In the early-mid 19th century, this area of the Blue Fish River was thriving with shipyards, wharves, sawpits, mills and warehouses. By 1900, Duxbury Village, as it was known then, was Duxbury’s main commercial district and at this location stood livery stables, a garage, grocery store, restaurant, barber shop, and a bowling alley, among other establishments.
In 1906, Tony Lucas built his house on the property that is today Maxwell Garden. Antone P. Lucas (known as Tony) was Portuguese and born in the Azores. His wife, Rebecca Doyle, was from Canada. Lucas emigrated to the U.S. in 1865, living first in Provincetown where he married in 1884. In Duxbury, he ran a barbershop and grocery store out of the building on the Blue Fish River. Lucas was also hired by the Duxbury Rural Society (precursor to the Duxbury Rural & Historical Society), to operate the locks on the Blue Fish River bridge. At the same time, the DRS began to acquire additional marsh parcels and to tear down many of the Duxbury Village buildings, which had deteriorated – all part of a larger “improvement” project for the neighborhood.
This parcel of land was purchased by the Duxbury Rural & Historical Society in 1943 and has been cared for by the Duxbury Garden Club for more than 70 years. In the 1980s, the garden was named in honor of Mrs. Frank (Ella) Maxwell, the first president of the Duxbury Garden Club and the Club’s labors continue to be appreciated.
In 2018, the DRHS embarked on a major restoration project to restore and raise the sea wall at Maxwell Garden, preventing damage from wash over during high tides and storms. This project was made possible through the generous bequest of Mary Reynolds and, with the Garden Club’s blessing, the garden will be renamed the Reynolds-Maxwell Garden. The Maxwell Garden is open to the public.