Friday, April 3, 2009

April 2, 2009 - West's Corner, Hull, Hingham and Cohasset, Massachusetts

I read in an early twentieth century newspaper that a local couple was considering a tri-town wedding. They figured that if they went out to the intersection in front of grocer Charles West's store and stood in the middle of the road, the priest could stand in Hull, the groom in Hingham and the bride in Cohasset. There's no report that it ever finally happened, but it was truly a Victorian type of thing to do, and I wouldn't be surprised if they did it.

West's Corner is often today misinterpreted as "West Corner," but the fact is that the meeting place of the three towns is named for a store owner who unfortunately shared a name with one of the four cardinal points on the compass. His building still stands today, an antique shop where once one could buy fresh produce and other provisions.

The corner was a happening place back then. The Weir River crosses here, feeding into Straits Pond. Once, there was a mill; now there's a gate to control the flow of the river into the pond, a strategy which also controls the midge population in summer, or attempts to, anyway.

Cohasset's famous Jerusalem Road begins next to West's store and heads east. Immediately, one comes upon the Pope church. Colonel Albert Pope, the founder of Columbia bicycles, built the church in memory of his teenage son Charles, who passed away unexpectedly in 1898. It was originally non-denominational, but of late has been Greek orthodox. And it's about to double in size, according to the configuration of the new foundation now curing on its west side.

Just north of the corner is a work yard for a contractor that once was the grounds of the Worrick Mansion, an old hotel, built in 1826, that was known to Daniel Webster and Ralph Waldo Emerson as The Sportsman. Emerson wrote here for two weeks one terrifically hot summer in the early 1840s. All that remains of what he saw are the rocks that form so much of the landscape in this place. I don't think that the stonewall that's here now was here then.

I could go on. And on. And on. Each building has a story, and even the gaps where buildings used to be have stories to tell. I haven't even mentioned the rescue of kayakers stuck under the bridge in a rising tide by the Hull firemen, the West Corner Men's Club, the old Nantasket Library, Vito's barber shop - oh, the stories I could tell you about that place - or the abundant wildlife that fed in the river and on the pond today.

I'll save that for another walk, and another day.

Time: 46 minutes.

New species: blue-winged teal, Wilson's snipe (132).

Stranger hellos: 3 (158).

The rest of the day: doctor's appointment; historical research at the Hull Town Hall; 8 hours at work, including leading a walk to find American woodcock at the Daniel Webester Wildlife Sanctuary; another visit to a vernal pool to photograph wood frogs and spotted salamanders.

1 comment:

  1. Do you have any pictures of the old post office and fire station. I grew up on Hull St. and hung out in west corner. Cohasset Historical Society is looking for that picture. I live in Florida now, but stay in touch with friends there. Thanks. Donald Clark