Tuesday Trivia: Historic Nature Of Old Ship Parish House

By Kristen Arute, Hingham Current Staff; October 20, 2020
Taken from the Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System (MACRIS)

The Old Ship Parish House located at 107 Main Street sits in an area of town that is protected by two overarching designations.

In addition to local zoning controls, local historic districts are one of the oldest and most effective mechanisms for historic preservation in the United States.  


The Lincoln Historic District in Downtown Hingham is Hingham’s first historic district. Both the District and the town’s Historic Districts Commission were established pursuant to a 1966 Town Meeting vote and a special Act of the Massachusetts Legislature.


In 1987, Hingham voted to adopt its own Historic Districts By-Law which governs the Historic Districts Commission and all the local historic districts in Hingham. The Lincoln Historic District was designated a National Register District in January 1991 due, in part, to its architecture.

The Bachelors' Row/Pear Tree Hill District was designated a Local Historic District in 1988.

The Town website says, "The function of the Historic Districts Commission is to identify and protect the physical character of older buildings and their settings in historic districts and to assure that modifications or new construction in historic districts will not be incompatible."


The Historic Districts Act and By-Law state that “no building or structure within an historic district shall be constructed or altered in any way that affects exterior architectural features.” The Commission would first have to review the work proposed and issued a certificate of appropriateness or a certificate of hardship.

Maps of the Lincoln Historic District (above) and the Bachelors' Row/Pear Tree Hill District (below) are taken from the Town of Hingham website.

The Hingham Historical Commission proposed creating the Historic Districts Commission and is responsible for maintaining the inventory of Hingham's historic assets. Currently this includes information on over 1,500 properties.

Historic Districts Commission members:

Michael Collard

Hans von der Luft

Carol Pyles

Catherine Daley

Justin Aborn

Ben Burnham

Tomas Kindler

Tracy Shriver

Robert Edson

Mary Anne Donaldson

Historical Commission members:

Kevin Burke

Sarah Carolan

Signe McCollough

Jim Conroy

Elizabeth Dings

Stephen Dempsey

Robert Stansell

Kristen Arute can be reached at kristen@hinghamcurrent.com.