Canton Public Library

Canton Historical Commission Photos of Canton, 1965, by Edward D. Galvin (this print collection held at the Canton Historical Society)

The Canton Historical Commission was appointed by the Canton Board of Selectmen circa 1964 and its members elected Edward D. Galvin to serve as Chair. The group decided to photograph a wide variety of buildings and landmarks to document what the town looked like in 1965, as Canton was then going through a period of rapid growth. The Board of Selectmen authorized monies to cover the cost of film and development and Galvin completed this project during the spring and summer of 1965.

Edward D. Galvin (1939-) comes from an early Canton family whose ancestors emigrated from Ireland. His maternal great-great-grandfather John O’Neil came to Canton in 1834 and worked as a navvy on the construction of the (now historic) Canton Viaduct. He remained as an employee of the Boston & Providence Railroad for the rest of his working life.

In 1847, Galvin’s great-grandfather Patrick Grimes immigrated to Canton from County West Meath, Ireland. He was employed at the Revere Copper Works for fifty-three years until it ceased operations in Canton. Patrick Grimes married John O’Neil’s daughter Mary Ann.

It was Patrick Grimes’ son Charlie Grimes who, in 1909, purchased land and buildings in the Ames Avenue area from the Kinsley Iron & Machine Company (KIM Co.) after it had ceased operations in Canton.

Galvin grew up in a small house at the end of Ames Avenue that a few decades earlier had been the KIM’s watchman’s cottage. The neighborhood was steeped in history and industrial archaeology. The Stoughton Branch Railroad (built 1844-1845) primarily served the KIM Co. and was no more than ten yards away from the house. As a young boy, Galvin recalls easily uncovering the odd railroad spike or short piece of rail in his family’s yard.

William H. Galvin, Edward’s father, was Superintendent of the Canton Public Schools from 1959 to 1976. At his retirement, he had worked a total of 44 years in the school system since his start in 1932.

Following graduation from Boston University, Ed married Pamela J. Barletta and joined the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad as a management trainee. In 1970, Ed and his family moved to Brunswick, Maine, where he served in several management positions with the Maine Central Railroad before retiring in 2002. Ed and Pam spend part of the year living in their home in County Kerry, Ireland and traveling throughout Europe. Ed is a founding member of the Society of Industrial Archeology as well as its Irish counterpart The Industrial Heritage Association of Ireland. Along with family genealogy, another favorite pursuit is aviation photography. Ed has written articles for many publications but is best known for his book “A History of Canton Junction,” published 1987.

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