Located on the Massachusetts shore a few miles north of Salem, Kingsport is often described as a sleepy artists village. The city is nestled in a bowl-shaped depression that encircles Kingsport Harbor. To the north rises a series of rocky cliffs that culminate in the dizzying heights of Kingsport Head. To the west and south are a number of hills. The largest, called Central Hill, is the sight of Kingsport's old burying ground. Just over a mile out to sea lies the Jersey Reef, named after the Channel Island from which many Kingsporters trace their ancestry. This dangerous reef protects Kingsport's shores from the devastating Atlantic waves.
Kingsport is a small tourist town on the bay north of Boston. Kingsport is a popular vacationing spot among those who can afford it, and the community it peaceful and relaxed. It is a popular place for artists who, if successful enough, often purchase a summer home here, finding its beauty and serenity to be inspirational. The people of Kingsport rely on tourism, but themselves tend to lag behind the times a bit, preferring to do things the old fashioned way; washboards are often used in place of modern machines, and candles light the windows of homes where there is as yet no electrical service. At best, only one out of six Kingsport families own an automobile.
The streets of Kingsport are narrow and winding, twisting steeply through the hills to form a labyrinth of pathways often difficult to navigate. Houses are stacked at all levels and angles, bristling on the hillsides and filling the hollows. Numerous buildings and houses are incredibly old, particularly in the vicinity of Central Hill and along the north shore of the harbor. Many date back to the mid-seventeenth century.
Kingsport is broken into different unofficial districts, which locals refer to when giving directions. The different districts are: Harborside, The Hollow, Central Hill, South Shore, Downtown, The West Side and Hill Town.
Kingsport's elected officials include a mayor and nine city council members (selectmen), all elected to two year terms. The offices are part-time positions paying only small salaries, but bringing their holders great prestige, as well as a certain amount of power. Mayor John Jacob Hoag has been elected mayor for three consecutive terms. Town Council meetings are held the first and third Tuesdays of every month at Talbot Hall, the site of Kingsport's town administrative offices.
Kingsport Historical Society Museum
Kingsport's privately funded Historical Society and Museum is housed in a two-story Georgian manse, open to the public from noon to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Admission is free. The museum takes up all of the ground floor and part of the second level. The rest of the second floor is given over to the Society's library, while the partially finished attic contains Society records and the living quarters of the museum's curator, Alan Hart.
An impressive newer structure finished in 1912, the Congregational Hospital has a capacity of fifty beds. Especially serious cases, or those requiring specialized facilities are sometimes referred to Boston or Arkham hospitals as seems best. Many local physicians and surgeons make use of the hospital facilities. Dr. Matthew Harris, a capable surgeon and longtime Kingsport resident, is Chief of Staff.
Mercer Art Gallery
The Mercer Art Gallery is located in an impressive two-story Federal mansion. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday, during the summer season. From October through April, Saturday hours are 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Evelyn Mercer, a shrewd woman of money in her 50's, is the curator.
Stratton Yacht Club
The Stratton Club is located on a narrow drive off Beacon Road, a huge Gothic Revival manse set on the hill overlooking the harbor. A private marina at the foot of the hill harbors the yachts and sailboats owned by the club's wealthy members. The clubhouse has several opulent dining rooms and meeting halls, while a long screened-in veranda facing the harbor stretches the length of the building. The membership of the country club is made up of a majority of Kingsport's richer inhabitants, as well as a number of well-to-do Arkhamites and Bostonians. The club frequently organizes races, including the gala Pickering Regatta held annually the first Saturday of July.
U.S. Coast Guard Station
Kingsport's small Coast Guard Lifesaving Station is located right on the harbor.
Office of the Kingsport Chronicle
Stanley Carter is the editor and primary reporter for the Kingsport Chronicle, Kingsport's local 4-page newspaper which comes out every Wednesday and Saturday, with the occasional special edition.
This area is an old residential neighborhood now housing the bulk of Kingsport's bohemian artist-folk. A good number of these tenements and apartment buildings are owned by Norton Fisher, John Pickering and Brandon Turner. Most are rundown and many are overcrowded, but a few found along White Road are in nicer shape. There are also a number of small, once respectable houses in this area that are also rented out to the artist-folk. Kingsport's artist community is seasonal, growing larger in the spring and summer and dwindling with the coming of winter. The yearly artist population ranges from more than fifty or sixty during the summer to a mere handful in the winter months.
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