Howard Leavitt Horton (1904-1983) extensively annotated the back of this photograph of a three-masted schooner tied up at Hingham Harbor over one hundred years ago, melding an image, a business transaction, and a cherished childhood memory.
Schooner Lizzie C. Lane . . . Built at Searsport, Maine 1874. Burned at West Dublin Bay, Nova Scotia, June 3, 1921. 231 gross tons. 115.8’ x 29.8 x 9.2. Crew of 5.
Called at Hingham – Geo Kimball Lumber Co. about 1914 or 15 as arranged by James Wiley Gilroy, lumber merchant and nephew of my grandmother Annie Eaton Horton of Elm Street (Mrs. Geo. W. Horton), my grandfather’s second wife, who was like a mother to me after my mother’s death in 1911. I sat in Geo. Kimball’s office at the Harbor while Mr. Kimball and Mr. Gilroy made the business deal for a load of lumber shipped from Lunenberg, N.S. I saw the schooner come into Hingham a couple of months later and dock at Kimball’s Wharf and went aboard. Mr. Hough, uncle of Karl Hough, was an employee of Kimball Lumber Co. at this time.
[Signed] Howard Leavitt Horton, Sr.
P.S. This was before World War I or before U.S.A. was involved. I was in Lincoln School, 6th grade, so it was around 1914.
We don’t have many interior views this nice of the old Hingham shops. On the shelves of E. Wilder and Son Grocery Store (at 613 Main St., now the Cracker Barrel) you can see Quaker Oats, Van Houten’s Cocoa, canned foodstuffs, and various tobacco products. The man is Fred Wilder. Fred worked not only in the store, with his father Ezra, but also in a Weymouth shoe factory, where had had the enviable job of “stitcher.” Fred and his wife, Hattie Shute Wilder, lived in an apartment over the store for 12 years before moving to 606 Main Street. Fred and Hattie both worked in shoe factories in addition to caring for aging relatives and and the store.
Men took the majority of the early photographs of Hingham. As cameras became smaller and film could be sent out to be developed, women took up the hobby as well. Miss Genevieve Crosby worked as a clerk in the town accountant’s office and loved taking photographs. She picked the hobby up from her parents, Alanson and Charlotte Crosby, who took many photographs of her as she was growing up.
Genevieve Crosby prepares a shot. Gift of Genevieve Crosby. In the photographic collection of the Hingham Historical Society
Shown here on Hingham’s North Street before it was paved, Genevieve Crosby prepares a shot–and you can see the delight on her face. Crosby took a series of photos of the interior and exterior of her home at 197 North Street and of Hingham Town Hall and the surrounding areas of town. Together with snapshots of family and friends, they are now in the photograph collection of the Hingham Historical Society, providing a small window into life in Hingham in the 1920s.
Photograph of Genevieve Crosby as a small child. Gift of Genevieve Crosby. In the photographic collection of the Hingham Historical Society.
The parlor hearth of the Crosby home at 197 North Street, Hingham. Gift of Genevieve Crosby. In the photographic collection of the Hingham Historical Society
Much recent attention has been paid to Hingham’s 19th century industrial period, when our town dominated the national woodenware industry, and boxes, buckets, and wooden toys churned out of workshops and factories in South Hingham. Hingham’s former nickname “Bucket Town” is the title both of a recent book and a recent exhibition at Old Sturbridge Village.
This predominance waned in the later 1800s for a variety of reasons, but the steam-powered bucket factory that the Wilders had built on Cushing Pond in the 1840s came to a spectacular end when it burned down on Easter Day, 1902.
Fire at the Wilder Bucket Factory, Easter 1902. (Photo: Hingham Historical Society)
Fire at the Wilder Bucket Factory, Easter 1902 (Photo: Hingham Historical Society)
George E. Kimball Lumber Company, 1914.
This recently donated photograph depicts the interior of the George E. Kimball Lumber Company office on Summer Street near Hingham Harbor. The office perfectly represents the changing times around the start of the 20th century. Taken in 1914—as evidenced by the calendar on the wall to the right—the photo depicts furnishings which are a telling mix of new and old. The bentwood chair, spare tire, and cabinets filled with all manner of supplies, along with the desks themselves, show a company that has been around for years. The telephone, electric fan, and hanging electric lights are representative of a business that is readying itself for the future. Identified in the back of the photo, wearing an apron, is the mustached James M. Kimball. He would help keep the business running for years to come by shipping lumber by boat from Kimball’s Wharf or delivering it by cart to locals residents and builders. To his left is his nephew James H. Kimball. In addition to helping run Kimball Lumber, he was the leader of the Imperial Saxophone Quartet in Hingham and a member of several of Hingham’s earliest baseball teams at the end of the 19th century. The well-dressed man at the desk presumably is the eponymous George E. Kimball, father of James H. and founder of the firm.