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Hingham Historical Society moves house tours to September

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  August 15, 2012 04:24 PM

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The Hingham Historical Society will host its 88th Annual Hingham House Tour this year, although this time around, the event will occur in September.

Typically the event occurred during the summer, which had become cumbersome, Hingham Historical Society Director Suzanne Buchanan said.

“Summers have just gotten so nuts for people with kids and families, and New England is just so pretty in the fall, we thought it was a good time of year to do something like [this],” Buchanan said.

The event will occur on Sept. 21 and 22 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and will feature homes constructed in the last three centuries.

The theme this year will be Village, Town and Country, a tie in that represents all the houses on the tour. Houses this year mostly have been chosen from Hingham Center and Downtown Hingham.

According to Buchanan, when Hingham was established in the 1630s, it consisted of two villages – Hingham Villages, and the Plain, which people today know now as Hingham Center.

“What we’re tracing is the development of the town from farming villages full of English yeoman in the 17th century to the growth of small industry and tradesmen in the 18th century, and the further advancement of maritime wealth in the 19th century to the town and country piece - the two 20th century houses on the tour - when Hingham was becoming a fashionable community featured in the magazine ‘Town and Country,’ ” Buchanan said.

The tour will also feature three historic town-owned properties: Old Ordinary, Old Derby, and Wilder Hall.

People participating in the tour buy tickets for $25 beforehand or $30 the day of the event and explore the houses with the property owners. Some people open up their whole homes, others showcase just the first floor.

Participants also receive maps showing where each property is.

“In recent years we’ve also had a web component, which has a more detailed history of each house, historic photos, and historic things that go with the story of that particular house,” Buchanan said. “The house tour has always been a wonderful thing, but we used to focus on decorator showcases. Now we focus on the history of the house, the history of the families that lived there, and how they integrate with the history of the town, so it’s a cohesive view of a New England community.”

The tour helps bring in money for the running of the Hingham Historical Society, and typically nets $10,000 to $12,000 annually.

The fund-raising aspect is in keeping with the history of the tours, which were started in 1924 as a way to raise money for the upkeep of Old Ordinary.

“There was a group of ladies that needed to raise funds to take care of the building and acquire furniture and pieces of the collection, so that was the fund-raiser that they established. It went from there every year; even during the war years they did it,” Buchanan said.

For more information about the tour or to buy tickets, call the Hingham Historical Society at 781-749-1288, For more information about the Society, visit their website.

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