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. This second installment features 304 Front Street.
The home at 304 Front Street in the Old Landing area of Marion was built in 1859 for shipbuilder David Hathaway. It ranks among the town’s most substantial Greek revival residences and illustrates not only Marion’s mid-19th century maritime prosperity, but also Old Landing’s status as the home of sea captains. Hathaway built coastal schooners at his wharf. These schooners were an important part of Marion’s economy. The coastal schooners carried salt to towns between Nova Scotia and the Carolinas. In fact, the operators of Marion’s coastal schooners named the town after Revolutionary War hero Francis Marion (known by the nickname “Swamp Fox”) of South Carolina, whose exploits in that area became well known to Marion mariners.