Welcome to Kingston
The Town of Kingston is a coastal community in Southeastern Massachusetts located about 35 miles from Boston. The Town was incorporated in 1726, though prior to 1726 Kingston was known as the North Precinct of Plymouth. The first request to separate into an independent township was in 1717 when 41 men of the northern part of Plymouth petitioned the General Court to have the Northern Precinct be set off from Plymouth as a separate township so that residents could worship closer to their homes, than they had been. The General Court would only grant the township if the petitioners could support a public school. Several years later, in response to decisions being made about schooling in Plymouth, Northern Precinct residents raised twenty pounds to defray the charge of a school and again petitioned the General Court to divide Plymouth and erect a new town by the name of Kingston. The Court agreed and in June of 1726, Kingston became an independent town.
Through succeeding centuries the Town of Kingston flourished due to the productive lands of the Jones River and its tributaries. The abundant iron ore mined from the town’s bogs was processed into tacks, nails, augurs, anchors, stoves, hollow ware, shovels and spades by the mills and foundries in town.
As one industry faded, another rose to take its place. Farming was succeeded by the iron industry, and that in turn was succeeded by the shipbuilding industry that flourished along the banks of the lower Jones River. The first warship, the Independence, built for the Revolutionary Provincial Government of Massachusetts was launched at the Drew shipyard in July 1776, commanded by Capt. Simeon Sampson, a Kingston resident. Though the Independence was the first contracted and commissioned warship, the Brig was the second Massachusetts warship launched, losing the race by two weeks to the Tyrannicide of Salisbury.
In the nineteenth-century nearly 300 vessels, large and small, were built in Kingston boat yards and sailed as fishing boats, whalers, coasters and traders in the Mediterranean, Middle East, and China trade. While Kingston’s shipbuilding industry flourished, transportation by land became easier and safer when the Old Colony Railroad came to town in 1845. As the years passed, the town settled into a productive period of trade and manufacturing: C. Drew and Company (1837) and Cobb and Drew (1855), were world renowned makers of tools and other iron products well into the twenty-first-century.
Today, Kingston is principally a residential community with a small number of professional fishermen and cranberry growers. A large proportion of the residents are commuters, many using the extended MBTA line. Much of the Town’s commerce centers around retail business including the Independence Mall with its 100 stores located at exit 8 off Route 3. The Town’s early history as a part of the Plymouth Colony settled by the Pilgrims has spawned an active historical community and specifically a historical society, the Jones River Village Historical Society, which maintains the Major John Bradford House (built circa 1714 by the grandson of the Colony’s first Governor, William Bradford) for public viewing and for seasonal activities.
The Town of Kingston has been active in protecting open space, acquiring several large parcels as public lands for open space, conservation and recreational purposes.
The Reed Community Building houses the Town’s recreational programs for youths. Kingston is especially proud of its Norman P. Opachinski Athletic Field Complex, consisting of a concession stand and eleven fields for baseball, soccer, and football located near the town center on Pottle Street. The fields are under the direction of the Recreation Commission who also oversee the newly renovated Gray’s Beach Park in Rocky Nook.
Another Kingston gem is its Public Library, which contains over 58,000 volumes and offers residents a place to meet one another and discuss community issues. The Kingston Public Library also offers the means for residents to learn about and better understand both their own heritage and the history of Kingston; helps with finding, evaluating and using information effectively on a broad array of topics; provides access to a strong, current collection of popular titles in various formats; and offers a range of programs for leisure activity.