TRAIL OF THAI ROYALTY IN MASSACHUSETTS 1916-1928Written By: Cholthanee Koerojna – President of KTBF
King of Thailand Birthplace Foundation (KTBF)
The Trail of Thai Royalty honors Thailand’s longest reigning, most beloved monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej (King Rama IX), and his royal family. Eleven sites are connected to His Majesty’s family. Eight sites received plaques that tell the story and express gratitude and respect to a King who has dedicated himself to developing Thailand and the well being of all Thai people. The King was born during the family’s second stay in the USA, while Prince Mahidol studied medicine at Harvard University and Princess Mother studied home economics and nursing. Prince Mahidol was a son of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) and Queen Savang Vadhana and was the father of two kings, Rama VIII and Rama IX. Prince Mahidol was the first Thai royal to study in the USA. Princess Mother was a commoner who received Queen Savang Vadhana’s scholarship to study nursing abroad. Miss Sangwan first met her future husband in Boston in 1918.
Ten of the
Trail historic sites listed on a bronze plaque at The Birthplace Monument at
King Bhumibol Adulyadej Square, Harvard Square in Cambridge. Seven sites
received individual plaques with historical comments in Gloucester, Cambridge,
Brookline and Martha’s Vineyard. The Trail fosters international friendships,
gives Thai visitors a warm feeling and reminds Commonwealth residents of our
tradition of international hospitality and friendship.
August 27, 2016 is the 100th Anniversary of His Royal Highness Prince Mahidol of Songkla’s arrival in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Prince Mahidol came to study Public Health at Harvard School of Public Health (formerly The Harvard-MIT School of Health Officers, The Harvard-Technology School of Public Health). In Gloucester he stayed at Hotel Moorland near the Headquarters of the Siamese Legation at 3 Page Street, one of the historic homes in the Trail of Thai Royalty that KTBF has marked with a historic plaque.
This is significant occasion to commemorate Prince Mahidol and strengthen the longtime relationship of Massachusetts and Thailand. As part of the 2016 Celebration event “Celebrating The Legacy of His Royal Highness Prince Mahidol of Songkla: A Century of Progress in Public Health and Medicine in Thailand,” we added a new site to the Trail, honoring a place where Prince Mahidol stayed in 1916: THE HOTEL MOORLAND at 85 Atlantic Road, Gloucester, Massachusetts, now called the Gloucester Inn by the Sea. Thus the trail is now 11 historic sites, with individual plaques with historical comments at eight of the sites.
Researchers: Cholthanee Koerojna and Mana Sanguansook
Editors: Carleton Cole and Kim Wells Atkinson
Supporters/Resources: Historical Societies in Massachusetts; Boston, Cambridge, Belmont, Gloucester, Brookline, Arlington, West Chop – Martha’s Vineyard, in New Hampshire – Mount Washington Observatory, in Vermont – Burlington Historical Society, in New York- Lake Placid Historical Society; in Connecticut – Hartford; Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health, Simmons College, Mount Auburn Hospital.
The information in this trail is based on Cholthanee’s research on Prince Mahidol of Songkla and Princess Mother’s story in Massachusetts since 2000. Cholthanee’s research is based on Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana’s books, Mae-Lour-Hai-Fung and Chao-Chai-Lek-Lek-Yu-Wa- Krasat, Glad Adventure by Dr. Francis B. Sayre, Somdej Ya and Massachusetts by Nimitr Namchai and many more references from Thai books, documentary and historical society archives in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont and New Hampshire.
The Hotel Moorland: 85 Atlantic Road, Bass Rocks, Gloucester
This hotel, previously The Hotel Moorland, the 300-room, 5-story summer hotel, was built around 1897 and destroyed by fire on October 29, 1958. The Moorland was a great center of summer entertainment.
Prince Mahidol of Thailand and Phya Chanindra, a government officer of Thailand, arrived in Gloucester on Sunday August 27, 1916 on the 5:42 pm train from Boston. He occupied a suite at the Moorland before beginning public health studies at Harvard University in September.
