82 Gardner Street
Elisha Whiton House, 1763
82 Gardner Street is an example of renovation with careful regard for preservation. Elisha Whiton built the house in 1763, and future owners made renovations that retained the historical integrity of this 250-year-old home.
Elisha was a farmer and butcher. He resided in his home with his wife and their 7 children until his death; his descendants owned the house until 1928 when a family friend bought it.
The house was a modest center chimney, Cape Cod type farmhouse. The two front rooms were a parlor and a bedchamber with rare pocket sliding ‘Indian Shutters’ for privacy. The keeping room in back was where the Whiton family did most of their day to day living. Two smaller rooms flanked this room, a typical layout for this type of house. Late nineteenth century antiquarians dubbed these spaces “borning” rooms, but later historians determined that, although they sometimes contained a bed, they seem to have usually been dedicated to storage. Upstairs had one bedchamber and floor space for sleeping.
Genteel embellishments added around 1826 included fluted pilasters around the front door, and intricate dentil moldings on the wainscoting and mantels in the front rooms.
As the house had no modernization (still a privy, hand dug well, and no kitchen), it evolved into a basic summerhouse for the Whiton descendants. The Hingham Journal wrote in 1895, “Bernard Capen and wife are stopping at their summer residence on Gardner St. for the month of August.”
Preservation enthusiasts who bought the house in the early 1970s modernized the home to include heat, indoor plumbing and a galley kitchen.
Since 1976 the current owners have added to the original 26”x 38” footprint – a kitchen, a 3-season room, and a master suite. They have painstakingly worked to replicate and continue features from the original house in their additions.
The house is decorated with the owners’ eye for Hingham-made antiques and crafts.
The Whiton barn burned in 1920 and was replaced 10 years ago.