Hook & Hastings Co Kendal Green
Francis Henry Hastings (1836-1916) was born at 199 North Avenue
(The Hastings Homestead) and educated at the nearby district school. When he became head of
Hook & Hastings in the 1880s, he moved the prestigious organ-manufacturing company to the
farm fields across from his family homestead.
Francis Henry Hastings built his home, called “Seven Gables” (now 190 North Avenue) in 1885. It is located almost directly across from his childhood home. His barn (now converted to a residence) and caretaker's house still stand across the street.
Francis Henry Hastings hired a photographer to document the appearance of his huge wooden factory building, which was located at Viles Street and North Avenue, just north of the railroad tracks. The factory, completed in 1891, had an 80-foot center section and two 100-foot wings. It was demolished in 1936 after the company closed its doors.
The 1898 photograph at the left shows organ factory employees on the steps of the factory. In the early 20th century, the company had 70 employees, half of whom lived in Weston. The manufacture of organs required many types of skilled tradesmen, and the firm employed many Scandinavians trained in Europe.
Hastings scattered housing for workers throughout Kendal Green to avoid the appearance of a company town. The two double houses at 126 and 130 Viles Street (still standing) were among the first to be built, in 1887. Worker cottages are still standing on Brook Road, North Avenue, and Lexington Street.