Harding Cottage, 3 Page Street, Bass Rocks, Gloucester
This house, home of Emily
Harding, served as the summer headquarters for the Siamese (Thai) legation,
from Washington, DC.
Prince Mahidol of Thailand and his party arrived in Gloucester on August 27, 1916. While they stayed at the Hotel Moorland nearby, Prince Mahidol spent much time at this house before beginning public health studies at Harvard University in September.
11 Hawthorn Street, Cambridge
Prince Mahidol of Siam (Thailand) occupied this house from 1916 to 1918 while studying public health at Harvard University. At that time this house was located at the corner of Brattle and Church streets (45 Brattle Street) where it had originally been built. The house was moved to its present location in 1926.
11 Story Street, Cambridge
Prince Mahidol of Siam (Thailand) moved to this house in 1918, the year after it was built. He stayed here during his public health and pre-medical studies at Harvard University until 1919.
44 Langdon Street, Cambridge
and 1927 this building housed the Siamese (Thai) Office of Educational Affairs
that took care of Thai scholarship students in America. Staff of other
governmental offices also worked and lived here.
One of those students was Miss Sangwan Talapat, who was to marry Prince Mahidol and become the Princess Mother. Having received a scholarship from Queen Savang Vadhana to study nursing, Miss Sangwan arrived in Boston by train from San Francisco with eight other students on the evening of September 21, 1918. She was welcomed at Boston train Station by Prince Mahidol who had come to greet the students and take them to the Brattle Inn at 48 Brattle Street. Miss Sangwan later moved to 44 Langdon Street and stayed here until September 28.
From 1921 to 1927 this building also housed the Siamese Alliance (Siam Samakom), the first Thai student association in the USA, established under Prince Mahidol’s leadership.
15 Berkeley Street, Cambridge
The Princess Mother of Thailand (née Miss Sangwan Talapat) stayed in this house with the Williston family from September 1919 to April 1920. Miss Sangwan was preparing herself to study nursing at Simmons College and local hospitals under a scholarship from Queen Savang Vadhana. Miss Sangwan studied arts and other subjects with the two Williston sisters Emily and Constance and attended Miss Edith Johnson’s Tutoring School as well.
Mount Auburn Hospital, Parsons Surgical Wing 330
Mount Auburn Street, Cambridge
Behind the tall, second-floor windows of the Parsons building, surgical wing is the operating room where Prince Bhumibol Adulyadej of Siam (Thailand) was born on December 5, 1927. Prince Bhumibol became King Rama IX in 1946 and was the first monarch of any nationality to be born in the continental USA.
The mother of the future king, née Miss Sangwan Talapat, stayed to nurse her royal son for 21 days at this hospital (then known as Cambridge Hospital). She was a student at Simmons College, while her husband Prince Mahidol was studying at Harvard Medical School. The attending physician at the delivery was Dr. W. Stewart Whittemore; the four nurses who also attended the delivery were Miss Frances Hackett (Mrs. Leslie H. Leighton), Mrs. Margaret E. Fay, Miss Ruth Harrington and Miss Mary Genevieve Weldon.
49 Cedar Road, Belmont
The Princess Mother of Thailand (née Miss Sangwan Talapat) stayed in this house with the Kent family from July 1919 to September 1919, after she had become engaged to marry Prince Mahidol. Miss Sangwan was preparing herself to study nursing at Simmons College and local hospitals under a scholarship from Queen Savang Vadhana. Miss Sangwan lived with the Strong family in Hartford, Connecticut and studied at North Western Grammar School from September 1918 to July 1919.
63 Longwood Avenue, Brookline
Prince Mahidol of Siam (Thailand) lived in one of the apartments here from 1926 to 1928 with his wife and their young children: Princess Galyani Vadhana, Prince Ananda (who was to become King Rama VIII), and Prince Bhumibol Adulyadej (who was to become King Rama IX). Prince Bhumibol was born at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge on 5 December 1927, the first monarch to be born in the continental United States.
