1.Cole Parkway and the Harbor Walk

The Cole family had been in Scituate for years, but when this big gravel-filled space was finally ‘tarred’(to lay the dust) in the fifties, ‘Baldy’ Cole was Scituate’s Fire Chief.  From left to right you see the USCoast Guard Station,(painted a ghastly landlord-green) the Harbormaster’s office, the Cole Parkway floats, The Morill Bandstand, (where concerts are held on Friday nights in the Summer) Lucian Rousseau Landing (where ‘Lucy Anne’ used to load up his truck with Irish moss) and the start of Scituate’s Harborwalk. (We’re going against the flow.)  This scenic walk circumnavigates Cole Parkway. If you take it in the opposite direction, you'll end up on the “Coastal Passage” trail on the main map. From here on Cole Parkway, as you face the water, you can see the lighthouse, First Cliff, the Marine Park, Second Cliff, then Third Cliff...and finally, the Scituate Wind Turbine.

2. Satuit Brook

The name Scituate is derived from an Indian word which the early settlers understood as Satuit, which means "Cold Brook”, and referred to the small stream flowing into the harbor. It was spelled in various ways as Sityate, Cituate, Seteat, etc., and it was not until about 1640 that the name came to be universally spelled in its present form. Old-timers still pronounce it ‘Sich-U-ate’...not “Sich-u-it’ like most everyone else.  Algonquin Indians roamed New England after the glacier’s departure and around 1600 there were ten thousand Indians, known today as the Wampanoags, in the area of the North and South Rivers.  Their settlements were permanent and they used the rivers as a transportation route and as a source of food, as evidenced by the fish weirs and clam shell mounds that have remained.  The Indians burned the underbrush from the forest but had few other impacts upon the natural environment.

3. Kent Street

Between 1627 and 1628 a group from Plymouth augmented by new arrivals from the County of Kent in England came here and formed the first permanent settlement. Known as “The Men of Kent,” they laid out their village a mile or so back from the coast behind one of the cliffs, and established Kent Street. They were attracted to this particular spot by the abundance of salt hay in the Kent Street marshes.

4. Salt Hay

The Men of Kent used the salt marsh meadows for thatch, insulation, hay, and forage for animals.  The town apportioned the meadows by town committees, and the owners dug ditches to locate their boundary lines. Fifty dollars an acre was not an uncommon evaluation in 1700, but by 1900 five dollars an acre was the maximum.

5. Meeting House Lane

So named  for the Men of Kent's meeting house that used to stand on the foundation of the current Meeting House Inn.  It was a sturdy fort on the high ground that overlooked the marshes, the beach, the Atlantic ocean, and 3,125 miles East, their abandoned homes and country.

6. Men of Kent Cemetery

A little way up the hill, on the left, lies the final resting places of many of these immigrants who founded Scituate. You’ll see names of families who still live here. Read the inscriptions...they’ll ruin your day.

7. Union Cemetery

Scituate’s first Catholic Church once stood behind the Jacobucci Shrine. It burned to the ground and was replaced by today’s St. Mary’s of the Nativity at the corner of First Parish Road and Front Street. This cemetery was used from the 17th Century to the 20th. An inspection of the headstones is a tour of our town’s history.

8. The Common

In 1740, this triangular plot was the ‘training grounds’ for Scituate’s militia. Over the years, it was the site of pickup football and baseball games. Today it’s a peaceful park.

9. Elm Street

Once called “Goose Turd Lane,” the name was finally changed at the insistence of the folks who chose to live on it. Nat Tilden, of the Powerful Ways and Means Committee of the Great and General Court, and who’s address appeared on the ballot, had a lot to do with the change. Today, the domestic geese are few but you're likely to come across a flock of wild turkeys the size of hay stacks. Dog walkers be warned.

10. The Little Red Schoolhouse

Also known as The Kathleen Laidlaw Historical Center Society Headquarters. Opened in 1893, the building served as the Town's high school until the central section of what is now the Gates Intermediate School was completed in 1917. The LRS was originally located on the present site of the Gates School on First Parish Road. It was moved to its present location on Cudworth Road in 1919.  It was acquired by the Historical Society in 1984 and now houses the Society's library, which includes vital records, census figures genealogies, cemetery records, and town histories of Scituate and surrounding towns.

11. The Cudworth House

The Cudworth House sits on land granted to Richard Garrett before 1646. In 1728 Jael Garrett sold the dwelling house and land to James Cudworth. The interior of the house currently holds five first floor exhibits. The tale of the Cudworth House is told through the Great Room, the Sampler Room, the Cushing Room, the Music Room, and the Victorian Room.  Some of the items are simply marvelous to see, such as the large loom, used today in much the same manner as it was 250 years ago. In the old kitchen, the large fireplace, which was used for cooking, has an early beehive oven in the back. Mordecai Lincoln, an ancestor of President Lincoln, forged the huge cauldron on the hearth. A collection of early pewter, Staffordshire, and Chinese export porcelain graces the cupboards and mantel.

In the downstairs bedroom, a Cudworth handquilted bedspread covers the fourposter bed. Early samplers dating from 1792 decorate the walls. For many years the unfinished room on the second floor was used as a church by the Unitarians when their church burned. This room contains a case of Indian artifacts found in this area. Under the eaves one finds a trundle bed. On display in the barn are a coach used by the Marquis de Lafayette in Philadelphia, equipment used by cobblers, and farm implements necessary to the livelihood of the early settlers. To learn more, go to scituatehistoricalsociety.org.

