Settled in 1757, Tinkertown is a historic neighborhood in the seacoast town of Duxbury, Massachusetts. As Pilgrim settlers, such as Myles Standish and John Alden, moved north from Plymouth and established homesteads in what was to become Duxbury, the foundation was set for enclaves and neighborhoods to be formed by other families, often by those with common interests. As the Tinker’s Shed in our logo suggests, our neighborhood was established on Elm Street when several homes were built, along with outbuildings on the respective properties, to provide work spaces for the various “Tinkers” to ply their trades. The first Tinker is reputed to be Jeremiah Dillingham, who was a shoemaker. He was part of a thriving shoe industry in Duxbury, where several small businesses, such as that of Mr. Dillingham, produced over 30,000 pairs of shoes and boots in a year. Tinkertown was often where people went to have their shoes repaired, have their horses shod, or to have specialty items built from tin. In the 1900’s a couple of cranberry farms also took hold, covering over a hundred acres, and the bogs are still being cultivated and harvested in the present day.
Although many of the original buildings in Tinkertown were destroyed by lightning ignited fires, most of those homes and workshops were re-constructed on their sites in the 1800’s. While none have operating businesses today, they are home to families that have kept up and enhanced the properties, in keeping with their historic background. Over the years, the “neighborhood” has been expanded beyond Elm Street, starting with Oak Street and School Street, and then to sub-divisions of homes that branched off of Elm, Oak and School streets. Today there are 110 homes in the neighborhood, and our Tinkertown Neighborhood Association has been active for over 50 years. The Association organizes family gatherings such as the annual neighborhood fall picnic and the holiday Santa party, which has featured wagon rides, pony rides, finger-licking treats, and kids’ visits with Santa. Current day Tinkertown is also widely known in southeast Massachusetts as a site for luminaries that are put out and lit by all the residents in the neighborhood each Christmas Eve. The luminary bags and candles are funded by Association dues and are collated by a few volunteers and distributed to our “Town Criers,” who deliver the luminaries every December to each home on their respective streets. In addition, Town Criers serve as distributors of information about Association events, and this web site is now poised to use modern day technology to also make neighborhood news available over the internet.
If you should visit Tinkertown, either biking, riding in a car or walking the section of the Bayside Trail that goes through our neighborhood, we hope you now have a fond awareness of an area that dates back over 250 years.