While living here Prince Mahidol graduated from Harvard Medical School and the Princess Mother studied nursing and household economics at Simmons College and local hospitals. In July 1928 the family returned to Thailand.
703 Main Street, West Chop, Martha’s Vineyard
In the summer of 1926, Prince Mahidol of Siam (Thailand) stayed at this house with his wife and their children: Princess Galyani Vadhana (aged 3 years) and Prince Ananda (aged 1), who was to become King Rama VIII. Prince Mahidol was studying medicine at Harvard Medical School and the Princess Mother was studying nursing and household economics at Simmons College and local hospitals.
This house was the vacation home of Dr. Francis Bowes Sayre, a professor at Harvard Law School, who was adviser in foreign affairs to King Vajiravudh (Rama VI) in Bangkok (November 1923 to September 1924) and in Europe (the ensuing year). His Majesty conferred on Dr. Sayre a distinctive name and title of high nobility: Phraya Kalyan Maitri.
741 Main Street, West Chop, Martha’s Vineyard
In the summer of 1927, Prince Mahidol of Siam (Thailand) stayed here, the home of Mrs. Elijah Cleveland, with his family: his wife Sangwan, the future “Princess Mother,” then expecting their second son who would become King Rama IX, Bhumibol Adulyadej; their 4-year-old daughter Princess Galyani Vadhana and their son Prince Ananda, aged 2, who would become King Rama VIII. Prince Mahidol was studying medicine at Harvard Medical School while the Princess Mother was studying nursing and home economics at Simmons College and hospitals in Boston and Cambridge.
TRAIL OF THAI ROYALTY IN NEW HAMPSHIRE 1919, MOUNT WASHINGTON
The Glen House, Greens Grant, New Hampshire
This is the site of the Glen House. Continuing a long history of hospitality here in the Glen, this third hotel of the same name was a 40 room summer hotel opened in 1901 and destroyed by fire in 1924. The Glen House was one of the New England’s most popular resorts in the Mount Washington area.
Prince Mahidol of Songkla and Princess Mother (Miss Sangwan Talapat) stayed at this hotel with Dr. Kent’s family on vacation from July 30 to August 20, 1919 while they were engaged. They always spent a good time together at Peabody River and the Glen Ellis Falls and enjoyed the Presidential range scenic view.
Prince Mahidol was studying Public Health at School of Public Health of Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The Summit House, Mt. Washington Summit
Mt. Washington’s summit has long attracted visitors from all over the world. On August 11, 1919, Prince Mahidol of Songkla, Thailand, and his fiancée, Princess Mother (Miss Sangwan Talapat), were guests at the Summit House, a hotel once located on the summit. The first Thai royal to study in the United States, Prince Mahidol attended the Harvard-MIT School for Health Officers, now known as the Harvard School of Public Health. While on vacation, the newly-betrothed Prince Mahidol and Princess Mother, and their party, traveled up Mt. Washington via horse-drawn buggy to the Halfway House and then hiked to the peak, 6,288 feet high, staying overnight at the Summit House. The next day, they hiked down to the Glen House, a tourist hotel once located at the base of Mt. Washington.
The son of King Chulalongkorn and Queen Savang Vadhana, Prince Mahidol would go on to become the father of two kings of Thailand, Rama VIII and Rama IX. Known as the “Father of Modern Medicine” in Thailand, he is also notable for his leading role in the development of medical education and public health in his home country, including his involvement in establishing an agreement between the Thai government and the Rockefeller Foundation to expand medical training and facilities in Thailand.
TRAIL OF THAI ROYALTY PROJECT IN MASSACHUSETTS AND NEW HAMPSHIRE
This project is funded by individuals and organizations of goodwill toward Thailand to preserve this piece of Thai history. To learn more, please visit www.thailink.com/ktbf or contact Cholthanee Koerojna at 781-365-0083 or 781-351-1885. The King of Thailand Birthplace Foundation (KTBF) is a non-profit corporation and public charity, incorporated in 1998 under 501(c)(3) in Massachusetts, USA.
