Girl Scout Project Moves Hingham’s Historic Districts into the 21ST Century

Girl scout hingham history
June 24, 2019

Hingham’s records on historic resources are now available online thanks to Weymouth Girl Scout Sallyrose Savage in partnership with Andrea Young, Administrator, Historical and Historic Districts Commissions.

Sallyrose is putting the finishing touches on her Gold Award project titled Moving Historic Districts into the 21st century.  The purpose of the project is to provide a roadmap to modernize the town’s inventory of historic resources because the more information that is available and easily accessible helps to support the preservation of these properties and the very history of Hingham that they represent.  Ms. Savage has been working with Andrea Young, Administrator, Historical and Historic Districts Commissions over the past year on this valuable project.  Sallyrose is the daughter of Hingham's Director of Community Planning Mary Savage-Dunham.

There are over 700 properties in Hingham’s historic districts.  Each property in an historic district has a Massachusetts Historical Commission Form B, which contains basic information about the property including: street address; historic name (if any); date built; type of building or property (residential, commercial, church, burial ground, etc.); style of the building (Colonial, Cape Cod, Greek Revival, etc.); historic district in which the property is located; Map and Lot numbers; and most of the Form B’s also contain narratives about the historical and architectural significance of the building or property.

As part of the project all of these Form B’s were scanned in and then linked, with assistance from Conservation Officer and GIS Administrator, to the Town’s Geographic Information System (GIS) or on-line mapping.  Ultimately interested parties will be able to research the history of a particular property or building from the website which will benefit customers who cannot get to Town Hall in person during business hours.

This project makes information about buildings and properties easily accessible to property owners who want to learn about the history of their homes.  Architects can use this information to help draw plans for additions and other modifications that are architecturally sympathetic to the original historic house. Architects, designers and other building professionals benefit from knowing the history of a house, its intended original use, changes over time, and its architectural history and significance to the neighborhood and streetscape. Realtors interested in representing the history and salient architectural features of a house as they discuss the property with prospective buyers, will have easy access to the information they need.  Prospective buyers also want to know as much as possible about the house they might purchase.

The project ultimately benefits the town because the more information that is available and easily accessible helps to support preservation of these properties and the history of Hingham that they represent.

Ms. Savage introduced her product in a formal presentation to several Historic Districts Commission members and heads of Town Hall departments in May, and will make a presentation to the full Commission at its July meeting.

The technical aspects of the project are finalized and the information is available on line by accessing the Town of Hingham website, and clicking on “Services” then “GIS”.

The product resulting from this project is dynamic, presenting various future opportunities for expansion and replication for other uses.

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