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178 Gardner Street

178 Gardner Street

Stephen Gardner III House, 1776

The house at Meadow Farm was created at the same time America was. Built by 23-year-old farmer Stephen Gardner III in 1776 as the Revolutionary War was beginning, it became a home for the Stephen, his wife Marcy and, later on, their seven surviving children. The youngest child, Josiah Gardner, inherited the house after Marcy’s death. It remained in the Gardner family until the 1930s.

The Cape style’s clean lines and symmetric design arose in the 17th and 18th centuries to weather the storms and wind of the rocky Massachusetts shore. The Gardner home’s lovely pitched roof and hand-hewn beams are all typical of its traditional timber framing. Shaped to be fitted together without nails, it is no wonder that the renowned early preservationist, Thomas P. Robinson, once called it the most perfect unspoiled example of an early half-Cape in Hingham. And the fact that the house is still standing, and still has many of the original fixtures, like a brick oven in one of the fireplaces, and old-style wide floorboards, is a testament to the craftsmanship put in more than 200 years ago. What’s more remarkable is that owners in the ensuing years have preserved much of the home’s interior features. While families everywhere were plastering interior walls and expanding staircases during the 18th and 19th centuries to create more genteel living spaces, the Gardners maintained the home very much in its original condition.

The current owners of 178 Gardner have continued the farming traditions of this property and invite tour goers to visit the goats, geese and gardens surrounding the property. Please do not enter the pens or feed the animals.