In 1998, the Sippican Historical Society commissioned an architectural survey of Marion’s historic homes and buildings. The survey was funded one-half by the Sippican Historical Society and one-half by the Massachusetts Historical Commission. Because of the limits of funding, not all of the historic buildings were surveyed, but over 100 were catalogued and photographed. The results of the survey are in digital form on the Massachusetts Historical Commission’s website and in four binders in the Sippican Historical Society’s office (and at the Marion Town Clerk’s office). Marion is one of the oldest towns in the United States, and the Sippican Historical Society maintains an extensive collection of documentation on its historic buildings. The Sippican Historical Society will preview one building a week so that the residents of Marion can understand more about its unique historical architecture. The first building to be previewed is located at 21 Main Street.
The oldest dwelling in Marion, dating to the 1690s, stands at 21 Main Street. This modest wooden shingle half cape was built for a member of the Ryder family. This historic home is important not only because it is Marion’s oldest surviving home, but also because it typifies the town center’s most widely represented and historic residential style: the Cape Cod cottage. These compact houses were ideally suited for the harsh New England climate and could easily be enlarged to meet the changing needs of families. In fact, few Massachusetts town centers possess the charm and historic character of Marion’s Wharf Village.