Native American artifacts found in Cohasset suggest that habitation goes back as early as 6,000 to 8,000 years ago. The town’s namesake, however, derives from more recent Native Americans, who called their village Quonahassit, which translates to “long rocky place.”
The first Europeans to live here were settlers from Hingham and Wyndham, England, who arrived in the 1630s at a place they called Bare Cove, soon renamed Hingham Plantation. By the late 1670s, Hingham families began to expand into the easternmost part of Hingham, current-day Cohasset.
After several decades of commuting to Hingham to attend church, school, and town meetings, Cohasset became a precinct in 1717, with the right to have its own church and school. Finally, in 1770, it was incorporated as a separate town and could now govern itself independently of Hingham.
In 1708 the first shipyard in Cohasset was built at the harbor. By the early 1800s five shipyards were producing schooners for Cohasset’s thriving fishing industry. The harbor was the center of business, employing a good portion of the town’s residents. The maritime industry declined by the latter half of the century as the fish supply diminished and fishing became uneconomical.
Around the same time, in 1849 the train began running through Cohasset, providing an economic and social boost to the area. Wealthy Bostonians formed a summer colony here, building the large estates that still dominate our coast.
The 20th century brought notable improvements to Cohasset’s physical landscape, including Wheelwright Park, Sandy Beach, and Whitney Woods. After World Wars I and II, leisure-time activities developed, and Cohasset saw the creation of several new restaurants, entertainment venues, and organizations, many of which still exist.
Cohasset is proud of its historical heritage. The Historical Commission, along with other groups, is dedicated to preserving this legacy for future generations to enjoy.