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Hingham celebrates one hundred years


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One hundred years in the making, Hingham celebrated itself and remembered its roots over the weekend.

Coming home for the celebration was tinged with sadness for Cindy Keaster, who grew up in Hingham and moved away before finishing high school. Now she lives in Belt.

Seeing all of the changes to the town was kind of sad, she said. "Sad that I've lost touch with so many people."

Kathy Preeshl agreed that the town has changed. She remembered walking along the street to school and popping in and out of businesses to keep warm in the winter. Now most of those buildings are gone.

Many of the homesteader families remain, though, said Preeshl, who now lives in Gildford, and that it was neat to look at the family histories and photographs.

"The whole town has changed over the years," Virgil Jurenka said, remembering businesses, the school and people no longer in it.

"The only opportunity for the young people here is just their parents who own a farm," said Jurenka, who grew up in Hingham and now lives north of Rudyard.

Two of his children farm north of Hingham, while a third son moved to Washington state where he is an engineer.

Some oppor tuni t ies were i n Montana, Paul Jurenka said, but there were more in Washington.

Although he has been there 21 years, he said he could see himself moving back to the a town like Hingham.

People, like Paul who have moved away, returned in droves to the celebration that included birthday cake, food vendors, piano and dance recitals, barbecues and lots of memory sharing.

"It's just a good community spirit," said Martha Jurenka, Virgil's wife.

Roberta Hovland is another person who moved away from the area. She lived in numerous places before settling in Long Beach, Calif.

Her family moved to Hingham in 1928 for her father to run the farmers' cooperative grain elevator.

She pointed herself out in a basketball photograph during a slideshow of snapshots of a vibrant and tight-knit town through the years.

As far as she knows, all of Hovland's classmates from 1939 are deceased, and most of her family is gone. She rattled off their names while painting a verbal picture of the town from the '30s and '40s.

"It just seems like we knew everybody, and everyone got along very well," she said.

The town has changed much since then, and many of the scenes from the slideshow no longer exist.

The photos showed friends and family at a fair, first wagons and then cars at the grain elevator, victorious sports teams and local businesses.

"I love the park, but gosh I miss the bandstand," she said.

Despite the changes, she wasn't nostalgic.

"I just remember the wonderful times," she said.


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