32 Border St, Cohasset, MA 02025, USA
Owned By: Town of Cohasset
This tiny property on Cohasset’s Inner Harbor features a shade pavilion with benches, picnic tables, and interpretive signage. Also on site, a memorial to Captain John Smith. 30 minute tie-up for boats.
Prior to European contact, a band of the Massachusett Native American tribe maintained a village in what is now Cohasset. It was known as Quonahassit — often translated as “long rocky place.” In 1614, while exploring what was known then as the New World, Captain John Smith (1580-1631) landed in “Quonahassit Harbor” to trade for furs. A tablet erected at this site in 1914 commemorates the event. Captain Smith was tasked with mapping the coastline from Virginia to Maine, searching for a suitable location for an English settlement.
The Quonahassit village was probably in the vicinity of today’s Elm Street, a summer camp for fishing, and for growing corn, beans and squash. The village moved inland during the winter for shelter, and to hunt for deer, turkey and other wildlife. A widespread plague decimated the Quonahassit population shortly after Smith’s visit.
Around 1800, at this site, Elisha and “Squire” James Doane built a stone wharf. Cod and mackerel fishing were common trades in Cohasset in the 1800s, along with related industries such as sailmaking, blacksmithing, coopering and evaporating sea water to harvest salt.
In 1851, Josiah O. Lawrence, a ship owner, inherited the property. In 1907, the Lawrence Family deeded the wharf to the town for use as a public landing.
The pavilion at Lawrence Wharf was originally erected by the Cohasset Harbor Improvement Committee in 1910. Perhaps the oldest surviving recreational structure within the town, it was restored in 2014 by the Cohasset Historic Commission with Community Preservation funds. The park is dedicated to the memory of Hollis and Emily Gleason, caring citizens of Cohasset 1910-1983.
A very short paved trail arcs around the edge of the property, offering views of Cohasset’s Inner Harbor. Extend your visit with a walk along the shoreline. A paved sidewalk leads in one direction to the Cohasset Veterans Memorial, and in the other direction to the Border Street Bridge and Government Island. The Cohasset Historical Commission has placed markers at 10 different historic sites along the way. This is known as The Captains’ Walk.
Habitats and Wildlife
The Lawrence Wharf Pavilion is located on Cohasset’s Inner Harbor, also known as Cohasset Cove. Nearby, the Gulf River finds its outlet to the Atlantic Ocean.
Historic Site: Yes
Boat Launch: No
Size: 0.2 acres
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
Parking: Limited parking on Border Street.
Trail Difficulty: Easy
Shade pavilion, picnic tables, interpretive signage, memorials.
Dogs: Dogs must remain on leash. Scoop the poop!
Boat Ramp: No
ADA Access: Yes
Scenic Views: Yes
Waterbody/Watershed: Gulf River/Cohasset Inner Harbor