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52 Cottage Street

52 Cottage Street

Joshua Leavitt House, 1845

Blacksmith, Joshua Leavitt (1815-1872) was born in Hingham to Martin Lincoln and Tirzah Pratt Thomas. On October 16, 1844, a young widow and Mayflower descendant named Frances Winslow (1805-1868) sold an unimproved lot of land containing about a third of an acre to Leavitt near the commercial center of Hingham at the intersection of Fearing Road for a price of $150.00. With Romantic design elements including pointed arches and a pitched and gabled roof, the original Greek/Gothic Revival style home he built there was one of the first structures built on the roadway soon to be named Cottage Street. Leavitt had married Almira Humphrey in 1838. The marriage produced 4 children; Moses, Ellen, Almira and Sarah. Around 1857, 52 Cottage became the parsonage for the First Baptist Church when Reverend Jonathan Tilson and his wife Martha Anderson bought the house. Reverend Tilson began a 25 year pastorate at the First Baptist Church of Hingham when he arrived in the town in 1851. He occasionally shared the residence with other families including Michael Preston of the Universalist Church and Charles T. Billings, pastor of the New North Church until approximately 1906. In 1909, George Melcher (1879-1969) acquired the home. Melcher was the 2nd lieutenant of volunteer militia Company K, participating in the border war with Mexico in 1917. In 1921, wishing for more bedroom space, Melcher hired architect Edgar T.P. Walker (1886-1965) who designed the West Hingham fire station. Walker “Colonialized” the Cottage St. residence by adding a dormer and extending the front line of the roof as well as adding a porch. This resulted in minimalizing the Gothic appearance of the home and Colonializing its curb appeal. Walker reported his additions authoring the article “An Interesting Transformation” in interior design magazine House Beautiful.

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