These 251 acres consist of two islands lying between Hingham Bay to the west and Weir river to the east. Each of the islands features two drumlins (drumlins are hills, often found in a group, created by glacial activity). Planter’s Hill and Pine Hill are found on the inner island, and World’s End, a double-drumlin, is found on the outer island. The inner island was originally separated from the mainland by a tidal marsh called Damde Meadows, and the inner and outer islands were connected to each other by a sandbar forming an isthmus. The islands were connected to the mainland by causeway and dam construction in the 17th Century. Colonial-era farmers cleared all the trees that grew at World’s End, and erected a dam to create Damde Meadows, which was used by the early settlers to farm salt hay to feed their livestock. Tidal marshes were an asset for settlers because it enabled them to farm hay without clearing and maintaining upland fields. A field stone wall marking the boundary of a settler’s field, can be seen in Damde Meadow. Another early draw to the site was Martin’s well, which was located just outside of World’s Ends entry gate on private property. Abraham Martin, who came to Hingham with Peter Hobart in 1635 owned the land in this area and constructed the well.
John Brewer, became owner of the land in the 19th century. He built a mansion here in 1856 and established a farming estate. Over the next 30 years, he acquired most of the peninsula’s 400-plus acres. He made plans to build a 163-house residential subdivision (designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the father of American Landscape Architecture) in 1890. The carriage roads were constructed, and trees were planted. The homes were never built, but some of the carriage roads are still in place. The property was also strongly considered as a location for the United Nations Headquarters in 1945, and a nuclear power plant in 1965, but these proposals were never implemented.
In 1967, thanks to the tremendous local commitment and fundraising efforts, The Trustees of Reservations (TTOR) and dedicated residents of Hingham and surrounding communities were able to preserve this special place.
The largest property in Boston Harbor Islands, World’s End and its 4.5 miles of Olmsted’s well maintained carriage paths and footpaths draw many on weekends to enjoy the fields, which are attractive to butterflies and nesting birds. In addition to the fields and birds there are woodlands, rocky shorelines, drumlins, marshland and granite ledges and plenty of red cedar and blueberry bushes. The drumlins and cliffs offer beautiful views of the surrounding waters and the Boston skyline.
Planters Hill is crowned with three rings of trees and a circular path. A flat grassy area stands on the top of the hill. From the summit there are views in four directions: south, across the sprawling fields of World’s End; west, to Hingham Harbor and the wooded, suburban towns; east, beyond the rocky bayside cliffs to hundreds of cottages along the narrow arm of the Hull peninsula; and north, to Boston, the Harbor Islands, and Massachusetts Bay.