History of the Hagerty Property (Mariners Park)
David Wadsworth and Mary Hagerty
From an article in the Cohasset Mariner, October 7, 1993.
Information on the history of the property provided by David Wadsworth
and Mary Hagerty. Reprinted by permission of the Cohasset Mariner.
1876 Mrs. Parker owned most of the property down to
the water (probably part of Bailey's farm).
1903 A sizable development of houses along Parker
Avenue is shown in Richard's Atlas of "Plymouth County with the
Town of Cohasset."
1910 A harbor committee proposed that the town take
over all of the land surrounding the harbor and make it into a public
park However, they couldn't obtain the carriage factory that stood where
Kimball's Motel [Cohasset Harbor Inn] is now located, and the town turned
down the proposal.
1912 A map from the Maritime Museum shows that the
strip of meadow along the waterfront was purchased by the town as a
landing site. This property was leased to and eventually owned by John
John Eltman worked his way from Europe to Boston and eventually to
Cohasset, where he set up a boat?manufacturing company (constructing
lobster and "luxury boats") in the early 1920s and 1930s.
Eltman learned of old merchants' homes being torn down in the Boston
Harbor area (along where Rowe's Wharf now stands) and had some of the
nicer ones moved before any damage was done to them. These houses were
unloaded by ship at Parker Avenue, the major access to town by way of
water. The Cohasset Colonials [showroom and office] is one such building
[now the Cohasset Center for Student Coastal Research].
Francis Hagerty summered in Egypt, Massachusetts, and worked for John
Eltman in his Cohasset boatyard, at 38 Parker Avenue. Hagerty bought
an old shell?manufacturing company in 1938 and operated [it] with Eltman
on the waterfront property before World War 11 . . . John Eltman died
in 1942 . . . and Hagerty took over the company.
Hagerty was a naval architect, and throughout the war he manufactured
radomes for PT boats. Francis and Mary Hagerty were married in 1945
. . . Following the war, Mr. Hagerty designed a $35 kit for "sea
shells," which were small sailboats similar in style to rookies.
Because this was only a seasonal operation and the Hagertys had moved
into a new house by now (where furniture was desperately needed), Mary
Hagerty suggested that they construct furniture in the large buildings
along the waterfront.
The Hagertys went to the Museum of Fine Arts to get permission to reproduce
their furniture . . . When their models were approved, they began to
produce Cohasset Colonials Home Assembly kits. The building boom that
followed the war found a great demand for furniture, and the Hagertys'
business flourished. For five or six years the company [employed] forty
to fifty people to assemble the kits in the buildings on Cohasset Harbor.
However, after ten years only three laborers were needed for this operation.
When Mrs. Hagerty's son left the business, she sold the company [in
the early 1990s]. [The business left Cohasset because the new owner]
recognized that such a large workspace was unnecessary for the manufacturing
of this furniture, and that [the saltwater environment was unsuitable]
for wood . . . Mary Hagerty agreed to sell the property to the town
because she felt the old buildings [were] too large for much other than
boat construction and that [there was a need to expand public access
to the harbor.]
[According to] David Wadsworth, the old clapboard boathouse on this
property [originally located on Government Island and used to launch
lifeboats] is believed to be an old U.S. Lighthouse Service building.
[The building is now the Cohasset Maritime Institute's boathouse, and
the Hagerty Property is now Mariners Park.