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31 High Street

31 High Street

31 High Street

Loring H. Cushing House

1832

The house at 31 High Street is fascinating for many reasons: its history, its renovation, and the family who gutted and rebuilt the house with great respect for its history. Loring H. Cushing, a shoemaker, built the house in 1832 and lived there for over 50 years. His youngest son, Loring H Cushing, Jr., was a renowned toymaker who worked at the William S. Tower Toy Factory from 1869 to 1893 and later produced handmade toys in a home workshop.  From a total of nearly 500 bucket and toy makers in 1818, Hingham’s toy craftsmen had dwindled to just a handful by the time he died in 1915.

When the current owners bought the house in 1998, there was no insulation, and the kitchen had a privy with 2 holes, a pot belly stove, and an open coal bin.       The current owners wanted a “fixer upper” that could be part of their four childrens’ education. The barn was a major attraction because the family saw it as a wonderful workshop for learning how to use tools and build houses.

The family lived in a hotel for 6 weeks while the house was gutted and all old wood and brick saved. After that each child stayed in what would become his or her room where each had a cot and laundry basket. Every morning the cots were folded up and the baskets covered so they could sheet rock the walls and lay floorboards. The historic front of the house was kept intact, maintaining the look of a small New England cape.

The building was done in two phases. The first phase included a 40-foot addition featuring a dining room, kitchen, breakfast nook, TV room, and bedrooms. Phase 2 added a garage, master bedroom, cabana, pool, and pool house.

With six grandchildren in the family now, the owners made a 17-foot dining table, which is a major attraction and a necessity on Thanksgiving.

31 High Street in the mid 20th century. [Photograph from the collection of the Hingham Historical Society]

31 High Street in the mid 20th century. [Photograph from the collection of the Hingham Historical Society]

Loring H. Cushing, Jr. (1840-1927) in his Civil War uniform. Cushing returned from the war to take a job in the Tower Toy factory. When he retired, he fashioned hand-crafted toys in the workshop behind the house that are valued as antiques today. [Photograph from the collection of the Hingham Historical Society]

Loring H. Cushing, Jr. (1840-1927) in his Civil War uniform. Cushing returned from the war to take a job in the Tower Toy factory. When he retired, he fashioned hand-crafted toys in the workshop behind the house that are valued as antiques today. [Photograph from the collection of the Hingham Historical Society]

Examples of Loring Cushing’s handiwork as a toymaker. Loring was known for the fine detailing on his toys. Hingham Historical Society collection.

Examples of Loring Cushing’s handiwork as a toymaker. Loring was known for the fine detailing on his toys. Hingham Historical Society collection.

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