192 HMS Halsted Dr, Hingham, MA 02043, USA
Owned By: Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation
The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation owns this tiny, grassy park in the Hingham Shipyard development. It links directly to the Hewitts Landing Waterfront Walkway, which extends behind a residential area along the edge of the Weymouth Back River, providing 0.25 miles of easy, scenic walking. Located right next door to the commuter boat on one side, and the Bouve Conservation Area on the other.
This park was dedicated on June 6th, 2018 by the Town of Hingham’s Department of Veterans Services and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. It recognizes Eugene F. Creedon, a WWII sailor who advocated tirelessly for a permanent memorial on this site. Interpretive signage offers some background on the Hingham Shipyard’s role in WWII.
The Hingham Shipyard once stood on this site. It was established as World War II began, and it was truly a bustling place! Before the United States entered the war, it offered to lend many of its naval ships to England. However the vessels were remnants from World War I, and rather outmoded. The Navy designed a new ship, the Destroyer Escort, contracted with Bethlehem Steel to build it, and commissioned a new shipyard where this work would be done. (Bethlehem Steel’s existing shipyards were already working at full capacity.) Hingham’s deep harbor and relative lack of waterfront development made it a prime site.
As 1941 drew to a close, construction teams arrived in Hingham to clear 150 acres of land, erect a steel mill on site, and construct wooden cradles in which the ships would be built. At least 12 cranes were brought to the site as well. Each ship would require more than 1,000 workers. Since most men aged 18+ were heading off to war, many of the workers were either teenagers, or those who were otherwise ineligible to join the military. Bethlehem Steel brought in 400 veteran workers. Close to 15,000 others joined the ranks, including 2500 women. Rather than construct one ship at a time, the shipyard devised an extraordinary mass production system that produced six completed ships per month!
From 1942-1945, a total of 227 warships were built and launched at the Hingham Shipyard. This included 100 Destroyer Escort ships as well as 127 Landing Ship Tanks. A full list of these vessels, including name, number, and launch date, is posted on a series of interpretive signs along the Hingham Shipyard Waterfront Walkway. Numerous British Naval ships were built there as well.
This land is within the region of the Massachuseuk (or Massachusett) Native American tribe.
A paved, lighted walkway extends through the park, connecting directly with the Hewitts Cove Waterfront Walkway. Taken together, they offer 0.25 miles of easy walking past old wharves and along the water’s edge. Continue your walk at the Bouve Conservation Area, immediately adjacent.
Habitats and Wildlife
This grassy park doesn’t have many natural features, but it offers a lovely view of the Weymouth Back River and some historic wharves.
The Weymouth Back River rises from several ponds and swamps, including Whitman’s Pond in Weymouth. It flows for about 10 miles, and empties into the Atlantic Ocean at Hingham Bay, just south of Grape Island and Slate Island. Follow the Back River Watershed Association for more information about the Weymouth Back River.
Historic Site: No
Boat Launch: No
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
Parking: Limited on-site parking on HMS Halsted Drive.
Trail Difficulty: Easy
Benches, memorials, flagpole, interpretive signage.
Dogs: Dogs must remain on leash. Scoop the poop!
Boat Ramp: No
ADA Access: Yes
Scenic Views: Yes
Waterbody/Watershed: Weymouth Back River