History and Responsibilities
The Historical Commission maintains a "certified" status through the Massachusetts Historical Commission, which in turn is linked to the National Park Service and the United States Department of the Interior.
The HHC maintains the inventory of the town's historic assets, which currently includes information on over 1,500 properties. Updates are made to the inventory throughout the year as more historical properties are researched and additional information is added to properties currently listed.
The HHC also administers specific statutes that protect historic properties, such as the demolition delay By-law, and also gives advice through a variety of environmental review processes, particularly the Federal Section 106 historic review process and the Massachusetts Historical Commission State Register program.
In 1966, the Historic Districts Study Committee, led by Chair Tom O'Donnell recommended the establishment of the Historic Districts Commission. The Historic Districts Commission was established that year pursuant to a vote of the Town and special act of the Legislature.
The first Historic District, known as the "Lincoln Historic District", was created and proposed in 1966 and accepted by the Town at the 1967 Annual Town Meeting.
In August of 1972, a form letter was received by the Hingham Historical Society concerning the preparation of the State Preservation Plan by the Massachusetts Historical Commission. This led to the initial inventory research performed by the Hingham Historical Society in February and March of 1973.
"Attendance at a workshop held by the Massachusetts Historical Society in May of 1973 was requested by the Selectmen, and the report of that meeting urged the establishment of a local Historical Commission to undertake the inventory as an official responsibility. With the cooperation of the Hingham Selectmen, Town Clerk and the Historical Society, the Hingham Historical Commission was established by vote of the Town on April 22, 1974."
Julian C. Loring was the first Chair of the Historical Commission. That first year of the Commission's existence, including the initial forms prepared by the Historical Society, more than 100 completed forms, including photographs were submitted to the Massachusetts Historical Commission for the State Preservation Plan.
We were well on our way in the creation of the Town of Hingham's present day Comprehensive Community Inventory of Historical, Architectural and Archeological Assets.
As time passed and the inventory grew, additional Historic Districts were created. In 1978, after Julian C. Loring's death, John P. Richardson became Chair of the Commission and served until 1986.
About this time, preservation consultants Minxie Fannin and Monique Lehner were hired to perform the research and add the majority of items that are currently on the Town's inventory.