Scituate Harbor
Review and History

Scituate Harbor is located on the South Shore in Massachusetts about half-way between Boston and Plymouth. Lying at the mouth of Boston Harbor, Scituate Harbor is about 17 nautical miles (32 kilometers or 20 miles by air) southeast of the Port of Boston. It is also almost 33 nautical miles (47 kilometers or 29 miles by air) west-northwest of Provincetown. The 2010 US Census reported that a little over 18 thousand people called Scituate Harbor home.

Scituate Harbor has no freeways, and the nearest highway, Route 3, goes through nearby Norwell. With no air service, Marshfield Municipal Airport is the nearest regional airport, and Logan International is the closest international airport. There are two MBTA commuter rail stations in Scituate Harbor.

Port History

Before Europeans came to Scituate Harbor, the indigenous Massachuset Nation inhabited the area there. These Algonquian-speaking natives descended from people who had lived there between 15 and 30 thousand years ago. We know that Scituate Harbor has been inhabited for at least 6.5 thousand years.

Before Europeans arrived, most of the Massachuset had died from plagues brought from Europe. The new European immigrants drove the survivors away from Scituate Harbor toward the south. During the Great Migration from 1630 until 1640, more than 20 thousand settlers came from England to the future Massachusetts.

Europeans arrived in Scituate Harbor to discover the indigenous Massachuset fishing and farming. Some of them converted to Christianity and created an alphabet and a Bible in the Algonquian language. The Massachuset had to live in "Praying Villages" as the colonists' tried to convert them.

In the 1670s, the Massachuset participated in King Philip's War, earning European distrust. During that war, a sawmill and twelve homes in Scituate Harbor were destroyed.

In 1869, the State made the Massachuset citizens of the United States, ending their sovereign status. Today, they are organized under the Massachuset-Ponkapoag Tribal Council.

In the late 1620s, colonists were attracted to Scituate Harbor by its fertile farming lands and sea front. Settlers from Plymouth were joined by immigrants from England's County of Kent to form the first permanent settlement at Scituate Harbor. Under the jurisdiction of Plymouth, they were permitted to elect their own town officials by 1636, effectively incorporating the town.

The early Scituate Harbor depended on fishing and sea-mossing for its economy. Although the modern town is largely residential, there is still a small fishing fleet based in Scituate Harbor.

The Old Scituate Light was built in 1810 on the north edge of Scituate Harbor. During the War of 1812, the lighthouse keeper's daughters discouraged a British raiding party by playing a fife and drum in the "Lighthouse Army of Two" incident.

Due to the poor roads and difficult transportation, population growth in Scituate Harbor was slow throughout the 1700s and most of the 1800s. The railroad arrived in Scituate Harbor in 1871, but population did not increase dramatically even then. By 1900, the population was barely more than two thousand. It was the arrival of automobiles and modern roads that brought real growth to Scituate Harbor.

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