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The Coram Shipyard Historic District is a
historic district A historic district or heritage district is a section of a city which contains historic building, older buildings considered valuable for historical or architectural reasons. In some countries or jurisdictions, historic districts receive legal p ...
encompassing a colonial-era
shipyard A shipyard (also called a dockyard) is a place where ships A ship is a large watercraft that travels the world's oceans and other sufficiently deep Sea lane, waterways, carrying goods or passengers, or in support of specialized missions, ...

shipyard
at 2120, 2125, and 2130 Water Street in
Dighton, Massachusetts Dighton is a New England town, town in Bristol County, Massachusetts, Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 8,101 at the 2020 census. The town is located on the western shore of the Taunton River in the southeastern part ...
. The district includes two houses, built c. 1700, and the archaeologically sensitive site of a shipyard which operated for a roughly five-year period between 1698 and 1703. The shipyard site is now home to the Taunton River Yacht Club, whose property includes the wharf built by
Thomas Coram Sea captain, Captain Thomas Coram (c. 1668 – 29 March 1751) was a philanthropist who created the London Foundling Hospital in Lamb's Conduit Fields, Bloomsbury, to look after abandoned children on the streets of London. It is said to be the wo ...
and John Hathaway, the proprietors of the shipyard. The district was listed on the
National Register of Historic Places The National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) is the United States federal government The federal government of the United States (U.S. federal government or U.S. government) is the national government of the United States ...
in 1998.


Description and history

The town of Dighton, located on the west bank of the
Taunton River The Taunton River (historically also called the "Taunton Great River"), is a river in southeastern Massachusetts in the United States. It arises from the confluence of the Town River and Matfield River, in the town of Bridgewater, Massachusett ...
in central
Bristol County, Massachusetts Bristol County is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publisher), William and ...
, was settled by European colonists in the 1680s and incorporated as a town in 1712. It became significant as a maritime shipping endpoint in the 18th century because seagoing vessels were unable navigate further up the river. As a result, shipyards and wharves were built in several places on the banks of the river. Its very first shipyard was established about 1698 in an area that is just south of the junction of Main and Water Streets along the midsection of the town's shoreline with the river. The surviving elements of this shipyard include the two houses of its principal operators,
Thomas Coram Sea captain, Captain Thomas Coram (c. 1668 – 29 March 1751) was a philanthropist who created the London Foundling Hospital in Lamb's Conduit Fields, Bloomsbury, to look after abandoned children on the streets of London. It is said to be the wo ...
and John Hathaway, and a stone wharf they built into the river. The wharf that Coram and Hathaway built is now home to the Taunton River Yacht Club. The wharf, measuring about , is located behind the club's c. 1950 clubhouse, and is made of rough-cut stone now covered in grass. Modern pilings have been built around its edges to provide access to the river. Opposite the wharf stands the house of John Hathaway, with that of Thomas Coram just to its south. Both houses are now 2-1/2 story wood frame houses, with a central chimney and a side gable roof. It is unknown how the houses appeared at the time of their construction c. 1699-1700, because architectural analysis of their structure has not been conducted. The present appearance of both houses suggest mid-18th century Georgian architecture, the Coram house having been altered in the 19th century by an Italianate porch across three of its front base (rebuilt with less styling in the 20th century).


See also

*
Dighton Wharves Historic District The Dighton Wharves Historic District is a historic district (United States), historic district at 2298-2328 Pleasant Street in Dighton, Massachusetts. It encompasses an area that was in the 18th and 19th centuries a port facility on the Taunton Ri ...
, a short way downriver *
Thomas Coram Sea captain, Captain Thomas Coram (c. 1668 – 29 March 1751) was a philanthropist who created the London Foundling Hospital in Lamb's Conduit Fields, Bloomsbury, to look after abandoned children on the streets of London. It is said to be the wo ...
*National Register of Historic Places listings in Bristol County, Massachusetts


References

{{National Register of Historic Places in Massachusetts Historic districts in Bristol County, Massachusetts National Register of Historic Places in Bristol County, Massachusetts Historic districts on the National Register of Historic Places in Massachusetts