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Stories written by George T. Comeau

True Tales from Canton’s Past: Flowers at a Grave

The 300-year-old footstone of Gilburt Indicott (Photo by the author)

The leaves crunch underfoot, just as they did exactly 300 years ago in the same spot. There is a mossy bed that surrounds the head and footstone, and the October light dapples through the leaves of beautiful poplar. Much has changed beyond the walls of this place, but the reflections on life and sanctity are […]

True Tales from Canton’s Past: Walking in his Footsteps

A concept of the planned visitor center that would echo the original Revere house and bell tower (Joe Viamonte Design)

After five years of writing these stories, the sense that Canton has a far greater history than many comparable towns is now apparent. And when you take stock of what this town has become economically and socially and where it is going, we are in a remarkable position to memorialize and capitalize on some of […]

True Tales: Light the Corners of My Mind

The end of an era: the Blue Hill Street Trolley stuck in the snow (Courtesy of the Canton Historical Society)

In 1972 the town of Canton celebrated the 175th anniversary of the founding of this community. There were the usual parades, costume balls, and even a mock town meeting to carry the history forward. An old movie from 1938 was presented for young and old to reflect upon how much had changed in town. There […]

True Tales from Canton’s Past: A Jewel on Elm Street

The Reed House on Elm Street as it looked when Nancy and Edward Mayo owned the house circa 1880 (Courtesy of the Canton Historical Society)

It is a small, unassuming house on Elm Street. Look closely and examine it from the street and you will see a low hip roof, an elegant yet simple porch, and a fanlight over the front door. This address, perhaps the finest and most sophisticated Italianate style house in Canton, is a national jewel beyond […]

True Tales from Canton’s Past: Devoted Servant

There is an old and little used adage that today, fortunately, has very little utility: Behind every man there is a woman. And indeed there was a time when it was entirely true. No truer than the woman that was behind Dr. Harvey Cushing — in his day the most famous neurosurgeon in the world. […]

True Tales: Canton Corner Firehouse

The members of Hose Company 2 pose outside the firehouse on September 12, 1891. (Courtesy of the Canton Historical Society)

The ad copy reads, “Come see this classic New England home and own a piece of history. Canton’s first firehouse was converted into a single-family home in 1924.” Close, but not quite. This wasn’t Canton’s first firehouse, but it was certainly a big part of our past. The house at 1403 Washington Street is indeed […]

True Tales from Canton’s Past: Red, White & Blue

An enduring symbol of Canton’s rich history and the immigrant dream (Collection of the Canton Historical Society)

Domenico Marino was 22 years old and with false bravado he held the small hand of his wife, Francesca, tightly as they wound their way through the port city of Naples, Italy. It had been a long journey from their small village of Messina. Both of these young travelers knew the life they were leaving […]

True Tales from Canton’s Past: Grey Boxes

A rare glimpse inside the textile room at the Canton Historical Society

As soon as you open the door, cool air sweeps across your face and you quickly enter the small room. This is a special place, and as your eyes adjust to the dim light, large stainless steel racks come into focus. Dozens of grey boxes, all neatly hand labeled, line the shelves. And inside many […]

True Tales from Canton’s Past: The Western Wall

The shameful condition of our National Historic Site, hidden and overgrown (Photo by the author)

When the new condominiums on Walpole Street were built, a plan was conceived to help beautify Viaduct Park with privately planted trees and flowers. And for a while at least, it was a charmingly planted space. Flowers bloomed and the grass was tended. The town’s capable and talented Department of Public Works cleared the river […]

True Tales from Canton’s Past: 125 Years of Promise

The following is an excerpt from “125 Years of Promise,” the latest installment of True Tales from Canton’s Past by local historian George T. Comeau. Several years ago, this writer found himself heading for neurosurgery to correct a failed disc high up in the spine. As anyone who has been through major surgery knows, your […]

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