Hull Massachusetts, 1890

Hull is one of the most picturesque and unique towns in the vicinity of a metropolis. It is 9 miles distant from Boston across the harbor, and 22 by land. The Nantasket Beach Railroad, operated by the Old Colony Railroad, extends the entire length of the town to Pemberton, at the extreme northwestern point. This town is the smallest in the county, and the smallest but two in the State. It forms the extreme north of Plymouth County, occupying the peninsula of Nantasket, which runs from Hingham and Cohasset north to Point Allerton, then turns a right angle westward; this section making the southern line of the outer part of Boston Harbor. The peninsula is about 6 miles long; and for nine tenths of its length is scarcely more than one-half a mile in width, and, at some places, not more than forty rods. On the eastern side is a beautiful sandy beach; and from five rounded eminences called hills, quite equally distributed along the narrow extent of the town, are delightful prospects of the ocean, of Cohasset, Hingham, and Boston with its harbor and islands, of the headlands of Winthrop and Nahant, and the forest-crowned hills of the interior. Point Allerton, under whose view all large vessels pass in entering the harbor, and, further west, Telegraph Hill, on which the lines of an old fort may still be seen, are the most prominent points on the peninsula. Near these are a signal station for vessels, and a finely equipped United States life-saving station. The eminences, beginning at the north, are named Telegraph Hull, Point Allerton, Strawberry Hill, Sagamore Hill, and Gun Hill.

The town has 561 dwelling-houses, including the hotels, and 451 inhabitants. Some 59 of the latter are engaged in fishing and maritime pursuits, a few are occupied on the half-dozen farms; and the remainder of the men are mostly employed on the railroad and steamboats, and about the hotels and places of amusement. The last two are distributed to every part of the town, but the chief places are Nantasket, at the middle of the peninsula, and Pemberton, at its outer extreme. All the hotels have their music and dancing apartments and billiard rooms; while some employ bands of music through the summer season. Everywhere a beach is near at hand, while on the eastern side is magnificent surf bathing. The principal dwelling-place of the permanent inhabitants is on the broad part of the peninsula west of Point Allerton. Here are the old house occupied by Lieutenant William Haswell during the opening scenes of the Revolution; and the Souther House, where the eloquent James Otis, of the same period, had his summer home. The place was, for a time, a kind of neutral ground for the British and Americans. Mrs. Susanna (Haswell) Rowson, who spent a part of her early life in Hull, has given a vivid description of the place, and of a tragic scene which occurred here, in her beautiful story of "Rebecca."

This town was incorporated May 29, 1644, having then 20 dwelling-houses. Why it was named " Hull" is not now known. A fort had already been erected, also a church which was blown down in the great gale of September, 1815. The Rev. Zachariah Whitman was settled here in 1670; the Rev. Samuel Veazie in 1753; and the Rev. Solomon Prentice on March 21, 1768. In 1775, the people were driven from the town by the British; and it does not appear that a minister has been settled there since that date. The town sent 24 men into the Union armies during the late war, of whom 13 were lost.

Hull has one post-office. Its two school buildings are valued at about $1,700. The number of legal voters in the town is 139. The valuation in 188& was $2,197,600; with a tax-rate of $13 on $1,000.

The scenic beauty of Nantasket, its entire environment by salt water, its splendid bathing, luxurious hotels, easy accessibility by railroad and steamboat, render it a most attractive watering-place for Boston people, as well as for the inhabitants of the inland cities.

pp. 390-391 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890

Gazetteer