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Hingham is a town in Plymouth County on the South Shore of Massachusetts. The town of Hingham was dubbed "Bare Cove" by the first colonizing English in 1633, but two years later was incorporated as a town under the name "Hingham". Hingham is situated less than 15 miles from Boston, and boasts small town feel with city living; due in part to the array of restaurants, and shopping within the town. Hingham is a great town for families as the schools are ranked amongst the highest in the state.
Hingham is home to the United States' oldest continuously used house of worship, the Old Ship Church, built in 1681, which currently serves members of the Unitarian Universalist faith. Old Ship Church is the only remaining 17th-century Puritan meeting house in New England. The meeting house derives its name from the roof and ceiling rafters, which resemble an upside-down ship's hull. Many of the builders were ship carpenters, and the form was common throughout East Anglia, the home of numerous of the town's earliest settlers. The town boasts a wide assortment of eighteenth-century and nineteenth-century homes. Many of these may be found in the six historic districts set aside by the town of Hingham.
Hingham lies along the southwest corner of Boston Harbor, at the portion known as Hingham Bay. The bay leads to a harbor, which cuts a U-shaped indentation into the northern shore of the town. The town is separated from Hull by the Weir River and its tributary, which leads to the Straits Pond. The northern third of the town's border with Weymouth consists of the Weymouth Back River, which empties out into Hingham Bay. There are several other small ponds and brooks throughout town. The town also has several forests and parks, the largest of which, Wompatuck State Park, spreads into the neighboring towns of Cohasset, Scituate and Norwell. There are also several conservation areas throughout town, including the World's End Reservation, which juts out into the bay. There is a marina along the mouth of the Weymouth Back River, and a public beach along the harbor.
Hingham operates its own school system for the town's approximately 3,800 students. There are four elementary schools (Plymouth River, South, East and William L. Foster) which serve students from kindergarten through fifth grade (the South Elementary School also has pre-kindergarten classes). There is an independent private preschool situated at the South Shore Conservatory, as well as Wilder Memorial Nursery School on Main Street. The Hingham Middle School is situated in South Hingham, and serves students from sixth to eighth grades. Prior to 1989, this building was the South Junior High; however, it merged with Central Junior High to make a single, centralized school. The Central Junior High School building is no longer used for classes and was renovated to house all the town's offices and the police department. The school was recently recognized as one of two Blue Ribbon Schools in the state, by the United States Department of Education. "The Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools that are either academically superior or that demonstrate dramatic gains in student achievement to high levels".
In addition to the town's public schools, Hingham is home to four private schools. Saint Paul's School is a Catholic school, and Derby Academy is an independent private school. Both serve elementary and middle school aged students. The town is also home to Notre Dame Academy, a Roman Catholic high school for girls. Hingham is also home to Old Colony Montessori School, a private school serving children ages 2.9 through Grade Three. Private schools in Weymouth, Milton, Braintree, and other towns also serve students from Hingham.