History of Hull, Massachusetts

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Originally known as Nantasket, Hull is a historic town in Plymouth County and is one of the oldest towns in Massachusetts.

The following is a timeline of the history of Hull, Massachusetts:

1621:

  • Miles Standish and Isaac Allerton of the Plymouth Colony land at what is now Allerton Point in modern day Hull and attempt to establish a trading post with the local natives.

1624:

  • Colonists John Oldham and John Lyford are expelled from Plymouth Colony for being religious dissenters and travel 26 miles north where they settle Nantasket.
  • Roger Conant lives in Nantasket for a year before relocating to Gloucester.

1644:

  • Nantasket is incorporated as a town in the Massachusetts Bay Colony and is renamed Hull, in honor of the English town of Kingston upon Hull.
Official Seal of Hull, Massachusetts
Official Seal of Hull, Massachusetts
  • A church, parsonage and parish lands are established near what is now modern-day Main Street.

1657:

  • The colonists build a 700-feet-long stone boundary wall, on what is now Falmouth Street, to form a boundary between the salt marsh and the highlands.

1680:

  • The John James House, a Colonial Saltbox-style house, is built on Spring Street.

1710:

  • Hull Cemetery is established on Spring Street.

1720:

  • The Cushing House, a Georgian-style farm house, is built on Spring Street.
  • The Loring House, a Georgian-style house, is built on Spring Street.

1734:

  • A new church is built on common land.

1750:

  • The Lovell Tavern, a Georgian-style cottage, is built on Main Street.
  • The Hunt House, the first parsonage in Hull, is built on Main Street.

1761:

  • The proprietors of the town lease some land on Green Hill to a group of developers for 999 years.

1775:

  • Fort Independence is constructed on Telegraph Hill to protect the area from British invasion during the Revolutionary War.

1800:

  • The Samuel Loring House, a Federal-style house, is built on Spring Street.

1810:

  • The Gray House, a 1 ½ story cottage, is built for Benjamin Cushing on Willow Street.

1815:

  • The Town Hall building on the Old Common is destroyed during a storm and is never rebuilt.

1818:

  • The Robert Goold House, a Federal-style house, is built on Spring Street.

1825:

  • The Sportsman Hotel, a Federal-style hotel building, is built by William Worrick on Nantasket Avenue.

1828:

  • The Jonathan Loring House, a Federal-style cottage, is built on Spring Street.

1835:

  • The John Mitchell House, a Greek Revival-style house, is built on Main Street.

1840:

  • The Jacob Tirrell House, a Greek Revival-style house, is built on Main Street.
  • The S.H. Sawyer House, a Greek Revival-style house, is built on Main Street.
  • The Mitchell – Pope House, a house built using a ship’s cabin salvaged from a local shipwreck, is built by John Mitchell on Main Street.

1845:

  • The John Smith House, a Federal-style house, is built by Prussian immigrant John Smith on Main Street.
  • The J.E. Tower House, a Greek Revival-style house, is built on Mount Pleasant Avenue.

1848:

  • Hull Town Hall, a Greek Revival-style municipal building, is built on Spring Street. The first floor is used as a school and the second floor is used as town offices and a meeting hall.
  • The Daniel Dill Reed House, a Greek Revival-style house, is built on Mount Pleasant Avenue.

1850:

  • The Francis McKann House, a Greek Revival-style house, is built on Main Street.
  • The Arthur Kibbe House, a Greek Revival-style house, is built on Main Street.
  • The John Reed House, a Greek Revival-style house, is built on Mount Pleasant Avenue.
  • The population of Hull is 253.

1853:

  • The John Luchie – Joseph Galiano House, a Greek Revival-style house that features Gothic Revival elements, is built on Spring Street.

1854:

  • The Rockland House Hotel is built by Colonel Nehemiah Ripley on Atlantic Hill.

1855:

  • The New Atlantic Guest House, a Gothic Revival-style hotel building, is built on Valley Beach Avenue.

1860:

  • The population of Hull is 285.

1865:

  • The E.B. Matthews House, a small cottage, is built on Main Street.
  • The S.Q. Currier House, a Greek Revival-style house, is built on Mount Pleasant Avenue.

1868:

  • The proprietors of Hull are forced to sell the common land at Nantasket Beach to Plymouth County for $1. The county immediately resells the land to a group of real estate developers who divided it into house lots.

1869:

  • The Nantasket Steam Boat Wharf is built by the Hingham Company on George Washington Boulevard.

1870:

  • The R.H. Steams House, an unusual 1 ½ story Queen Anne-style house with a 2 ½ story tower-like gabled addition, is built on Meade Avenue.
  • The population of Hull is 261.

