Another Taunton historian must be honored and is in a class all his own. Charles Crowley is a mistro of Taunton historical lore and much more. The history and life of Taunton runs in his blood. He has dug into her history, her famous sons and daughters ,and those not so famous, as well as the events that shaped her. Through photographs and facts large and small a historian only whets his appetite on each discovered treasure. We are the recipients and are constantly being surprised and delighted by new wonders uncovered.
A renaissance man, Charles has served his beloved Taunton in public service for at least 34 years and longer as its memory keeper. He has served on the Historical Commission. An author and noted speaker, he was elected Mayor for a four year term in 2007. For many years he served on the City Council and in many other capacities. He has preserved the history of Taunton keeping it alive for all of us. We owe him a great deal of gratitude. I can only touch on his contributions which I will further describe later in this post.
Bloggers like myself can not thank such people enough. All of us are trying to find and study our roots, not only those of our families but of the place we called home as children. There is ever more to learn. The Village did not exist in a vacuum, its greater surroundings also made it what it was. Charles reminds us that those of us who were born and grew up in the Village travelled in the footsteps of so many who came before.
Charles also very frequently posts precious photos of the bygone times of our fair city. You will find these on Olde Tyme Taunton Charles ' Facebook page. It is this Facebook Village photograph from Charles' archives appearing last week that prompted me to write this post.
Above: Dominic and Mary Gebeau and Mary Lynch
Source: Olde Tyme Taunton Facebook Page.
If you are a School St. Village kid, as I was, you are always on the look-out among Charles' goodies for School St. lore. Above is the gem that last week showed up on the Olde Tyme Taunton Facebook page which is Charles' page.
It contained no point of recognition for me even though it is a photo from a store right on the corner of Blinn's Court and School St., specifically 187 School St. in the Village. Our family lived at 20 Blinn's Court and then at the family homestead, 184 School Street. This couple above, Mary ( 1860-1940) and Dominic Gebeau (1856-1933) lived at that 187 address and had a neighborhood store on the first floor. To orient those of my day (I was born in 1940) that house later became the home of John and Rosie Serras. Ironically, John and Rosie had a neighborhood store one house down from the P.A.C.C. not far from 187. I well remember them walking to their store which they operated in the 50's , and back each morning and late afternoon. It is the Serras store that I was familiar with as a child.
The Gebeau's (not a Portuguese name) were gone by 1940. Arlene Rose Gouveia remembers them, especially Mary whom she says was a lovely, kind woman. See the gas light at the upper left of the photo? Apparently Mary kept them even when electricity came along. The store sold canned goods, tobacco, candy and other such sundries. Arlene also remembers that Mary went to 6 a.m. Mass each day, 7 days a week. The photo is a beautiful period peace. The young lady behind the counter is identified by Mary Lynch.
If you would like to read once more (or for the first time in many cases) the posts about the Village Economy, especially the neighborhood Mom and Pop stores of which there were many, go to my previous posts in 2012:
http://schoolstvillage.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-school-street-village-was-world.html and http://schoolstvillage.blogspot.com/2012/10/more-mom-and-pop-markets-in-village.html
More About Charles Crowley
Left to right, Bob Jacobs, TCAM TV Board President, Dr. Mark Hanna, historian,
and Charles Crowley, Internet News photo in 2012.
One of the greatest historical contributions made by Charles Crowley are his local television programs on Old Tyme Taunton . Charles celebrated the 300th episode in Jan. 2012. The program began in 1998 and has become a mainstay of local television in Taunton ever since. It can be seen on Channel 15 for Comcast and Channel 22 for Verizon at 8 a.m. Saturdays and 8 a.m. Sundays.
In the wonderful technical time we live in, you can many of these programs on You Tube. This one is about the history of School Street. I invite you to sit back and enjoy it. This is perfect for me, since I now live far from Taunton.
I can assure you that you will be seeing more photographs and You Tube episodes from Charles on my future posts. They are an unending source of pictorial history for all of us. Charles often offers tours of local sites, such as historical cemeteries, etc. He often does public presentations on Taunton history and never charges for these events. As I stated earlier...Charles is a true renaissance man.
Note: Charles Crowley authored A Pictorial History ofTaunton in 2004. More than 300 historical photographs "providing a snapshot of the loves of those that came before us." It can be purchased on Amazon or at Pacheco's Jewelry and Gifts, 20 Taunton Green in Taunton.