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This Week in Lexington History

Here’s a look at some notes, stories and events that made headlines – or should have made headlines – throughout Lexington’s history.

Each week, Lexington Patch is hitting the history books and microfilm at in search of interesting and amusing tidbits that offer some insight into what was happening on this week in local history.

For a window into the “way back when,” we looked to Edwin B. Worthen’s “A Calendar History of Lexington, Massachusetts, 1620-1949.”

‘Singing School’ Established: In 1800, a “Singing School” was established. And it was “left to the Selectmen to allow the singers a sum of money to be expended in firewood and candles in order to encourage them in keeping a school in case they will engage to sit together after they have lernt.”

First Parish Dedicated: In 1848, First Parish Church was dedicated. The building cost about $10,000.

Cary Cares: In 1868, Mrs. Maria Cary offered the town $1,000 for the establishment of a free public library. A year later, the town voted to appropriate $60 for books and to pay a librarian.

A Busy Day: On March 3, 1873, the town voted to take over all streetlights, which had previously been privately owned; to apply dog license fees toward support of the library and to instruct the selectmen to give streets historical names, the first one being “Clarke.”

What’s in a Name? In 1908, the Cary Memorial Library was so named.

And After That? In 1917, owners of private property around the common voluntarily restricted their property to “its existing use” for 99 years. 

And for a spot of news from the early 20th Century, we checked out the Lexington Minuteman on microfilm. The following excerpts are all from the March 2, 1923 edition of the Minuteman.

Lively Election: Lexington was “looking forward to its most exciting annual election in recent years” the following Monday, according to the Minuteman. There were to be no fewer than five contested elections and 2,500 of the town’s 2,686 voters were expected to turn out for the vote, and of particular interest were the four candidates vying for two seats on the Board of Selectmen, the paper reported.

Bad Wheel Slows Star Athlete: James Moakley, a star baseball and football player at Lexington High, was reportedly confined to a private hospital in the Fenway due to some trouble with his feet. “His host of Lexington friends hope for a speedy return to his former health and happiness,” the paper reported.

Hold Up … In East Lexington?  Reed Street resident Salvatore Trani was reportedly held up an attacked “by a would-be highway man” on his way home after a long day’s work at his fruit store on Mass Ave. Despite winding up with "an ugly scalp wound" inflicted by some kind of club or mallet, Trani, who was reportedly carrying a large amount of money at the time of the attack, didn’t lose any of it, the paper reported. 

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