If you are interested in touring on the Trails, we will be happy to work with you. Please contact us.
About The King of Thailand Birthplace Foundation (KTBF)
The King of Thailand Birthplace Foundation (KTBF) is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) corporation established in 1998. Our mission is to preserve Thai history throughout the state of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. KTBF places a high value on preserving Thai history and culture. These efforts can be observed throughout more than ten historic sites in Massachusetts, two sites at Mount Washington area in New Hampshire, and are appreciated each year by thousands of Thai people who make the pilgrimage to visit these important places.
After King Bhumibol Adulyadej passed away, our mission is extended to carry on His Majesty and his father, Prince Mahidol’s legacy in medicine and public health advancement of Thailand. This mission is to keep Prince Mahidol and His Majesty’s legacy alive and help pay forward their good deeds. Two continuing projects in supporting this mission are The Public Health and Medicine Symposium: Promoting Connections between Thailand and the United States and Thai Scholars Fellowship Fund establishment/endowment at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
In December 2017 Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH) has established a 1.5 million dollar memorial fund, “Thai Scholars Fellowship Fund” to honor His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej and his father, Prince Mahidol of Songkla. This fund was established with the cooperation of Thai Physicians Association of America (TPAA) and The King of Thailand Birthplace Foundation (KTBF) with Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The primary goal of the fund is to further the study and relevant research of Thai scholars at HSPH that will benefit Thailand and her neighbors.
King Bhumibol Adulyadej is the only monarch born in the USA, at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The King was born on December 5th, 1927 during the family’s second stay in the USA, while Prince Mahidol studied medicine at Harvard University, and Princess Mother studied home economics and nursing at Simmons College under a scholarship from Queen Savang Vadhana. Prince Mahidol was a son of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) and Queen Savang Vadhana and was the father of two kings, Rama VIII and Rama IX. Prince Mahidol was the first Thai royal to study in the USA.
King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX) Birthplace Monument was installed on November 18, 2003 as a gift to commemorate His Majesty birthplace on the occasion of His Majesty 76th birthday. This contribution by KTBF to the City of Cambridge is in the spirit of Thai /American cultural exchange. Visitors from Thailand express love and respect to His Majesty the King at this historical landmark that gives a sense of connection to Thailand.
Trail of Thai Royalty in Massachusetts and New Hampshire honors Thailand’s longest reigning, most beloved monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, and his royal family. The Massachusetts trail is 11 historic places where the king’s family stayed from 1916 to 1928. Each site received individual plaque with historical comments. They are in Gloucester, Cambridge, Brookline and Martha’s Vineyard.
Trail of Thai Royalty in New Hampshire is 2 historic places where the king’s parent stayed for vacation during their engagement from July 30 to August 20, 1919. They are at the Mount Washington Base, Mount Washington Auto Road, Greens Grant and on the summit at the highest peak mountain, 6,288 feet in the Northeast where the Sherman Adams building currently stands.
KTBF Cultural Exchange program was initiated in 1999. Students from Thailand came to exchange culture with American students at many schools in Massachusetts. The cultural exchange program continues offering the opportunities to Thai and American students to work together since 1999.
The Education and Trail of Thai Royalty Tour is established to provide students and professionals from Thailand to explore an opportunity to further study at Medical School, School of Public Health and School of Dental Medicine as well as learning the history of His Majesty’s family in Massachusetts and Mount Washington in New Hampshire. The tour participants will also learn about the opportunity of the Thai Scholars Fellowship Fund at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
For more information on the Trail and Thai Scholars Fellowship Fund, contact:
The King of Thailand Birthplace Foundation (KTBF)
Cholthanee Koerojna, President 15 Given Drive
Burlington, MA 01803 USA