1873:

  • The Lodge, a late Queen Anne-style summer cottage, is built on Reef Point.
  • John Boyle O’Reilly, local poet and editor of The Pilot newspaper, purchases the Hunt House on Main Street but finds it is beyond restoration and demolishes it.

1875:

  • The W. H. Long – F. A. Schirmer House, an eclectic Stick Style house, is built on Cadish Avenue. It later becomes rundown and is nicknamed the “Witch House” by locals because of its odd and dilapidated appearance but is eventually refurbished.
  • The Wentworth House, a Queen Anne-style house, is built on Meade Avenue.
  • The C.A. Ransom House, an Italianate style-house, is built by retired sea captain C.A. Ransom on Porrazzo Road.

1877:

  • The Atlantic House Hotel is built at the top of Atlantic Hill.

1879:

  • The Sagamore Hotel, a luxury hotel catering to wealthy summer tourists, is built by retired sea captain C.A. Ransom on Sagamore Hill.
View of Nantasket Beach in Hull, Mass circa 1879
View of Nantasket Beach in Hull, Mass circa 1879
  • The John Boyle O’Reilly House, a Queen Anne and Shingle-style house, is built by John Boyle O’Reilly on Main Street where the Hunt House once stood.

1880:

  • The population of Hull is 383.

1882:

  • The Hull Yacht Club is established on the Bay side of Hull Hill.
  • The Hull Memorial United Methodist Church, a Stick Style building, is built on Spring Street.
  • The Nemasket Land Company is formed to develop the land sold to developers by Plymouth County in 1868.

1884:

  • The Pacific House is built at Nantasket Beach.

1885:

  • The Edward G. Knight House, a Queen Anne-style house, is built on Western Avenue.
  • The Charles H. Knight House, a Stick Style house, is built on Western Avenue.
  • Arsonists attempt to burn down the fire department’s hose station on Strawberry Hill. The fire department relocates the hose equipment elsewhere and a second arson attack destroys the building completely.

1888:

  • On November 24-26, the Great Blizzard of 1888 strikes Hull and sinks five ships. Hull’s volunteer lifesavers rescue 29 people from these ships.

1889:

  • The Point Allerton Lifesaving Station, a Shingle-style building with Queen Anne features, is built on Nantasket Avenue.
  • A school is built near Spring Street and the first floor is used as storage for the town’s fire hose when the building is not in use during the summer.

1890:

  • The H. D. House Delano House, a Colonial Revival-style house, is built on Summit Avenue.
  • The Riley Pebbles House, a Queen Anne-style house, is built on Summit Avenue.
  • The Louis Galiano House, a Queen Anne-style house, is built on Telegraph Avenue.
  • On August 10, John Boyle O’Reilly dies of an accidental overdose of sleeping medicine at his house in Hull.
  • The population of Hull is 989.

1892:

  • A fire breaks out at the Arlington House, where the town clerk is lodging, and many town records in his possession at the time are destroyed.

1895:

  • The E. D. Conant – Cardinal Cushing House, a Colonial Revival-style house, is built as a summer home for Fall River textile manufacturer E.D. Conant on Bluff Road.
  • The Dr. Webber House, a late Queen Anne-style house, is built on Cadish Avenue.
  • The George F. Hall House, a Shingle-style house, is built on Gatehouse Lane.
  • The F.C. Welch House, a Colonial Revival-style house, is built on Highland Avenue.
  • The John L. Dill House, a Colonial Revival-style house, is built on Spring Street.

1898:

  • On November 26-27, the Portland Gale of 1898 strikes Hull. During the storm, a schooner named the Abel E. Babcock wrecks on Toddy Rocks near Stony Beach and all 12 crew members die, a coal barge also wrecks on Toddy Rocks and three crew members are killed, a barque named the Lucky Nickels wrecks on Black Rock near Point Allerton and two crew members are killed, a schooner named the Harry R. Tilton wrecks at Stony Beach and seven crew members are rescued, and several other ships and barges are wrecked but the crews are rescued.

1899:

  • A portion of Nantasket Beach is purchased by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and is run by the Metropolitan District Commission as a public reservation.

