Category archives for: Canton History

True Tales from Canton’s Past: Canton’s Future Redux

The Joseph Warren Revere Barn adapted for use as a taproom.

The idea behind saving the buildings at the Paul Revere and Sons property began back in 2008 when Attorney Paul Schneiders, representing the Napleton Company, stood before the Canton Historical Commission and sought a demolition request for the historic structures. It was unthinkable that such nationally significant mill buildings with a lineage that connected directly […]

True Tales from Canton’s Past: Under Three Flags

John Meyer and Hans Krauß, likely in Canton in 1919 (Courtesy of Anneliese Neumann)

As the mail arrived at the town clerk’s office, one letter stood apart from the rest. The dispatch was postmarked from a small Bavarian village. And as Gail McHugo slit open the envelope, a simple typed note began a journey into Canton’s history that few know about today. “More than 100 years ago,” the letter […]

True Tales from Canton’s Past: Twenty-Two Stories

The Crane School was demolished in 1954, and the town has never been quite the same. (Collection of the author)

This column began in 2011, and since it started I have been able to tell well over 100 stories tied to the unique history and character of Canton. It has not really been all that hard discovering the things that make us unique. When you are curious, and you talk to people who have been […]

True Tales from Canton’s Past: Native Tongue

John Eliot, the “Apostle to the Indians,” recorded many of the people and places that are native to Canton.

As time erases more and more of our earliest history, it becomes even more incumbent upon us to preserve our place names that respect the original people who lived here. It seems so ironic that in this particular place in our history today, we are wary of immigrants, outsiders, and refugees, and yet hardly any […]

True Tales from Canton’s Past: Stroll Through History

On a beautiful day in May in 1930, the ladies gathered at the home of Mrs. Dean S. Luce. There were dainty tea sandwiches on beautiful china plates. The ladies were dressed in their finest, with short daytime gloves and calf length dresses — accented by their Hollywood-inspired purses. Each of the women had taken […]

True Tales from Canton’s Past: Colonial Vaccers

The original warrant from 1777 in the collection of the Canton Historical Society

Thirteen years had passed since the visitor had made an appearance in our town. Off and on, there were short isolated visits, but quite unlike the visit in the spring of 1764. The caller silently slipped into town, unaware and hidden behind a dark cloak of mystery. The constables and selectmen were on the lookout, […]

True Tales from Canton’s Past: Ghosts in the Woods

At Pequitside Farm an ancient road passed directly in front of the Tilden House.

In just a few days the ghosts and goblins will be knocking at the door. The season for tricks and treats is upon us, and while the weather is still pleasant, there are a few “ghosts” you can visit before the first snow flies. Well, not actual ghosts, but “ghost roads,” those long forgotten paths […]

True Tales from Canton’s Past: North to Alaska

The steamship Corwin, on which Packard explored the Arctic in 1900 as a newspaper correspondent

Seattle was as far away from Canton as the man had been, and here he stood at the meeting point between the great transcontinental railroads and the great trans-Pacific steamship lines. Here was the gateway to an unforgettable journey to unexplored territories in Alaska. This was the life of Winthrop Packard, who explored the Arctic […]

True Tales from Canton’s Past: A Long Term Lease

Among Canton’s oldest and most venerable oak trees are the pair leading to Ponkapoag Pond. (Photo by the author)

First come the chainsaws, growling and ripping through ancient trees. Within days the landscape is transformed into a blank canvas of sand, dirt, and ledge. Then come the heavy equipment ripping and scarring the earth, tossing all that is an obstacle aside. Surveyors move in to flag new roadways; cement castings arrive to become embedded […]

True Tales: Then & Now


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. Through the lens of time, we take a moment to showcase photographs of then and now. Photos 1 & 2: Still standing […]

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