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Preface (excerpt)

From On a Cliff: A History of Third Cliff in Scituate, Massachusetts

This book is the result of a project that grew out of control. It started as a short paper about my neighborhood. Ten pages, two months, tops. Now here it is, six years later, with enough pages for this book and two others. It just goes to show how far curiosity can drive me.

More than that, it shows how much history there is in just our back yard. We are lucky to live in an area with centuries of history. Rev. Samuel Deane covered the early centuries in his history of Scituate published in 1831. Later books covered certain aspects of the town, including more recent histories of First Cliff, Fourth Cliff, the town’s fire department, and town water services.

But the books leave gaps. They do not say much about the transformation of farmland into summer estates and summer colonies, features for which Scituate has been particularly noted. So even with all these books, there is still much history to unearth.

I like to dig new ground. So I dug diligently and up came a wealth of material, along with a rich stream of amazing people who lived here.


You might think that being out of the way, this area was provincial. That is far from true. This book brings out the amazing people who were attracted here, with great ambitions and accomplishments that spanned the globe.

This book should interest anyone who lives or visits here. It should also interest anyone who likes old houses, or wants to learn about the growth of a New England coastal neighborhood, the rise of a summer colony, historic preservation, and important but overlooked parts of the history of this old town and its amazing people.

Lyle Nyberg
Third Cliff, Scituate, Massachusetts
December 2021

On a Cliff --

Available soon at

Buttonwood Books and Toys

747 Chief Justice Cushing Hwy

Cohasset, MA 02025   Tel (781) 383-2665


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

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