Hingham is a residential suburban community on the South Shore. This affluent seaside town of stately federal style homes is conveniently located 15 miles southeast of Boston and makes an ideal place for commuters to settle. With an abundance of both preserved land and commercial activity, the community offers an attractive blend of... Show all »
Hingham is a residential suburban community on the South Shore. This affluent seaside town of stately federal style homes is conveniently located 15 miles southeast of Boston and makes an ideal place for commuters to settle. With an abundance of both preserved land and commercial activity, the community offers an attractive blend of beauty and vibrancy found in few other communities.
The town's history is reflected in its many well-maintained antique houses, including the Hingham Historical Society Museum on Lincoln Street. This building was formerly Derby Academy, founded in 1784, the oldest co-educational school in the country. Though it has moved from "Old Ordinary", the prestigious school still remains in town. Hingham's First Parish Old Ship Church is both the oldest wooden structure in the country and the oldest house of worship in continuous use. These and other fine examples of the town's architectural and historical legacy are found among Hingham's six historic districts which will help the town maintain its unique charm.
The first English settlers of the area arrived in 1633, and called the area Bare Cove. Initial relations with the native Massachusetts tribe of the Algonquin Nation were warm. The natives taught the Europeans how to grow corn. Later, settlement and development increased when colonists arrived in 1635 from Hingham, England. These newcomers renamed the town and that same year it was incorporated. Through the 18th century and into the 19th century, Hingham residents thrived and were engaged in fishing, farming, shipping and milling. Fishing peaked before the Civil War and was for a time, the fourth largest mackerel fleet in the country.
The 1900's presented great changes in the economy and development of the town. In 1906 the Navy built a "Magazine" in North Hingham to store ammunition for the North Atlantic Fleet. In the South End, 500 sailors were stationed at "Camp Hingham". Defense industry activity intensified further during World War II when what is now Wompatuck State Park was used as an ammunition depot and a shipyard was built on Hingham Harbor.
At the height of production, 24,000 people were employed working around the clock, seven days a week. After the war, housing stock increased to make room for returning servicemen. Nevertheless, the town made efforts to acquire land for open-space preservation.
Covering approximately 22 square miles and boasting 21 miles of shoreline, Hingham remains a residential community connected to Boston by highway, bus, and commuter boat. The community's 20,000 residents enjoy various recreation sites on fresh and saltwater and within parkland as well as at the South Shore Country Club.