Photo of the Eagle Iron Foundry on Summer Street c. 1895, with Hingham Harbor visible beyond. From the Albert W. Kimball Collection at the Hingham Historical Society
Where we enjoy water views along Summer Street today, there was once a thriving industrial center at Hingham Harbor. On a section of the shoreline between Whitney and Barnes wharves once stood the Eagle Iron Foundry, locally called the Howard Foundry.
The Foundry was built about 1844, burned in 1846, and was rebuilt rather quickly. It cast sash weights, furnaces, and plow blades for the Howard plow. The plow blades were sent up to Middle Street, where the wooden parts were attached before the completed plow was sold.
The Foundry closed around 1895, and if you look closely you will notice that all the windows are boarded up. This helps date this photograph.
The building was renovated to house the generator powering the Hingham Street Railway and then, after the railway closed, George Kimball repurposed the building as a workshop.
Charles Howard (1791-1860) of Hingham invented the first iron plow capable of cutting the tough sod of the American prairie. This small model was made by his son, Elijah Leavitt Howard (1833-1904), for his own daughter, Anne B. Howard. Gift of Anne O. Borntraeger and Esther Oldham, Charles Howard’s great-granddaughters, to the HIngham Historical Society.
We don’t have many interior views this nice of the old Hingham shops. On the shelves of E. Wilder and Son Grocery Store (at 613 Main St., now the Cracker Barrel) you can see Quaker Oats, Van Houten’s Cocoa, canned foodstuffs, and various tobacco products. The man is Fred Wilder. Fred worked not only in the store, with his father Ezra, but also in a Weymouth shoe factory, where had had the enviable job of “stitcher.” Fred and his wife, Hattie Shute Wilder, lived in an apartment over the store for 12 years before moving to 606 Main Street. Fred and Hattie both worked in shoe factories in addition to caring for aging relatives and and the store.
Men took the majority of the early photographs of Hingham. As cameras became smaller and film could be sent out to be developed, women took up the hobby as well. Miss Genevieve Crosby worked as a clerk in the town accountant’s office and loved taking photographs. She picked the hobby up from her parents, Alanson and Charlotte Crosby, who took many photographs of her as she was growing up.
Genevieve Crosby prepares a shot. Gift of Genevieve Crosby. In the photographic collection of the Hingham Historical Society
Shown here on Hingham’s North Street before it was paved, Genevieve Crosby prepares a shot–and you can see the delight on her face. Crosby took a series of photos of the interior and exterior of her home at 197 North Street and of Hingham Town Hall and the surrounding areas of town. Together with snapshots of family and friends, they are now in the photograph collection of the Hingham Historical Society, providing a small window into life in Hingham in the 1920s.
Photograph of Genevieve Crosby as a small child. Gift of Genevieve Crosby. In the photographic collection of the Hingham Historical Society.
The parlor hearth of the Crosby home at 197 North Street, Hingham. Gift of Genevieve Crosby. In the photographic collection of the Hingham Historical Society