Thank you for participating in our 92nd Hingham Historic House Tour. On these web pages you’ll find expanded histories of our houses and the families that occupied them, along with interesting images that make their histories more tangible. This year’s selection of houses covers an impressive range of styles and periods that showcase Hingham’s transition from a working town to a suburban refuge. The tour’s houses underscore our theme of “Labor and Leisure” and the evolution of houses from sites of economic production to symbols of economic achievement. Four of our houses this year are capes, dating from 1747 – 1838—the classic New England icon of a workingman’s home. All of our cape houses belonged to tradesmen: coopers, blacksmiths, shoemakers, three of the most important professions in early America. Today they’re private houses, but 200 years ago they were homesteads populated with workshops, barns, outhouses, butteries, henhouses, dovecotes and more. Productive economic work was inseparable from the home and homestead. Whether your house was a tradesman’s cape or a wealthy merchant’s 2-story Federal, it was a locus of economic activity.
With the arrival of the industrial revolution, factories drew work away from the homestead. Our houses began to change in a way that’s most visible in the homes you’ll see in Crow Point. These are the earliest remaining examples in Hingham of the summer cottages that grew up around an early amusement park known as Melville Garden. Mansard roofs, quirky shingles, decorative windows and expansive porches began to define the home as the site of leisure and pleasure. Starting out as a summertime refuge from the crowded conditions of Boston and its filthy harbor, Crow Point eventually became a full time residential community at the same time as Hingham’s older neighborhoods were themselves transitioning from farmsteads to suburban retreats.
With thanks to the homeowners who so graciously opened their homes to us, we hope you enjoy our 92nd Historic House Tour and gain a renewed appreciation of all of Hingham’s historic buildings.
***Please note that Old Derby will be closed on Tour Day***