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Stories written by George T. Comeau

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 […]

True Tales from Canton’s Past: The House Within

The historic Withington-Bird House is now tucked away near a modern subdivision on Lantern Lane. (Photo by the author)

The Canton we know today was once the wilds of Dorchester. This area, largely inhabited by the Ponkapoag tribe, became an attractive settlement for a handful of pioneering men and women leaving the relative congestion of larger towns. The idea of buying and selling land was a purely English notion; the natives had no concept […]

True Tales: Then & Now

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A rich photographic history is preserved at the Canton Historical Society. With well over 4,000 catalogued images, each moment in time helps us see the fabric of the people and places of Canton. Photos 1 & 2: The Canton Catholic Club occupied the building that was once the Massapoag House. The original building was constructed in […]

True Tales from Canton’s Past: Crane Guards

The entire village of South Canton gathered to see the militia in their stunning uniforms at the house of the general. On that Friday in October 1823, the trees dripped with red and gold and an autumn sun cast long shadows across Washington Street. The force was made up of many of the sons of […]

True Tales from Canton’s Past: Breaking News

John Henning and Mary Richardson introduced the now infamous Blue Hill volcano segment but were unaware of the graphic nature of the prank. (Bill Golladay, Creative Commons)

Today we get our news from so many sources. In a world of almost instant access to information, we can turn to Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, all of which closely follow conventional news outlets. News is so “now” that within moments of a recent police chase from Brockton to Canton, which ended at the infamous […]

True Tales from Canton’s Past: I Am the Egg Man

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Hiking across the marsh, Elwyn Capen had endured several days of torrential spring downpours, yet he was in his glory. Soaked to his skin, a heavy wool coat slowed his progress as he approached the nest just at the edge of Ponkapoag Pond. High up in the tree was the large nest of a great […]

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