset during this work.
Always Moving Forward
The Canton Historical Society has embarked on several new projects, both big and small, that are making an impact in so many ways. It seems like a great time to share some of the things we have been working on.
Read more about our new high speed internet, a new lease on life for the Tilden House, and fundraising that is making an impact on preserving our past.
The David Tilden House
Our connection to the Tilden House is quite significant, not the least of which is the fact that Katherine Sullivan, a past president of the Society, was one of the founders of the Friends of the Little Red House in 1973. In addition, we hold within our collection the oldest known whole-cloth quilt in America – The Martha Howard Quilt from 1786. As you may know, Martha Howard was married to First Congregational minister Zachariah Howard and resided in the David Tilden House, known as “The Little Red House.” The quilt is synonymous with the Tilden House in that it was a fragile textile nearing the end of its life, and we painstakingly preserved it as a treasure for generations to come. We intend to preserve the house in which the quilt was made.
We are in the unique position to undertake the restoration and care of the Tilden House. As such, we are entering into a 25-year lease for the Tilden House and the immediate land around the house. Our members are closely aligned with the mission of preservation and would be key to the long-term viability and subsequent use of the building. We have a track record in the care of properties and buildings. Our headquarters at 1400 Washington Street is a substantial building that was constructed in 1911. We have a standing building committee cares for and ensures we maintain museum quality standards in our building systems and collection management. The future of plans for the Tilden include creating educational lessons that help showcase 1st period building techniques. Long-term plans will allow the Society to bring small groups through the house to see exhibits on Canton's earliest pioneers.
In April, the Society, under the leadership of George Comeau submitted a grant request for $100,000 to the Massachusetts Historical Commission under the Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund - Round 24. A funding decision will be made on June 12th. And, in tandem, State Representative William Galvin submitted legislation that would fund $100,000 of the preservation work in next year's budget. Finally, Annual Town Meeting has been asked to affirm the award of $360,000 to the lessee. Work on the Tilden could begin later this summer. Stay tuned and learn more at TildenHouse.org
The April 7th Yard Sale at the American Legion Hall was a wonderful success. People passed through
continuously all day and this exposure to the “Histy,” to so many, will help the society move ahead. Thank You to all the volunteers who helped prepare the items for the sale and worked at the sale. We also made the Canton Senior Center and the Unitarian Universalist Church very pleased when we dropped off some of our good quality leftovers; the Senior Center has a gift closet and several of the items will have a new life as we pay it forward.
President Paul Mitcheroney recently gave us an overview of projects completed at the Society headquarters this year. The recently completed work includes new window shades to protect the collection and a new irrigation system to protect the brand new lawn. We have installed new IT systems including a new computer, new scanner, a connector to the internet through a Fios broadband connection. For the first time in over 100 years, we now have a phone, 781-615-9040. Soon, our catalog will be available online for researchers across the globe.
Finally, and most importantly, we have installed a stat-of-the-art climate control system which keeps the collection safe from humidity and temperature changes. The new system is cost efficient and uses natural gas. And yet, more needs are in our future. The building will require interior repairs to the "lighthouse" cupola and the building needs a new front door and a plan to create full ADA accessibility.
A Quarterly Meeting was held Sunday, March 11th, at the Canton Historical Society. Jonathan Lane, coordinator of Revolution 250, was our speaker. Revolution 250 is a consortium of organizations working together to commemorate the 250th anniversaries of the events that led to the American Revolution. Jonathan spoke of several of the planned events taking place over the next 10 year throughout New England. These planned happenings will culminate in 2026, 250 years since the colonies declared independence from the British Empire. A few events for 2018 include the landing of the Red Coats at Long Wharf and taking over the city, the capture of Paul Revere, the Lexington Battle, the Boston Tea Party and the story of Deborah Sampson. Learn more on the web at revolution250.orgrevolution250.org/
The stage is set! Join two Canton historians (George Comeau and James Roache) on a public tour of this heritage redevelopment site. Centrally located in the town, the Paul Revere Heritage Site is a 40-acre allotment along the Neponset River. The former industrial site is currently being adapted for contemporary reuse, and shall build townhouses, condos, apartments, a dog park, trails, and a park with historic features. The future 9-acre park contains the historic Revere & Son copper-rolling mill and the Joseph Warren Revere Barn. The complex was founded by Paul Revere and proved to be the birthplace of the nation’s copper industry. Current redevelopment concepts being explored call for the mill to be used as a heritage museum and cultural center, and the barn to be transformed into a destination restaurant.
