Hingham, Massachusetts

From Academic Kids

Hingham is a town located in Plymouth County on the South Shore of Massachusetts. As of the 2000 census, the town had a total population of 19,882.

For geographic and demographic information on the census-designated place Hingham, please see the article Hingham (CDP), Massachusetts.



Hingham was first settled as "Bare Cove" in 1633, and it was officially incorporated as a town in 1635 under the name "Hingham". The eastern part of the town became Cohasset, Massachusetts in 1770. The town was named for Hingham, England, a village located in Norfolk and the ancestral home of Abraham Lincoln's forebearers, including Revolutionary War General Benjamin Lincoln. There are statues of both Pres. Lincoln and Gen. Lincoln located in or adjacent to downtown Hingham Square.

Hingham is home to the United State's oldest continually-used wooden house of worship, the Old Ship Church, which currently serves members of the Unitarian Universalist faith. The meetinghouse name comes from the fact that the roof and ceiling rafters were the original skeleton and hull of the ship that brought settlers to Bare Cove from England.

In 1889, a wealthy Hingham resident, John Brewer, commissioned Frederick Law Olmstead to design a residential subdivision on the penninsula Brewer owned adjacent to Hingham Harbor. While Law's tree-lined horse-cart paths were made, the residential buildings were never constructed. Today this natural conservation land is called World's End and is maintained by the Trustees of Reservation.

World War II

Hingham was the location of a shipyard set up as an adjunct to the Fore River Shipyard in nearby Quincy, Massachusetts. The government built 16 ways on this 96.5 acre facility and operated for some 39 months during the war. The Hingham facility employed about 23,500 workers and ended up producing about 75 destroyer escorts (DEs), 17 Fast Transports (APDs), 95 LSTs, 40 landing craft (LCIs), for a grand total of 227 vessels. These smaller, relatively simple ships played a vital role in the US victory, and were built in record time. One DE was launched just 23 days after keel-laying, and in one 50-hour span a total of 5 LSTs were delivered. The port fell into disuse following the war and is now slated to be redeveloped into a multi-use marina, condominium, and retail complex.

During the war years, Eleanor Roosevelt made a trip to Hingham, including a drive down Main Street. Having been settled in the mid-17th century, Hingham's Main Street is lined with stately colonial houses, and at the time of World War II featured a canopy of elm trees. There are disagreements to this day as to Mrs. Roosevelt's precise wording upon touring Main Street, but it is either that she stated "This is the most beautiful Main Street in America" or the more metaphorical "This is the Main Street of America." Today Main Street lacks the elm canopy due to the effects of dutch elm disease.

At the conclusion of World War II, Hingham failed in a 1945 bid to use the peninsula World's End as the location for the planned United Nations Secretariat.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 64.9 km² (25.0 mi²). 58.2 km² (22.5 mi²) of it is land and 6.7 km² (2.6 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 10.26% water.


As of the census2 of 2000, there are 19,882 people, 7,189 households, and 5,478 families residing in the town. The population density is 341.6/km² (884.8/mi²). There are 7,368 housing units at an average density of 126.6/km² (327.9/mi²). The racial makeup of the town is 97.51% White, 0.40% Black or African American, 0.04% Native American, 0.88% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.22% from other races, and 0.95% from two or more races. 0.75% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 7,189 households out of which 37.8% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 65.7% are married couples living together, 8.5% have a female householder with no husband present, and 23.8% are non-families. 21.0% of all households are made up of individuals and 10.1% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.72 and the average family size is 3.19.

In the town the population is spread out with 27.7% under the age of 18, 4.3% from 18 to 24, 26.3% from 25 to 44, 27.5% from 45 to 64, and 14.1% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 40 years. For every 100 females there are 89.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 85.6 males.

The median income for a household in the town is $83,018, and the median income for a family is $98,598. Males have a median income of $66,802 versus $41,370 for females. The per capita income for the town is $41,703. 3.5% of the population and 2.4% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 4.7% of those under the age of 18 and 3.1% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.


Hingham is home to three secondary schools: Hingham High School, Derby Academy, and Notre Dame Academy. Hingham High is a co-educational, public high school serving the residents of the entire town for grades 9 to 12 and is located on Union Street near Hingham Center. Notre Dame is an all-girls Roman Catholic parochial high school located on Main Street (also known as Route 228) in South Hingham. There is one intermediate public school in Hingham called Hingham Middle School; the school itself was formed by the merger of South and Central Junior High Schools in the 1990s, its building (formerly housing South Junior High) was renovated in 1995, and it is located on Main Street near Notre Dame. Derby Academy, founded in 1784, is the oldest co-educational school in the country. There are a variety of public and private elementary and pre-schools in town. The three currently operating public elementary schools are named South, Foster, and Plymouth River.

Famous Citizenry

Hingham's most famous line of citizens are the Lincoln family, originally from Hingham, in Norfolk England. A bridge in Hingham over Route 3, the South East Expressway, is named after Revolutionary War hero General Benjamin Lincoln. The most famous Lincoln descendant however, who did not actually live in Hingham, is United States President and Civil War Commander-in-Chief Abraham Lincoln. A bronze statue, a replica of the famous sitting Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. sits at the foot of Lincoln Street at North Street.

Current Hingham residents of some notoriety include children's author Marc Brown and Red Sox knuckleballer pitcher Tim Wakefield.

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