Rose Standish House. Downer’s, Hingham, Mass. The select family resort of Boston Bay, J.W.C. Gilman, proprietor.

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Rose Standish House. Downer’s, Hingham, Mass. The select family resort of Boston Bay, J.W.C. Gilman, proprietor.

Boston: Gilman Litho., [ca. 1890]. Chromolithograph, 19.75” x 30” plus margins. CONDITION: Good, some fading, occasional light streaks in margins.

A delightful bird’s eye view of the Rose Standish House hotel, situated on Downer’s Landing in Hingham, Mass., presenting an alluring image of this lively seaside resort near Boston.

The Rose Standish House hotel was part of the Melville Garden amusement area, constructed in 1871 and spearheaded by Samuel Downer (1807–1881) of Dorchester, Mass.—an affluent man who made a fortune in the sale of kerosene. Following the Civil War, Downer transformed the quiet town of Hingham into a popular New England resort. Downer opened The Rose Standish House at the end of Hingham’s Crow Point in July 1887. Near the house was Melville Garden—named after Downer’s mother-in-law, who was a cousin of Herman Melville.

This view shows the hotel and its wharf in its picturesque setting with various islands and a hint of sunset in the background. Visitors stroll about the grounds or ride in horse-drawn buggies. Steamers, row boats, and sailboats ply the surrounding waters. Text along the bottom notes that steamers leave Rowe’s Wharf in Boston and that the area is a “one hour sail from New England’s Metropolis.” The Rose Standish was “open till October.” One vignette shows three people accompanied by oars and a tennis racket. Another depicts pilgrim Rose Standish—the wife of Myles Standish— holding a white flag. The remaining two are picturesque local scenes.

Melville Garden included a merry-go-round, bowling alley, shooting gallery, and dining saloon, as well as a floating wharf for boating parties. By 1875, the Garden covered six acres of land which were covered with trees, flowers, and rock formations. On July 4th, 1879 over 4000 people visited the park. Profiting greatly from the area, the Boston Steamboat Co. ran twelve trips a day—transporting visitors interested in the Garden’s range of activities. After Downer died in 1881, the Garden continued for the next fifteen years under the direction of James Scudder but was not a financial success. The Rose Standish House was torn down in 1897.

REFERENCES: Historic house tour to focus on Crow Point in Hingham at

Item #7144


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