Tours are limited to 20 spaces at a time, and advance space must be reserved (free.)
Saturday, October 8th at 9:00 am and 10:00 am
Sunday, October 16th at 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm, and 3:00pm
Wear comfortable shoes, this is a walking tour.
Reserve your advance tickets (free) by clicking this link.
Note James Roache will be available on October 16th only.
The Canton Historical Society raised over $1200 by simply selling OPJ (other people's junk.) On a stunningly beautiful September morning, dozens of volunteers arrived early in the morning to setup an old fashioned yard sale on the lawn of the Canton Public Library. Under the direction of Carol Munson, there was a flash of vim and vigor as tables and tents arose to help create the day. Funds raised will go towards the cost of restoring and preserving the Cranes Guard's Flag - one of the oldest militia flags in the Commonwealth.
The Canton Historical Society held a special exhibit at the Canton Public Library as a way to showcase the breadth of nationally recognized artifacts from the collection. On display, the public had a firsthand opportunity to see the Martha Howard Whole Cloth Quilt which is the oldest and perhaps finest of its kind in America. The exhibit was the brainchild of Marie Gibbs, who has tirelessly devoted her passion and energy to preserving our early textile collection. In addition to two quilts., the exhibit also featured the premiere of the Martha Howard Petticoat which had been conserved through a generous grant by the Canton Community Preservation Act (CPA). The petticoat, dating to the early 1820's, had most recently been painstakingly preserved by Windsor Conservation in Dover, MA. The process took almost a year, and now is a resplendent example of a period dress that was made by one of Canton's leading citizens.
Also on display was the 1822 Crane's Guards Drum that had been conserved by the Society two years ago. By the side of the drum the Society chose to share the Crane's Guard Flag which is the subject of a 2016 CPA Grant that will conserve and protect this nearly two hundred year-old silk militia flag. The importance of this artifact is that it depicts one of the earliest painted military flags with the Great Seal of Massachusetts on its face. On the obverse is a scene of the Canton Militia mustering at a meeting house with the Great Blue Hill in the background. The flag, once conserved, will be a primary source for scholars and researchers hoping to glean an in-depth understanding of early militias in New England.
Also on display were a series of rare textile samplers., maps and important colonial documents. All of the items were either candidates for preservation or had been recently preserved by experts. The breadth of the collection on display helped illuminate the importance of preserving our local history in the context of regional and national connections. The Canton Historical Society is proud to share our stories and artifacts with a greater audience, and the public display certainly made great strides in connecting the donations, grants, and gifts with a wider public and the citizens of Canton.
Early musical instruments featured at the MFA
On the evening of April 6th, Darcy Kuronen, Curator of Musical Instruments at the MFA, presented a look at the invention and development of the harmonica in the early 1800’s. On hand for demonstration and examination were some rare examples of “mouth organs” by James Wheatstone of London and James Bazin of Canton, Massachusetts. Mr. Kuronen borrowed James Bazin’s early reed creations from the Canton Historical Society for the demonstration. Darcy actually played tunes with these early instruments.
We know Bazin (pronounced Bay-Zahn) continued to develop more intricate and larger reed instruments. In our museum we have several Bazin collectibles including a small harp, 2 organ piano fortes from 1853, couple of reed based lap organs and of course his rare pitch pipe, first harmonica and two trumpet harmonicas. We are told Mr. Bazin played his reed trumpet accompanying the choir at the Unitarian Church in Canton Corner. It is claimed that you could hear his music a mile away!
Contemporary harmonicas were also discussed and demonstrated by jazz harmonists, Mike Turk. Mike entertained the audience with wonderful tunes from his latest harmonica.
Learn more about James Bazin, and next time you are at the Histy - ask to hear one of the earliest reed instruments in America.
An occasional compendium of news and happenings at the Histy and historic preservation in Canton.