Old Derby Through the Years

Old Derby has been an iconic fixture of Hingham’s Main Street, standing proudly for nearly 200 years. After its most recent renovation, we take a look at the historic building from its early days until now.

by Michael Achille & Virginia Tay of Hingham Historical Society | Photography courtesy of Mark Cullings and Hingham Historical Society


Built in 1818 and the first school in the nation to admit both girls and boys, Derby Academy is pictured here sometime in 1885. The photo is one of the earliest taken of the school, collected from the John P. Richardson Collection, which is jointly owned by the Hingham Historical Society and the Hingham Historical Commission.


A photo taken circa-1895 shows the second-floor classroom with the door to the third floor located behind the teacher’s desk. The door was removed during the building’s recent renovations.


3rd and 4th grade class at Derby Academy in 1943. Jane Carr, longtime Hingham resident, Historical Society Board member and supporter and champion of the Historical Society, stands on the lowest step at the right.


Old Derby’s second floor ballroom and former classroom in November 2015 during demolition. The room will soon open with the Historical Society’s inaugural exhibit “Boxes, Buckets, and Toys: The Craftsmen of Hingham.”


Rear addition during construction in February 2016. The addition will house the Kelly Gallery for visible storage and the Historical Society’s collections, effectively doubling archival storage space.


The recently completed rear addition, taken in April, features a new parking lot and handicap ramp, allowing better accessibility for all who visit.


Majestic front façade of Old Derby, taken in April, shows the near-completion of the 3-year, $4.1 million renovation and expansion of the 19th-century schoolhouse.

Old Derby Academy

Hingham Historical Society

34 Main St., Hingham


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