12. The Gates School

This building was Scituate’s High School until 1953, then, as a Junior High School, was named after Lester Gates, a former Selectman and Representative to the Great and General Court. His father, Sidney Gates, came to town with “a pack on his back” and eventually built a beloved family and a successful North Scituate clothing store once with a branch in the Harbor. On the right of the main building stood the old Town Hall. Town meetings were held in the school auditorium. On election day, church suppers were held in the church across the street.

13. Lawson Tower

This Historic  Tower, an American landmark, has been called the "most photographed, the most beautiful, and the most expensive" water tower in the country. Because the unadorned water tank offended the sensitivities of Thomas Lawson and his wife,  whose Dreamwold estate it overlooked, it was patterned after a 15th century Romanesque tower. It is 153 feet high, a landmark for ships at sea and air travelers alike. The town purchased the tower and chimes in 1923. Millionaire Thomas W. Lawson ordered the construction of Lawson Tower as a complement to his new country estate, “Dreamwold,” at the beginning of the twentieth century. Lawson hired an architect to travel to Europe and research appropriate designs to cover up the water department's unsightly standpipe.Conflicting theories also arise as to the exact tower Lawson’s creation was patterned after. Early research showed the possibility of a tower at Stahleck Castle on the Rhine River in Germany as being the template, while new research reveals similarities between Lawson Tower and a spa at Bad Ems, Germany. In the spring of 2004, thanks to CPA funding, the bells were refurbished. In the summer of 2005 the Tower was reshingled.  In the fall of 2011 solar lighting was installed. giving the Tower a subtle glow. Also in 2011 The Society created a garden memorial to Paul Miles at the base of the Tower, properly honoring an individual who gave so much back to Scituate. To learn more go to scituatehistoricalsociety.org.

  1. 14.Dreamwold   

The story of Lawson’s Dreamwold farm is the story of Thomas W. Lawson's eccentricities and indulgences as he built an agricultural showplace of spectacular proportions.  Whether it was bulldogs, carnations, blue ribbon horses or America’s Cup yachts, Lawson built and bred the best. His mansion, his farm and his animals all lived up to his motto: “Beauty, Strength, and Speed.” Today Dreamwold Hall has been separated into condominiums, many of his buildings are now private homes. Lawson’s had spectacular successes, but equally spectacular defeats: the loss of the seven-masted Thomas W. Lawson, the early death of his beloved wife; and, in 1923, his financial ruin, culminating with Dreamwold being sold off before his eyes. There are parts of it all over town, check out the clock in the Scituate Federal Savings.

15. Lawson Park

Historically more of a battle field than a park! Before 1901, this plot of land was a “wild pasture” and since Tom Lawson promised to clean it up, the town sold it to him for $1.00. But when, after 15 years he didn’t, they decided to take it back by eminent domain. Then fire works started. Tom told the “town papas,” “I consider that plot worth $30,000, and the town may have it at that price and good riddance, but not at any less!...not until the last court of the land had passed upon the affair!” He then gave it to the Grand Army Post with one proviso: The GAR could not sell it to the town for any less than $30,000. The veterans, who had been planning for a park and a monument near what is now called The Little Red Schoolhouse, now had a better location. In 1916 a committee was chosen to select a suitable monument. It consisted of three veterans, and two artists. Henry Turner Bailey was the moderator but could not vote. Of 24 entries,the Grand Army veterans chose a design by James Craig of Quincy. The artists chose a design by A. D. Pickering claiming it was more artistic. The Grand Army veterans won.  Lawson had Olmsted landscape the park. He sent his three elephants for the pool and donated some of his elm trees to be planted in the park, and a large boulder was placed in the park dedicated to the townspeople who served in the Great War. The monument was dedicated on June 17, 1918, with Thomas Lawson in charge of the Welcome Home Party, and as the keynote speaker. His estate was open to the public and thousands of people attended. His daughter Jean unveiled the monument. His grandchildren were dressed as soldiers, sailors and nurses. His daughter Dorothy’s father in law, Governor Samuel McCall, was a guest speaker. In 1921, the town meeting voted unanimously to name the park after Lawson. With a loud round of applause for Mr. Lawson, they called it Lawson Park.

  1. 16.Stephen Roach Field

When the hijacked planes struck the twin towers of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, Stephen was on the 105th floor. This field is dedicate to the memory of the Scituate High graduate, class of 1982.

17. Beaver Dam Road

The cool sweet water from Beaver Dam Spring had been used by the Wampanoag in the 16th Century, and a bottling plant in the 20th. In the 1960s’ (before bottled water) residents would line up to fill their containers...until analysis revealed unusually high deposits of road salt. The spring was then closed.

18. Tilden Road

The Tildens tilled their land here from 1634 to 1985, the oldest family-owned farm in America. In the 1940’s and 50’s, Nat Tilden was the Chairman of the powerful ways and means committee of the Great and General court, his brother Bob was a Selectman, and Sam was a teacher at Brown & Nichols. They all were Gentlemen Farmers. The road was named after the original Nathaniel, who came to Scituate in 1634. One of his descendants, Samuel J. Tilden, won the popular vote for President (51%!) in 1876...which was stolen by Benjamin Harrison.

19. The Town Pier

Something’s always doing at the center of Scituate’s fishing industry, draggers unloading their catch into ‘reefer’ trucks, fishermen mooring their vessels three and four deep on either side of the pier, amateur and professional plein air painters and photographers, tourists, joggers, dog-walkers, and shoppers on the sidewalks. And during Nor’Easters, you’ll see the TV trucks, cameras and on-the-spot weathermen hunkering down in the most noteworthy bad weather spots.