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114 South Street

114 South Street

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A.F. Bicknell Bakery, 1877

What is now a charming residential dwelling at 114 South Street, was once a business located at 71 Main Street from 1877 to 1939. Occupying the spot where the Hingham Institution for Savings drive-thru now stands, to the left of Loring Hall, this house was a “bread, confectionary, ice cream, and soda saloon”, a supply depot for electrical appliances, a dentist office, the home of the Hingham Municipal Light Company, and lastly Kearn’s Ice Cream Parlor.

In March 1877, George Bassett, who owned the Woolen Factory at the corner of Elm and Main, had 30 feet of the old factory building, originally built in 1845, cut off by Luther Sprague and moved to the land between the woolen mill and the Loring Hall. The new building was made into a store and occupied by Anson F. Bicknell to sell breads, cakes and confections, as well as dried fruits and nuts. Mr. Bicknell had many years of experience in the baking business delivering bread, pie, cakes and confections from his wagon and continued to do this in Hingham and neighboring towns after he leased the building.

This bakery business was operated by a Mr. Litchfield, Ensign B. Gardner, and William H. Rule sequentially between 1894 and 1909 until repairs were made to the old “Hingham Bakery”; it was then occupied by Albert M. Kimball as his office and supply depot on the first floor, and Hingham Light; and Dr. Valentine S. Duff on the second floor. During this period, the building was owned by First Parish.

On Aug 1, 1913 there was a fire which started in the basement and enveloped the building and its occupants in smoke nearly to suffocation. It was eventually extinguished by the new auto pumping fire engine which saved the building from severe damage and perhaps destruction. Dr. Duff was so overcome with smoke that he fell to the bottom of the stairs and was saved by Dr. Wilde who happened to be nearby. Dr. Duff’s patient, Mr. A. R. Whitecomb made it out of the building unscathed, prompting us to wonder whether he was more relieved to be alive, or to have gotten out of a trip to the dentist.

By 1920, the building was owned by Herbert Kearns who sold ice cream, confectionary, lunch, and catering.

In 1939 the top section of the building, where Kearn’s Ice Cream parlor was located, was moved to the lot at 114 South Street at the corner of Bates way and converted into a 2-family residence. Mounted over a new cement foundation, and adorned with two shed dormers and graceful square columns flanking a center entrance, the former factory building finally came to rest as a charming Cape Cod style home. In 1941 the Kenneth Hallett and John McSorley families moved into the house. It’s not clear when the house was converted to a single family residence but it was sometime after 1968. The current owners have added an extension to the west side of the house.

The new Knox Pumper Engine that saved the day when 71 Main Street (now 114 South) caught fire in August 1913. Photo courtesy of the Bare Cove Fire Museum.

The new Knox Pumper Engine that saved the day when 71 Main Street (now 114 South) caught fire in August 1913. Photo courtesy of the Bare Cove Fire Museum.

 

The bakery as it stood at 71 Main Street is visible behind the elm tree in the right of this photo from around 1900. Loring Hall is in the distance to the right, and the old First Parish parish house (demolished) is in the foreground. Also just visible behind the elm tree is a little baker’s cart.

The bakery as it stood at 71 Main Street is visible behind the elm tree in the right of this photo from around 1900. Loring Hall is in the distance to the right, and the old First Parish parish house (demolished) is in the foreground. Also just visible behind the elm tree is a little baker’s cart.

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