About - Our History
The Hingham Community Center (HCC) is located in the Ensign John Thaxter House at the corner of South and Central Street in Hingham Square. The Thaxter House was constructed as a family residence in 1718. In the 300 years since, the building has undergone numerous expansions and renovations to fulfil many different purposes. In 1957 the John Thaxter House became home to HCC, previously known as the Wompatuck Club and the Wompatuck Community Center. Today, HCC is governed by a community board and provides an array of programs, classes, activities, and community events for the South Shore. Our programming has changed over the years, but our commitment to serve and enrich the community and to provide a gathering place for our neighbors has remained the same.
Read below for more information on our building’s rich history. If you have any information or photos to add to our timeline, please contact us.
1718 - Colonel Samuel Thaxter built a home for his son and new daughter-in-law, Farmer John Thaxter (1693/4 -1733) and Grace Stockbridge.
1740 - The property was transferred to Farmer John Thaxter's son, Esquire John Thaxter (b. 1721) who resided at the property on South Street until his death in 1802. Esquire Thaxter served as a Constable, Selectman, Town Treasurer, and Representative to the General Court of Massachusetts.
1755 -1792 - Esquire John Thaxter's son and namesake, also Esquire John Thaxter was born at the homestead, graduated from Harvard College, served as Deputy Secretary to Congress and, later, as Private Secretary to President John Adams.
1784-1787 - English artist, John Hazlitt, painted the murals surrounding the front room fireplace.
1786 - A large addition was added to the paternal homestead to accommodate John’s son, Quincy Thaxter, and his bride, Elizabeth Cushing.
1803 - Norton Q. Thaxter (1803-1873), son of Quincy Thaxter and nephew of John Thaxter, resided in the home until his death.
1877-1896 - The property was sold to St. Paul’s Church and served as its rectory.
1897 - Meanwhile, in another area of South Street, the Wompatuck Club was established as a men’s club in the William O. Lincoln House.
1898-1900 - St Paul’s Church moved its rectory and sold the former Thaxter homestead to Mrs. Ellen Keenan.
1900 - The Wompatuck Club purchased the Ensign John Thaxter Building from Ellen Keenan.
1900 - Noted Hingham architect, J. Sumner Fowler, designed the additions and alterations to the building.
1900 - Contractor William J. Nelson completed the renovations, which included the addition of a bowling alley along Central Street.
1901 - The Wompatuck Club formally dedicated their new quarters at 70 South Street.
1904 - The angular bay section of the main hall was added.
1957 - The Wompatuck Club members amended the original bylaws and changed its name to the Wompatuck Community Center with the purpose of serving the entire town.
1962 - The Wompatuck Community Center was renamed as the Hingham Community Center.
1991 – The John Thaxter House was added to the state’s Register of Historic Places by the Massachusetts Historical Commission.
2003 - Renovations converted the bowling alley into a studio to provide additional space for programming.
2006 - HCC joins the inaugural annual Hingham arts Walk and participates as a host venue for each successive year.
2013 - The Hingham Mothers’ Club selects HCC as its host venue for its annual Festival of Trees offered during Christmas in the Square weekend; the proceeds raised at this event benefit local charities and the Hingham Mothers' Club Scholarship Fund.
2015 - Together with the Hingham Mothers Club, HCC hosts its first annual Ladies Shopping Night: a popular evening in the Square showcasing local vendors with proceeds benefitting the operations of the Center.
2015 - The Hingham Community Preservation Committee (CPC) generously awards HCC a grant to complete exterior building work to preserve the Ensign John Thaxter House.
2016 - The Hingham Community Center hosts its first annual Craft Beer Night, an event celebrating the wares of local brew masters and enjoyed by local adult guests across the South Shore.
2017 - Hingham Community Center launches first Capital Campaign in honor of the 300th anniversary of the Ensign Thaxter House.