Tales from a Townie: My career sounding the noon whistle

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    By William T. Hamilton Jr.

    In 1946, when I was 5 years old, my father, William Towne Hamilton Sr., worked as head of the Shipping Department at Seamans & Cobb, a thread mill on Hayden Rowe Street. Starting in September, I would go to work with him and walk down the street to 28 Hayden Rowe, to Mrs. Adams’ kindergarten (later on, she also was my seventh-grade teacher).

    At about 11:45 a.m., kindergarten would be over and I would walk back to the mill. I would go up to my father’s third-floor office on the freight elevator. Back in the 1940s, they would sound the mill whistle at 8 a.m., noon, 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. One of my father’s jobs was sounding the noon whistle. He would boost me up and let me pull the cord to sound the whistle. This turned out to be on-the-job training for me, for years later.

    Fast forward to 1967, when I became one of the first four full-time firefighters for the Town of Hopkinton, and for the next 27 years one of my jobs was sounding the noon whistle. So, my noon whistle sounding career spanned 48 years.