Connect with us:
331 Main Street

331 Main Street

Ebed Ripley House, 1836 and1870

The current house was built in 1836 as a simple one-story structure next door at the site of the current Central Fire Station. It was built by Ebed Ripley’s brother, carpenter Justin Ripley (1783-1870). Around 1870 Ebed, who owned a successful men’s and boys’ clothing store in Boston, decided to build a bigger home there, so he had the little house built by Justin moved here to 331 Main Street. At that point the home was reconstructed in the fashionable Second Empire style with a second floor and a French style mansard roof. Seth S. Hersey, Jr. (b. 1833) of South Hingham was the master carpenter. The house originally had a stonework fence out in front which was later removed.

Not long after it was moved and improved, Ripley sold the house to attorney Joseph Oliver Burdett (b. 1848) from North Reading. He was a member of the Massachusetts legislature in 1884 and 1886. He was married to local girl Ella J. Corthell (b. 1852) and had three children. According to the Hingham Journal, Joseph and Ella entertained guests frequently in the house, except in the summer months which they spent in Nantasket. In 1881 the Burdetts added a barn in the rear of the residence which now serves as the garage. The Burdetts lived in the house with a servant and at times another boarder, until 1920. The house then sold to Charles W. Leavitt whose family owned it until 1935. The current owners bought the house in 2006. The fancy new house that Ebed built for himself next door suffered a major fire in 1889 and was eventually torn down to make way for the new fire station.

A nineteenth century view of the Ebed Ripley House shows the carriage house/barn behind built in the same Second Empire style as the house. The shutters on the front door are a testament to New England’s sometimes violent weather. Photo courtesy of the Hingham Historical Society.

A detail from the 1903 Atlas of Plymouth County shows the similar footprints of the Ebed Ripley houses. 331 Main is in the lot marked “J.O. Burdett” and is significantly smaller than Ripley’s own house, which is shown in the next lot below.

Neighbors gathered at Ebed Ripley’s house next door to 331 Main Street when it was struck by a serious fire in 1889. According to an oral history in the book When I Think of Hingham, many of them ran in to help carry out furniture. Ripley rebuilt, and remained in the home until his death in 1925. After that the house fell to ruin. It was demolished around 1940 to make room for the new Central Fire Station. The smaller Ripley house, shown to the right, has endured, one of the best-preserved Second Empire houses in Hingham. Photo courtesy of the Bare Cove Fire Museum.