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Hingham historian celebrates another anniversary

Created date

September 21st, 2009

[caption id="attachment_3123" align="alignright" width="280" caption="Hingham town historian Winston Hall, right, wrote By the Wayside, featuring quirky historical vignettes. (Image courtesy of Hingham Historical Society; photo by Ray Wolfe)"][/caption] Many people who live at Linden Ponds in Hingham know something of the town s rich history. It certainly helps that the town s historian Winston Hall also happens to live at the Erickson community.

History in the making

This fall, the town of Hingham begins a yearlong celebration of its 375th anniversary, but Hall has been living in and learning about the town since shortly after its 300th anniversary. Hingham is a very interesting, educational town, she says. There are a lot of beautiful places to see it s one of the most beautiful towns in Massachusetts. Though Hall grew up in Charleston, S.C., her childhood there played a part in the role she would later assume in Hingham. As a young girl, Hall would watch her mother give historical tours of the city. Occasionally, Hall would give her own. But she never set out to become an historian. In fact, she earned her master s degree in store service education, was employed as a training director for a department store, and also worked as a substitute teacher. Yet Hall s knowledge and interests soon pushed her in a new direction.

Scenery changes, passion remains

Hall has been a Hingham resident since 1938, when she moved there with her husband shortly after they were married. In Hingham, a friend s mother had served on the committee for the town s 300th anniversary celebration and encouraged Hall to get involved. As soon as she had put her children through college, she left her job as a substitute teacher and joined a ladies committee within the Hingham Historical Society. For 20 years, Hall led tours through the town s historical homes, jotting down notes and stories of landmarks she also knew along the route. Those vignettes were eventually made into a pamphlet titled By the Wayside, available at the Historical Society s gift shop.

Telling stories

Hall s pamphlet includes the story of the socalled Jackass Park, a green space once encircled by two streetcar tracks along Main Street. One story of its name is that there were donkeys tied up in the space, but the other story is that somebody said, That s a jackass place for a park, Hall says with a smile. Since making the short move to Linden Ponds in 2006, Hall has shared many of her stories with those who live there. Most recently, she recorded a TV special with Joan Mahoney, who also resides at the community. The show, set to air on Linden Ponds inhouse TV station this fall, features photographs of Hingham taken by Mahoney s son, who is a professional photographer. Hall maintains that much of Hingham s history is very well preserved, making it of continuous interest. She remains the go-to person, by e-mail or telephone, for Hingham residents and others looking for information about their family history or landmarks in the town. Despite her title and having helped edit the latest volumes of the town s official history books, Hall insists, I don t know everything, but I have a pretty good idea where to find it.