This post is part of 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks. Week 35 – At work
When you think of laboring at work, you don’t often think of librarians. However, in addition to being a librarian my great Aunt Edith was a Library Trustee, a president of the Women’s Club, a member of the Maynard Garden Club, Emerson Hospital Auxiliary, Walden Guidance Association and Treasurer of the Emerson Hospital Board.
She had been a Library Trustee for seven years when the Maynard Public Library was in need of a head Librarian. Aunt Edith resigned from her Trustee position to become the Maynard Librarian. While she was the librarian she enrolled in educational courses in Library science, as well as continuing her other worthy pursuits. Upon her retirement at age 65, the Town of Maynard honored her for her service to the community by proclaiming March 26, 1972 as Edith H. Carbone Day. The proclamation described her as someone who has “constantly striven to perfect her competencies as a librarian”.
She was surprised when more than 300 townspeople attended her retirement celebration.
My great aunt, Edith Hope (Turner) Carbone was the fourth, and youngest, child of James Nicholas and Marion Hope (Walker) Turner. Edith was born on March 26, 1907 in Fruitvale California. At the time of her birth, her brother Ralph was 19, her sister Ruth was 15, Marion 12, and Emma was 4. The family had recently moved to CA recently to join their father James, who was a carpenter and had moved to California after the 1905 earthquake to help with the rebuilding of San Francisco, chronicled here. The family returned to Massachusetts within a couple of years and by 1910 they were living in Waltham, MA. The entire family, along Ralph’s wife and stepson lived together in one home. James, Ralph and Ruth were employed, and the younger children attended school. By the time Edith was 12 years old, the family mad moved to Acton MA. In the 1930 census, Edith’s occupation was a sales lady in a gift shop.
On May 24, 1936 Edith married Walter Epimenio Carbone. She was 29 and retained her position a sales lady. He was 27 and although his occupation was listed as an electrician, he had graduated from Northeastern University in 1928 as an electrical engineer, and I assume his position was more of an engineer than an electrician.
By 1940 Aunt Edith and Uncle Walter had purchased their house at 185 Great Rd., Maynard MA and Edith opened her own gift shop just a few steps away from their house. I remember the house and gift shop on Great Road. One day when we were visiting Aunt Edith took me for a walk to the gift shop and let me choose an item to take home. The shop was just like her – neat, orderly and welcoming.
As a true testament to the legacy that Edith and Walter Carbone left the community of Maynard, there is a street named Carbone Circle (This street was constructed on the lot where the house used to sit) and there is a park named for them.
On Sept. 23, Boy Scout Troop No. 130 — 23 strong — showed up at Carbone Park, Maynard, to give it a makeover. Troop members removed trash, repainted the sign, cleared the woodland trail and replaced one of the bridges that cross the modest, muddy stream which transverses the park.
The daylong (pizza interrupted) event was organized and managed by Evan Jacobson as his Eagle Scout project. To earn the Eagle Scout rank, the highest advancement rank in Scouting, a Boy Scout must fulfill requirements in the areas of leadership, service, and outdoor skills. Although many options are available to demonstrate proficiency in these areas, a number of specific skills are required to advance through the ranks of Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, and Eagle. The top three ranks require community service projects. Approximately 5 percent of Boy Scouts reach Eagle Scout.
This was just the latest of several Eagle Scout projects that have benefited Maynard’s trails and conservation land. In 2015, Scouts constructed a 16-foot-long bridge for the Assabet River Trail, accessible from Concord Road and Colbert Avenue. Other past efforts improved ability to walk on the future route of the Assabet River Rail Trail, and also clearing the historic Marble Farm site on the north side of Maynard.
Carbone Park is very much a “pocket park.” Located at the corner of Summer and Florida streets, it is approximately 70-by-100 yards. The front third facing Florida Street is a grassy area with five benches. The back two-thirds are wooded and hilly, with a dirt trail that crosses two short bridges over a muddy stream. The woodland is dominated by maple trees plus a sprinkling of beeches, oaks and a few dying elm trees. The stream is a remnant of a longer creek that once started farther to the north and bisected the land where the ArtSpace building now stands.
Trees at the entrance to the trail sport colorful plastic fringes. This is an art installation “Thistle” by ArtSpace-based artist Catherine Evans. This example of public art is supported by the Maynard Cultural Council. In early spring the park is a good place to spy emerging skunk cabbage — first the alien-looking spathes, followed by the unfurling of green leaves. Farther up the trail there are examples of glacial erratics — rounded boulders left behind by glaciers. One large boulder is spotted with lichen. The park has a bit of an invasive species problem. The Scouts cut a goodly amount of burning bush, which was dominating the undergrowth. The woodland closest to the grassed area has some Japanese barberry, Oriental bittersweet and multiflora rose. Toward the north border there is some poison ivy, but this is a native hazard, not a foreign one.
Carbone Park was named after Walter E. Carbone, a life-long resident of Maynard, and according to the Maynard High School yearbook from 1927, “Boy who has done most for the class.” The town’s Conservation Commission was founded in 1967. Walter, who had previously served on the Planning Board, was one of the original appointees to ConsCom, and remained a member until his death in 1993. The park was so-named in 1987 to honor Walter’s 20 years service. However, the town did not get around to erecting a sign until 2005. Twelve years later the sign was showing its age, so the Scouts included repainting the sign as part of their makeover.
Walter is not the only Carbone who triggers memories in longtime residents. Edith, his wife, served Maynard as librarian from 1953 to 1972. She was in this position in 1962 when the library got its own building (now the police station). For many, many years, Uncle Pete Carbone’s Twin Tree Cafe prospered on Powder Mill Road. It was well known regionally for Italian-American food, with seafood a specialty. Pete was actually Vito A. “Pete” Carbone. And it appears he was not a close relative of Walter. Anyway, in 1965 the business was sold to Pete’s chef, John Alphonse Sr., in time going to John Alphonse Jr., always named Alphonse’s Powder Mill Restaurant. Today, the building is home to the Maynard Elks, Lodge No. 1568.
Fifty of David Mark’s 2012-14 columns were published in the book “Hidden History of Maynard.” Subsequent columns are posted at maynardlifeoutdoors.com.
Wicked Local Maynard, October 27, 2017
Improving the community they lived in was not work to them, but was a labor of love for Edith and Walter Carbone.