Category Archives: Blog

Flag Day

This year’s “Throwback Thursday” coincides with Flag Day, and features the thematically attired Edward H. H. Bartlett of 216 Pleasant St.  He was born in England in 1861 and immigrated to the U.S. in 1872.  Extremely patriotic about his adopted country, Bartlett led the effort in 1905 for Town Meeting to authorize $100 to erect … Continue reading Flag Day

Town Meetings in the Northwest Precinct of Cambridge, 1736-1795

One of the earliest and purest forms of Democracy in the United States took place at “town meetings”- a practice established in Massachusetts and distinct to the New England region. Unlike in our present-day use of “town halls”, qualified residents had the opportunity to not only discuss matters particular to their communities, but to actively … Continue reading Town Meetings in the Northwest Precinct of Cambridge, 1736-1795

Moxie: “It’s a drink for those who are at all particular”

It’s the official soft drink of Maine, but Moxie has Arlington connections. Moxie’s originator, Dr. Augustin Thompson (1835-1903), came from Union, Maine and set up his medical practice in Lowell, MA. He wanted to create a “cure-all” medicinal tonic. Using a “secret ingredient”, later known to be gentian root extract, he created a syrup called … Continue reading Moxie: “It’s a drink for those who are at all particular”

Commemorative Plates

Ceramic objects in the AHS collection span centuries while telling local stories. Of these ceramics, several plates uniquely celebrate and document Arlington history. These pieces are known as commemorative or souvenir plates. Popularized toward the end of the 19th century,  plates of this kind were relatively cheap to produce and a novel way to memorialize … Continue reading Commemorative Plates

Ballad of the War of 1812

On Tuesday, April 24, 1917, Nina Winn wrote about attending a Historical Society event in which “Aunt Sue  read a poem & Elizabeth Smith wore the ball dress she wrote of – made by Hannah Hall [later Mrs. Cyrus Cutter] & given by Mrs. Sterling & Mrs. Bates. Then the ‘[Old] Peabody Pew’ was presented and … Continue reading Ballad of the War of 1812

1964: Views of Arlington Center east of Mystic Street

  It’s 1964. Comets could be seen streaking down Massachusetts Avenue. The Comet automobile, that is. Some likely purchased at Arlington’s Bonnell & Stokes Lincoln-Mercury-Comet dealership located between the Center and the Heights. But I digress . . . . This post continues one from last month, offering a unique tour of Arlington Center over … Continue reading 1964: Views of Arlington Center east of Mystic Street

In memory of Nina Winn at Christmas

An excerpt from the diary of Miss Nina L. Winn, December 23, 1916: No flowers at [florist David] Duncan’s & Mrs. Duncan there because he is so poorly, [to] cemetery with my 2 wreaths – couldn’t afford more. Regular readers of Nina Winn’s diaries will be familiar with passages throughout the years, in which she … Continue reading In memory of Nina Winn at Christmas

60 years ago: “Stop & Shop” building opens

In 1956, many housewives in Arlington were enjoying their first Thanksgiving shopping experience in the “ultra-modern” Publix supermarket that had opened to great fanfare just six months earlier at 905 Massachusetts Ave., home today to an expanded Stop & Shop store. With “extra wide aisles, cheerful coloring, ample check-out stations [eight of them], and no-tip … Continue reading 60 years ago: “Stop & Shop” building opens

Kimball Farmer House

This fall the Kimball Farmer House at 1173 Massachusetts Avenue, recently renovated to create three affordable-housing units by the Housing Corporation of Arlington, welcomed all of its tenants to their new homes. This event provides a welcome opportunity to broadly share the history of the house and the Farmer family, featuring photographs from the Society’s … Continue reading Kimball Farmer House

On the piazza . . .

Recent entries from Nina Winn’s 1916 diary include descriptions of her having lunch or reading “on the piazza.”  Nowadays, to American-English speakers, the word “piazza” typically conjures thoughts of the open public spaces that are characteristic of cities in Italy.  But in Nina Winn’s time, piazza was a popular term in the United States for … Continue reading On the piazza . . .