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2 Merrill Street

2 Merrill Street

Bates Boarding House, c. 1874

Many owners with a variety of lifestyles have lived at 2 Merrill Street. Early owners were summer residents.  In 1874 George Cade purchased the land from Samuel Downer, owner of all Crow Point.  One of the early owners ran the Bates Boarding House, which catered to Bostonians who came to vacation.  There was a rush each spring to reserve rooms for the summer. The boarding house had entertainment including violinists, singers, and tableau vivant artists who would dress in a role and sit motionless as if posed in a picture.  (This was popular parlor entertainment in the 19th century.)

In 1945 Gilbert Boyer, head of the music department at Hingham High School, winterized the house.  He soon sold it to the Wylie family, who lived in the house from 1947 to 2005. One of the children, David Wylie, reminisced about his family’s purchase.  His parents were interested in two houses, the Merrill Street home and a Norwell home with a barn. His parents told their children if they moved to Norwell they could buy a horse, and if they moved to 2 Merrill the family would buy a small sailboat.  The sailboat won and the Wylie Family loved Hingham from the start.  In fact, at his 90th birthday party, David’s father received a document naming him the official Mayor of Crow Point.

The house was a Victorian with a mansard roof and an L-shaped porch across the front and side of the house. David Wylie recalls seeing pictures of the house with a tower that was removed before his family bought the house.

Wylie sold the house after the death of his 97-year-old father in 2005, subject to a legal restriction that no more than 1/3 of the house could be replaced with new construction. The new owners accepted the challenge and built the house you see today. The current owners have not made any major changes to the house. For them the view is the best part of the house “It is ever changing, never boring and beautiful in each season.”

A chamber pot from the Bates Boarding House. Even well into the 20th century, the lack of indoor facilities and sewage disposal were a pressing issue on Crow Point. Hingham Historical Society Collection. Gift of David Wiley.

A chamber pot from the Bates Boarding House. Even well into the 20th century, the lack of indoor facilities and sewage disposal were a pressing issue on Crow Point. Hingham Historical Society Collection. Gift of David Wiley.

 

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