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This richly illustrated book is the first devoted to scenic Third Cliff, a magical meeting place of land, river, and sea, and to those who have called it home. It traces the transformation of seacoast Scituate from a colonial town of the 1600s into a summer destination of the 1900s, and the conversion of farmland into summer colonies.

  • The people, places, and stories of a notable community in a historic seacoast town

  • Home to amazing people -- farmers, golfers, Irish mossers, the first maker of portable houses, and the influential Welch family

  • Highly readable, over 300 pages of deep research

  • More than 140 images, some rare, with views outside and peeks inside "Welch colonial" houses

  • Acclaimed by academics, hailed by historians, and enthusiastically welcomed by residents

On a Cliff  results from years of research by historian Lyle Nyberg, author of Summer Suffragists (2020). His work is published in the state’s database of historic resources, and has appeared in magazines and newspapers. More about the author is here. Updates to the book are here.

On a Cliff 

Available now at

Buttonwood Books and Toys

747 Chief Justice Cushing Hwy

Cohasset, MA 02025   Tel (781) 383-2665

Available online


… a fascinating account of the emergence of late nineteenth century summer colonies, their growth, and subsequent suburban development. The depth and breadth of Lyle Nyberg's research is astounding.

-- David T. Dixon, author of Radical Warrior: August Willich's  Journey from German Revolutionary to Union General;

past Trustee, Scituate Historical Society


Yours is one of the most impeccably researched works I have read in a long time . . . and it opens repeatedly on much larger issues, such as things that might have been (the canal) to the inventor of kit-built garages and cottages.


I have enjoyed it immensely.

-- John R. Stilgoe, Harvard University



A wonderful read.

-- Mark Jarzombek, MIT


About the cover, click here (blog post 12/11/21 on "Secrets of the cover")

Ruth Thompson, “New book takes a historic look at Third Cliff in Scituate,” Scituate Mariner website, December 13, 2021, here, front page of Scituate Mariner, December 16, 2021, and Patriot Ledger website, December 16, 2021, here.

Corrections and additions to the book, click here.

Bookstores and libraries can order hardcover copies through IngramSpark.

ISBN: 978-1-7354745-3-3 (paperback)
ISBN: 978-1-7354745-4-0 (Kindle)
ISBN: 978-1-7354745-5-7 (hardcover)

Library of Congress Control Number: 2021923909

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