Marshfield Branch of the YWCA Cambridge

76 Ferry Hill Road, Marshfield, MA 02050


The Marshfield Branch of the Cambridge YWCA is located in an old barn (rumored to have been active during rum running days) on a North River salt marsh in a beautiful spot for recreation and enjoyment of the outdoors. It had a tradition of offering to city dwellers a respite from the hustle and bustle and heat of urban life. To the women, children and men who come to the YWCA programs, it is a place to make new friends, and grow in understanding, knowledge and skills. To relax in the beauty of one of the very few areas along the North River still available to the public is an added benefit.

Its history as a retreat for city people goes back to Charles H. Thurber, Editor-in-Chief of Ginn & Company, publishers, who used to invite his employees to the Red Barn for vacations and outings. His daughter, Gertrude Tanner, once President of the Cambridge YWCA, often brought city teens and families to Marshfield to the Red Barn. She was responsible for this property being deeded to the Cambridge YWCA by her mother, Ann Thurber, in 1961. In 1968, the Cambridge Executive Director contacted Dottie Carpenter of Marshfield to see if there would be any women interested in year-round programming here. She found ten others and they began meeting as a discussion group once a week in November, 1968. 

Since then, we've grown to our present program with classes mornings, afternoons and evenings. We offer babysitting for all daytime classes. We have also offered 7 weeks of reasonably priced summer day camp for school children every year since 1970. Mrs. Tanner died in November 1975 after having seen most of this growth. She expressed great interest in the Branch, wrote wonderful letters of encouragement and sent money to help things along. About 10 acres of land, the Barn, a caretaker's cottage, and 4’ in-ground pool are included in the property.