Point Allerton Lifesaving Station // 1889

The Point Allerton Life Saving Station is situated in its original location on Stony Beach at the entrance to Boston Harbor and at the foot of Telegraph Hill in Hull, Massachusetts. The United States government decided to establish a Life Saving Service station at Point Allerton in Hull, after Joshua James and his crew rescued 29 sailors from four vessels wrecked in the shipping entrance to Boston Harbor during the great storm of November, 1888. By that time, he was already a life-saver with the Massachusetts Humane Society (nothing animal related), which was originally founded in 1786 to save lives of those on shipwrecks on the coast. Between 1890 and his death in 1902, Capt. James and his crews rescued people from eighty-six shipwrecks which occurred within the jurisdiction of the Point Allerton Station. There were 556 persons on board these vessels. Only 16 of these lost their lives. Later, the US Lifesaving Service and the Revenue Cutter Service, were merged to form the US Coast Guard, and Joshua James is today considered a “father” of the US Coast Guard. The station was occupied until the 1960s, when a new station was constructed. The future of the building was uncertain until the Hull Lifesaving Museum was established in 1978 and restored the building.

Loring House // c.1658

Likely the oldest home in the town of Hull, the Loring House has ties to the significant Loring Family, who’s descendants include individuals on both sides of the American Revolution, the US Civil War, and today live across North America, Spain, England and Australia. This house was built on land purchased by Thomas Loring (1600-1661) who came to Hingham in 1634 from England. He built a larger estate in town until a fire destroyed all his belongings, and he chose not to rebuild, but acquired property in the adjoining plantation of Hull. In Hull, he served as constable (court officer and tax collector), and raised his family there. His eldest son, John, married in 1657 and likely had this home built on his father’s vast land holdings within the year. John worked as a house-wright and likely built the home himself. He had two wives (his first wife Mary died at 39), and 15 children at the home, though some likely did not live past infancy as was common in early colonial days. John died in 1714, but left a lasting legacy in New England and beyond. Notably, his grandson was Joshua Loring, a British Loyalist who built the famous Loring-Greenough House in Boston. The old Loring House in Hull is very-well maintained inside and out and serves as a time-capsule of days past.

Hull Public Library // 1879

“We must not be Irish or African, or black or white. Not in America. We are gathering here … not to build up any petty community but to make the greatest nation and the strongest brotherhood that God ever smiled upon.”-John Boyle O’Reilly. This home (now the Hull Public Library) replaced the old Hunt House, which was the first parsonage of Hull, which was built around 1750. John Boyle O’Reilly, an Irish-American poet, journalist, author and activist bought the Hunt House in the 1870s and soon after demolished it as he felt it could not be salvaged. There are books about O’Reilly’s life story, so I recommend checking out his Wikipedia page. He constructed this house as a summer home by 1879, an excellent example of an early Shingle-style home. I cannot locate the architect, but am dying to learn! In the summer of 1890, O’Reilly took an early boat to his residence in Hull, Massachusetts from Boston. He had been suffering from bouts of insomnia during this time. That evening he took a long walk with his brother-in-law hoping that physical fatigue would induce the needed sleep.Later on that night he took some of his wife’s sleeping medicine and he apparently suffered an overdose of the medicine at this home, passing away at 46. Thousands of Bostonians mourned O’Reilly, and memorials were erected in the city, including the iconic 1896 John Boyle O’Reilly Memorial by Daniel Chester French.