Kingston: Town Meeting focuses on history

After approving general government spending relatively quickly, the first session of Kingston Town Meeting moved much more slowly through articles to approve spending from the Community Preservation Act fund. Two of those received the most attention.

When Kingston began to expand the ballfields off Pottle Street, on land no one wanted, beside the railroad track, near a swamp, the first shovel in the ground came up with items not of eight year old soccer players, but 8,000 year old hunters, builders and cookers.

Archaeologist Craig Chartier told Kingston Town Meeting Saturday, the site dates to a time 4,000 years before the Pyramids of Egypt. He called that rare.

The Kingston Community Preservation Committee asked Town Meeting to use Community Preservation money to fund an archeological dig of the site. The finance committee objected.

Finance Committee member David Lofstrom said the cost of the project would increase with every additional find. Chartier explained that a team of UMass students dug 90 test holes on the site which have already determined the scope of the dig.

Kingston Town Meeting approved spending $184,000 of the community preservation account to fund the dig. Construction of the fields is projected to begin next spring.

Saturday’s Kingston Town Meeting spent a half hour arguing over a catboat, an historic catboat undergoing a $112,000 restoration. The town’s Jones River Village Historic Society asked for $25,000 of community preservation funding to finish the job.

It’s a George Shiverick boat. Shiverick built approximately 350 catboats, sailing yachts and fishing boats on the bank of the Jones River between 1890 and 1940. Few survive. A Shiverick catboat originally owned by Franklin Roosevelt is on display at Mystic Seaport.

The historic society doesn’t plan to put its Shiverick catboat on display. It plans to put it too use as part of the town recreation department’s sailing program.

The Finance Committee objected, saying the CPC had already spent $55,000 on the boat. Voters disagreed and approved funding to finish the project.

Kingston Town Meeting continues Monday night.

About Charles Mathewson