Monday, February 23, 2009

Little Town, Big History

I've written before about living here in Duxbury, MA - a small town on the South Shore of Massachusetts, just north of Plymouth [America's Home Town]. Duxbury was founded in 1637 and has its share of historical sites.

Beginning in 2010, the U.S. Mint will be releasing five new quarter designs every year in a program called America’s Beautiful National Parks Quarter, similar to the 50 States Quarter Program. One preferred and three alternate sites in Massachusetts will be submitted to appear on the reverse side of the quarter. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is running a contest to select the four recommended historical sites out of a slew of nominated places from around the state. And, my little town has five of the ten sites nominated from my county!

The Alexander Standish House is said to date back to 1666. It is privately owned and the least known of our historical homes. It was added to the National Historic Register in 1978.

The Adlen House was the home of John and Priscilla "Speak for Thyself, John Alden" Alden. This 17th century site is still owned by the Alden Kindred of America.

King Caesar House (owned by Duxbury Rural & Historical Society).
Photo by Linda Merrill for

The King Caesar House was home to Ezra "King Caesar" Weston - a shipping magnate and one of America's first millionaires. This house, built in 1807 is classic Federal style and still retains much of it's original mouldings and pictorial wallpapers.

Built in 1840 in the then popular classic Green Revival temple style, the First Parish church was the fourth in a succession of meetinghouses which started in 1637 with the First Meeting House, led by Rev. Ralph Partridge, who assisted the aging Elder William Brewster, who was the original founder of the town. I am intimately familiar with this building, as I lived nearby when I was growing up. While I wasn't a member, I did use the grand piano in the sanctuary for practice when home on vacations from music school. And, more interestingly (well, to me at least), I once climbed up to the belfry with a friend and we scratched our initials inside the bell. Now, I'm not actually sure if it's the same bell, but if it is, and this is the winning historical site - well, that's got to make me a Bacon-2 away from being on the quarter!

The Wright Memorial library was built in 1909 and added to the National Historic Register in 2007. It was built by architects Joseph Everett Chandler and John Osborne Chesley Jr. in the Neo-Renaissance style. This building was until the mid-80's the town library and is now the archives and research library for the Duxbury Rural and Historical Society. A very un applealing 1960's addition in the rear (not shown) now houses the Duxbury Student Union - a hangout place for middle and high school students.

Of course, there are many other important Massachusetts sites nominate for this honor - such as:

Edith Wharton's home The Mount

Do you have a favorite? Within my town, my vote would be for The King Caesar House, but I have to say, I am partial to The Mount and Beacon Hill.

Click here to vote by February 26th!

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Cote de Texas said...

what a town! we are so new compared to yours. unreal. I can't imagine living amongst such history!!! must be wonderful.

modernemama said...

Fabulous resource. I'm a sucker for mellow, grey Cape Cod shakes so the Alden house gets my vote

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