Atherton. Hoyt. Dorrance. Loveland. Reynolds. Butler. Bennett. Dilley. Pringle. Pierce. When driving through the side streets of the Municipality of Kingston, take notice of the street signs. These street names are more than just a way to get from here to there. They are more than just a way of labeling mailing addresses for its residents and businesses. They are a tribute to the history of the Municipality, many of the signs bearing names of important people who founded Kingston a century and a half ago. Other streets, and landmarks, are named for prominentearly residents.
The early Wyoming Valley region was originally comprised of five townships at approximately five-square miles each: Wilkes-Barre, Hanover, Kingston, Pittston, and Plymouth. In 1831, a bill was unsuccessfully proposed to the state to incorporate the lands around Kingston Corners. It wasn’t until 20 years later that the idea was presented again, this time with success.
Kingston, with 598 residents was officially incorporated in 1857. Legend states that early resident Ezra Dean gave away a quart of whiskey to be able to name the town—and he chose Kingston in honor of the New England town from which his wife came.
Today, with nearly 14,000 residents and plenty more who work and visit on a daily basis, Kingston is buzzing with activity. The Municipality is dotted with locally owned eateries, stores, and businesses. Its residential neighborhoods are quiet and appealing. There are churches, educational centers, recreation facilities, and parks. Its founders would be proud.
The Sesquicentennial Celebration
Between September and November 2007, the Sesquicentennial Celebration Committee will host a variety of community events including a parade, a community festival, musical performances, and a finale dinner event and formal program, which will highlight the Municipality’s history and preview its future.
“This milestone in our community’s history is a time to celebrate the accomplishments of the past while building the bridge to a bright future,” said Committee Chairperson Sandra Kase in her invitation to residents.
“It is time to recognize the hard work, effective leadership, and strong citizenship that developed our model community.”
The celebration kicks off on the weekend of September 8 with the Kingston Trio at the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts. Kase, who has been listening to the folk revival group’s CD to prepare for the concert, reminisced about the band.
“It brought back some really great memories,” she explained, adding that this group, although its members have changed, has been together for 50 years. “When you listen to this music, it just touches you in different ways. Some of it is downright funny. I think this group will be of interest to all ages. We’re hoping for a sell-out crowd.”
On Saturday, a parade will begin at 1:30 p.m. at the corner of Wyoming Ave. and Market Street and will end at Church Street Park. The parade will include fire and ambulance companies, local high school bands, and cars filled with alumni from the various classes of schools past and present. Beginning at 2 p.m. and lasting until dusk will be the Summer Fest, with games, food, music and a large car and motorcycle show. The evening will end with Pyro Musical, a fireworks display set to music.
“It’s going to be a fantastic display of fireworks, Disney-style,” said Kase.
Residents of the community may also make their own lasting mark on the history of Kingston. The Committee will be replacing the walkway in front of the Municipal Building with a path of red charcoal bricks, etched with names of sponsors. Bricks in different sizes will be available for purchase. While the bricks will continue to be available until they are sold out, there will be a dedication ceremony on Thursday, September 27th. On that day, the Cornerstone of the municipal building will also be opened to reveal what items were placed inside after the new facility was built in 1963.
The Committee has also released commemorative items to celebrate the 150th anniversary, including hats, T-shirts and flags. These can be purchased at the Municipal Building, the Kingston Rec, and various participating Kingston businesses. KAMPA- the Kingston Area Merchants & Professional Association- will also be selling commemorative ornaments.
“These ornaments are just exquisite,” said Kase.
She added that while they can certainly be used
for Christmas, they could also be hung year-round. One of the highlight products is the commemorative souvenir book that will include color and black-and-white photographs of early and present-day Kingston and an aerial view of the Municipality.
“These pictures are old photos placed along with new photos to illustrate the progress and change over the years,” said Kase. “Not only is it going to show the history, but it will also have little known facts of Kingston and pictures of boards and committees.”
Kase added that Kingston Corners went through a tremendous amount of change. She quipped that she nearly received her first traffic ticket at Kingston Corners when the stop light was on a pole in the middle of the intersection and there was also a policeman directing traffic at all times.
“Now we have the above-the-street stop light, but you used to look for that policeman; he was an icon there,” she said.
Kase invites all to the 150th Anniversary Celebration of Kingston.
“This just isn’t for residents of Kingston because we work so closely with other communities as well. This is for the entire area, something that will interest anyone. It would be kind of nice for other communities to come and celebrate with us,” she said.