The Marshfield Historical Commission was formed in 1964. It is the official town historical body and is governed by Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 40, Section 8d. The Commission consists of seven members who are appointed to three-year terms by the Board of Selectmen: it serves as the liaison with the Massachusetts Historical Commission, administers the Town’s demolition delay bylaw with the town Building Department and functions as the promoter and caretaker of a number of Town-owned historic properties.
The Marshfield Demolition Delay Bylaw, prepared and sponsored by the Commission, was approved by the Marshfield voters at the annual town meeting of 2008. The by-law provides for a delay of up to one year in the demolition of a property fifty years old or older that the Commission has determined to be historically significant to the town to provide time to explore other alternatives. Sixty properties have been reviewed and two historic homes, a unique barn and components of several outbuildings have been preserved using the by-law as a vehicle for discussion. A summary of the by-law is attached. The Commission at has no paid staff so the telephone number at the top of this page is used to record messages for later response. If you have questions regarding the demolition delay bylaw please refer them to Al Almeida at (781) 834-4483 for a prompt reply.
The Commission is responsible for Daniel Webster’s law office, a National Historic Landmark owned by the town. This is the original building used as an office by Webster at his Green Harbor estate.The law office is currently located at the Historic Winslow House on Webster Street and the project to return it to its original location at the Webster Estate is currently underway. It will be open to the public after relocation and renovation.
The Daniel Webster Estate, located at 238 Webster Street is owned by the Town and is leased and managed by the Daniel Webster Preservation Trust, an all-volunteer nonprofit entity. The estate’s classic Queen Anne-style Victorian mansion, situated on fourteen acres of land granted in 1640 to William Thomas by the Plymouth Proprietors, was built in 1880 by Caroline Story White Webster, the widow of Webster’s son Fletcher who lost his life in the Civil War. The house rests on the foundation of the original Webster home which was destroyed by fire in 1878. The estate is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is available to the public through tours, teas, lectures and special events. Information about the estate and its activities is available at www.danielwebsterestate.org or by calling (781)834-9867.
The Commission is also responsible for a Concord coach built in 1854. The coach was purchased by Charles Hatch to carry passengers to Marshfield from the Boston ferry terminal in Hingham and the South Shore Railroad terminal in Cohasset. When rail service was extended to Marshfield in 1871 the coach was used to carry vacationers from the train station, located at the site of the skate park in Marshfield center, to the several hotels in Brant Rock and Green Harbor. The coach is available for viewing at the Historic Winslow House on Webster Street. Further information regarding availability can be found at www.winslowhouse.org.
The blacksmith shop, owned by the Town and maintained by the Commission and the Marshfield Historical Society, is also located at the Historic Winslow House. Demonstrations of the blacksmithing art are a favorite of Marshfield school children. The Historical Society and the Commission have begun a project to renovate the building. Check the Society web site for availability.
The Historical Commission oversees the training green next to the town hall. Requests for use of the green should be directed to the Commission at (781) 834-5532.
The Commission started a program of procuring preservation covenants for sections of the Pilgrim Trail in the 1970’s. This ancient Indian path was designated a road by the Plymouth Court in 1637 and is probably the first court-ordered road in the country. It runs from Plymouth to Scituate. Plans are in process to clean up portions of the trail that have become impassable.
Over forty granite and cast markers have been placed around Marshfield to identify historically significant sites.
In 2010 the efforts of the Commission, in conjunction with the Massachusetts Historical Commission and the residents, resulted in the listing of the Marshfield Hills area on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Marshfield MA Historical House Survey is a listing of nearly 300 properties that have been determined to be of historical significance to the Town. This is a partial listing: absence from this list does not mean that a property will not be found historically significant by the Commission in application of the demolition delay bylaw. Effort continues to complete the listing. If you feel that your property should be on this list please contact us at (781)834-5532. A copy of the list is attached.
We have recently completed a survey of streets in Marshfield with names attributed to local and national history. The list details the origin of the names and is attached.
The goal of the Marshfield Historical Commission is to preserve the history of our town and to make that history available to the public.
Other Historical Photo’s are the Marshfield Fair and Brant Rock beach.