1900:

  • Nantasket Avenue is constructed.
  • The White House, a Queen Anne and Bungalow-style house, is built on H Street.
  • The John F. Fitzgerald House, a Tudor Revival-style house, is built on Nantasket Avenue.
  • The Paragon Park Steeplechase Building is built on Park Avenue.
  • Sometime around the turn of the century, Fort Independence is renamed Fort Revere in honor of Paul Revere.
  • The population of Hull is 1,703.
View of Hull, Mass from Paddock's Island circa 1901
View of Hull, Mass from Paddock’s Island circa 1901

1903:

  • The MDC Waiting Room & Restaurant, a Spanish eclectic-style building, is built on Nantasket Avenue.
  • The MDC Laundry Building is built on Nantasket Avenue.
  • The Fort Andrews Guard House is built on Peddocks Island.
  • Fort Andrews Enlisted Mens’ Quarters is built on Peddocks Island
  • Fort Andrews Quartermaster’s Stores is built on Peddocks Island
  • Fort Andrews Residential Row is built on Peddocks Island
  • Fort Andrews Officers’ Quarters is built on Peddocks Island

1905:

  • Paragon Park, an internationally-themed amusement park, is built on Wharf Avenue.
  • The William Bergan House is built on Nantasket Avenue.
  • The Hull Fire Station is built on Nantasket Avenue.

1910:

  • The Paragon Park Arcade is built on Nantasket Avenue.
  • The Paragon Park roller coaster is built on Nantasket Avenue.
  • The population of Hull is 2,103.

1916:

  • In February, during a snowstorm, a fire breaks out in the Nantasket Beach area which heavily damages Paragon Park and destroys the Rockland Hotel.
  • The John Boyle O’Reilly House is purchased by the town for $7,000. The downstairs is used as a public library while the upstairs houses the town offices.

1917:

  • The John Boyle O’Reilly Monument, designed by Raymond Averill Porter, is erected on the property of the John Boyle O’Reilly house on Main Street.

1920:

  • The Temple Israel Synagogue is built on Hadassah Way.
  • The population of Hull is 1,771.

1921:

  • The Town Hall is built on Atlantic Avenue.
  • The Logan Avenue bridge, a 118-foot-long pratt pony truss bridge, is built by the Rockaway – Nantasket Land Company on Logan Avenue.

1923:

  • A new town hall building is constructed on Atlantic Avenue.

1927:

  • On January 7, the Atlantic House Hotel catches fire during a blizzard and burns to the ground in less than an hour.

1928:

  • The Paragon Park Carousel building is constructed on Wharf Avenue to house the park’s carousel, which is made of hand carved horses imported from Germany by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company.

1929:

  • On November 28, a fire breaks out on a steamboat at Nantasket Pier and the entire fleet of the Nantasket Beach Steamboat Company at the pier is destroyed.

1930:

  • The population of Hull is 2,047.

1931:

  • The George Boulevard Washington Bridge, a 189-foot-long deck plate girder bridge, is built on George Washington Boulevard.

1932:

  • The Bernie King Pavillion is built on Nantasket Avenue.

1935:

  • The State Bath House, a Moderne-style building, is built on Nantasket Avenue.
  • Hull Shore Drive is constructed.

1937:

  • The Allerton Bridge, a 25-foot-long steel stringer bridge, is built on Fitzpatrick Way.

1938:

  • The Hull Lifesaving Museum Boathouse is built on Main Street.

1940:

  • The population of Hull is 2,167.

1950:

  • The population of Hull is 3,379.

1960:

  • The population of Hull is 7,055.

1970:

  • The population of Hull is 9,961.

1980:

  • The population of Hull is 9,714.

1986:

  • The Sportsman Hotel is destroyed in a fire.

1990:

  • The population of Hull is 10,466.

2000:

  • The population of Hull is 11,050.

2010:

  • The population of Hull is 10,293.

Sources:
MACRIS, Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System, Massachusetts Historical Commission, mhc-macris.net/
Pepe, William. “The ‘Grand Hotels’ of Nantasket Beach.” Collectors Journal, 30 Nov. 2018, collectorsjournal.com/barrspcn/news/the-grand-hotels-of-nantasket-beach/article_8732cfbc-ec10-11e8-9227-93d5b58c7201.html
“History.” Fort Revere Park & Preservation Society, fortreverepark.org/history
“History of Hull.” Town of Hull, town.hull.ma.us/sites/g/files/vyhlif3286/f/uploads/a_history_of_hull_0.pdf
“Hull Fire Department History.” Hull Fire Department, town.hull.ma.us/fire-department/pages/hull-fire-department-history

About Rebecca Beatrice Brooks

Rebecca Beatrice Brooks is the author and publisher of the History of Massachusetts Blog. Rebecca is a freelance journalist and history lover who got her start in journalism working for small-town newspapers in Massachusetts and New Hampshire after she graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.A. in journalism. Visit this site's About page to find out more about Rebecca.

4 thoughts on “History of Hull, Massachusetts

    1. Rebecca Beatrice Brooks Post author

      I’m not sure. I was trying to figure that out myself but couldn’t find much on it. I assumed it closed after the fire but they apparently just rebuilt it instead. If I find anymore info on it I’ll add it to the article.

      Reply

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