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Dr. George B. Emerson, noted educator, also investigated the schools and he shocked the many critics by saying that, in his opinion, Winthrop schools were the best in the State. He was a real authority and his word silenced some of the critics. In the period after the Civil War one of the main points of controversy was the proposal to establish a lunatic asylum in the town. Dr. Walker, superintendent of the Boston Lunatic Asylum, became convinced that Winthrop Highlands was an ideal place in which to build a new asylum — which Boston badly needed. The area at the time was mostly waste land, or pasture, and many of the committee felt that it would be wrong to isolate the insane of Boston in such a “forbidding place” exposed as it was to the “fury of the Atlantic and all the winds of heaven”. Indeed, the committee as a whole refused to even take the trouble to go down to Winthrop to examine the site. town hall and school and that year also, a new one-room school house was built at Point Shirley.

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This it promptly deposited, forming what is known as the terminal moraine at its southeasterly edge and its lateral moraine at its easterly edge. According to some geologists, this terminal moraine formed Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket — for example. Even more, the ice changed the shape of the mountain masses it could not level.

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Paul Revere, he of the midnight ride, but Winthrop was not concerned in that for they remained a part of North Revere only for six years. Winthrop found a new market in the industrial growth of Ferry Village and also in the development of East Boston, where the great Cunard docks were built in and other very considerable waterfront building began. This was the age of the flowering of the American merchant marine when Drug rehabilitation East-Boston-Built clippers ruled the ocean as the most beautiful creations of human hands, as well as the fastest sailing vessels that have ever voyaged the world around, commercially. Then the copper works gave Winthrop its own growing market and the coming of Taft’s Hotel to the Point brought in hosts of summer people — many of whom admired the peaceful town and some of whom came back to become residents.

Fighting Japan in the Pacific and Germany on the Atlantic, and having made our industrial plant an arsenal not for ourselves alone but for Britain, France and Russia, we experienced a profound alteration in our way of life. The greatest wrench came, of course, to the men and women who enlisted or were drafted into the armed services. Some 1,300 Winthrop residents were in the armed services by the end of the year. The local Civilian Defense Sobriety Committee was greatly enlarged and strengthened and developed under the energetic leadership of Percy L. Sterling. Indeed, to the original defense committee, transformed into the Winthrop Committee on Public Safety, were added two other divisions — the war services division and the social services division. Percy L. Sterling was appointed chairman of the Public Safety Committee; Frank C. Gorman, vice-chairman, and Edwin Lane, secretary.

The old-timers were content with a spring within walking distance for their water supply, candles for lights and so forth, with only fireplaces for heat. Often the only fireplace in common use was the huge one in the kitchen; often the rest of the house was unheated and the idea of heated bedrooms just did not occur to anyone. Although wild game, save for sea fowl, was soon extinct, Winthrop tables were spread abundantly if in limited variety. In addition to sea food, the farms must have been productive for many a Winthrop farmer, starting out as a tenant, soon saved enough to purchase the property. Then, of course, Boston was only a hour’s row or sail in good weather, so the luxuries and staples of the large town were available to anyone with produce to barter. They had no church, no school and no store and depended upon each other whenever need arose. In single word, Winthrop was an island off to the north east of Boston and went its own way, content if not molested.

The aid was to be given in secret so that no public record would be made. The committee was organized with Preston B. Churchill as chairman and this writer as treasurer and executive secretary. An office was established at the town hall and a direct mail campaign for funds was organized. Probably no effort in Winthrop in recent years attracted such universal support.

The need of segregation of maternity cases and babies is evident from beginning. Plans are made to equip 170 Winthrop Street, now used as Nurses’ Home as Maternity Unit with delivery room and crèche. A son to Mr. and Mrs. Lewis B. Pierce, was first Alcohol abuse child born in new hospital. October Title passed from Dr. Metcalf to Winthrop Community Hospital. August — At a Victory Dinner held at the Cliff House a seven-day campaign showed additional subscriptions received in the sum of $16,950.25.

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No one in New England at least, now practices the ancient art of fowling but it is one of the oldest of arts, being described in the Middle Ages as an “ancient and honorable mystery.” Boys were apprenticed to master fowlers and thus learned the profession. Indeed a quotation from William Wood’s New England’s Prospect, probably written about 1634, makes this dear, while at the same time explaining how Deer Island and Pullin Point, Winthrop’s first name, were so called.

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It is the present home of Seaview Lodge, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. The natural way of Winthrop people to go into Boston was, of course, by water — row boats and sailing boats afforded the most rapid and the easiest way to town. There was considerable need of visiting Boston, too, for Winthrop was in the beginning and ever since has been dependent upon the City. Today, to drive to Boston, we go over the Belle Isle Creek bridge to Orient Heights and thence the length of East Boston and into the city through the Sumner Tunnel. Of interest is also the fact that the road across the marsh between Orient Heights and Beachmont, was not built until 1870, while the road which gave a direct route from Chelsea to Revere was not constructed until 1802.

On March 20, 1879, the first of what has proved to be a series of major fires destroyed Ford’s Hotel at the Beach. Winthrop did not have a fire department at the time and the host of volunteers who hopelessly fought the hotel fire and barely managed to save an adjacent livery stable, pointed the need for an organized department. Several other hotels at the Beach burned during subsequent years until most of what was a remarkable series of large summer hotels were destroyed by fire. Winthrop Beach came to be considered the danger spot of the town. He was the father of Amanda Floyd, who recently died at her well known house on Main Street at the foot of Hermon Street. At his services at the Baptist Church, his sister, a Miss Wales, passed away while two days later, another sister, Mrs. Sarah Tewksbury, died.

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The chapel was dedicated June 27 with a distinguished gathering of Congregational clergymen officiating. One of the other great features of the Eighties, aside from the building of the loop line of the Narrow Gauge, which is described in a subsequent chapter, was religious activity.

Hundreds of amateur actors, singers, dancers and musicians all participated. Probably few community undertakings gave so much pleasure to so many people, not only the audience but the participants as well. These books were circulated and for a time the Lyceum was accorded the privilege of storing the books in a room at the then Town Hall. During 1950, the threat of another war caused the establishment of a new Civil Defense Committee.

The year 1913 brought a change in racing boats at Winthrop through the construction of six one design sail boats known as the “Winthrop 15-foot Class”. Up to this time racing had always been accomplished with one or more handicap classes. These one design boats were built for racing and were owned by the Club the first year. The second year they passed into the ownership of one or more members for each boat.


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