Topics: Local History

HARWICH — For the last decade, visitors to the Harwich Historical Society’s Brooks Academy Museum could climb the stairs and explore a model railroad display depicting Harwich in the first half of the 20th century. But in a couple of weeks, the display will be dismantled to make way for new exhibits. The circular layout depicts scenes from Harwich...

ORLEANS — A piece of the town's history – albeit one that was born next door in Eastham – goes on the auction block next week. The former Academy Ocean Grille at 2 Academy Place will be auctioned by the Daniel P. McLaughlin Co. of Boston Dec. 8 at 1 p.m. in Orleans. A $25,000 deposit is required at the sale for the 4,000-square-foot building on a 37,026-square-foot parcel. The Academy Ocean Grille's closu...

How A WWI Blimp Pump Made My Day

By: Dan Broderick

It's really interesting, even intriguing, how things (they are called gifts if we want them, or other unusual words, if we don't) end up in a museum. Viewing these potential donations is usually pre-arranged by a phone call. The caller indicates they have a number of things that might be of historical interest. To the potential donor, everything has sentimental value. "We are moving and want to donate our item...

For many people, the tale of the Pendleton rescue is the stuff of big-budget feature films; for others, it's the story of the greatest small-boat rescue in the history of the Coast Guard. But for Renee Pellegrino of Maryville, Ill., it's part of family lore. Pellegrino recently made a 1,000-mile pilgrimage to the Cape to honor her father, the late Raymond Steele, who was one of the 32 men rescued from the ster...

CHATHAM ─ Wood shavings litter the floor at First Light Boatworks. The air inside one of the building's massive bays is pungent with the scent of cedar. There is something else, as well: a sense of excitement since progress has clearly been made in the build of a double-ended ketch, which is beginning to resemble the beauty she'll be upon completion next June. This is the part of boat building that First Lig...

Town Will No Longer Maintain Harwich Center Cemetery

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH — The town has put First Congregational Church of Harwich on notice that it will cease maintaining the Harwich Center Cemetery as of the end of this month. The town had been taking care of the cemetery for many years under the assumption the it was municipally owned. But a recent Land Court decision concluded the historic cemetery, adjacent to the church, belongs to the First Congregational Church dati...

HARWICH – “It is a very big deal for the museum!” Thus did Janet Cassidy, executive director of the Harwich Historical Society, describe the event held last Friday afternoon in the Brooks Academy Museum in Harwich Center. With some 25 Society members present, Chad Tragakis, president of the Potomac Decoy Collectors Association, presented the organization with an original and pristine A. Elmer Crowell duck deco...

HARWICH — Grey skies and a few rain drops may have held down the crowd, but it could not contain the excitement generated by those who attended the inaugural Harwich Cape Verdean Festival held in Brooks Park on Saturday. The voice of Cape Verdean International singer Candida Rose and the heart healthy beat of Cape Cod African Dance and Drum brought warmth and eventual sunshine to the festival. The event was an...

CHATHAM – Stage Harbor Road appears to meet the criteria as a National Historic Register District, but a determination on South Chatham's eligibility will have to await a site visit by a Massachusetts Historical Commission official. Betsy Friedberg, National Register Director for the commission, will be in town July 19 to tour both areas. In April the town's historical commission requested an opinion of the...

PLEASANT LAKE — Sixty-three years ago, regional and national newspaper reporters descended on sleepy Harwich for a big news story. A 16-year-old girl from Quincy, Mass., saved her family from being asphyxiated when their summer camp on Seymour Pond became filled with gas from a malfunctioning refrigerator. Sixty-three years later, the memories of that day are as fresh as ever for Patricia Evans, the heroine of...

Janet M. Daly has just released her second book telling the story of Chatham’s fascinating history through photographs and captions. “Chatham Through Time” (Fonthill Media, 2017) is a companion to Daly’s 2002 book “Chatham,” published as a part of Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America Series. While her first book is a collection of historic photographs, sketches and cartoons ranging from the 1860s to 1962, th...

Three new books released by the History Press and its sister publisher, Arcadia Books, will thrill those interested in the history of the Cape’s iconic restaurants, the Cape Cod jazz scene and Route 6A. Long after they closed their doors for the final time, beloved restaurants tend to live on in the minds of their patrons. Christopher Setterlund’s “Historic Restaurants of Cape Cod” will take you on a nostalgic...

CHATHAM – The town has long honored its history, and for the past several years has highlighted its past and the institutions that celebrate it with the annual History Weekend. Sponsored by Historic Chatham, a coalition of the town's museums and history organizations, this year's History Weekend takes place June 16, 17 and 18. Local museums will be open with free admission, highlighting new exhibits for the se...

CHATHAM – Two new exhibits open at the Chatham Historical Society’s Atwood House and Museum this Friday, May 26: “Chatham in the Military” and “Windows into Time: Clothing and Artifacts.” Let’s begin with a look at wartime Chatham. “We’re focusing on three primary wars and how they impacted our small community,” says Danielle Jeanloz, the society's executive director. Chatham residents Col. Benjamin Godf...

Skull Originally Found On Outer Beach

By: Tim Wood

CHATHAM – The human skull found on the grounds of the Atwood House Museum in December was initially found more than two years ago on the outer beach. The new information was revealed this week about the skull, which apparently belonged to a Native American and was more than 100 years old. Its discovery by landscapers doing fall cleanup work on Dec. 9 generated considerable interest locally and regionally. “...

Eldredge Garage, A Downtown Landmark, Is Demolished

By: Alan Pollock

CHATHAM — After more than a century watching over the east end of downtown Chatham, the landmark Eldredge Garage building has been razed. On Monday, a small crew using an excavator tore down the large barn piece by piece, pulling aside scrap metal and salvageable timbers for recycling. By the end of the day Monday, about two-thirds of the structure had been demolished, and work was suspended Tuesday because ...