Topics: Local History

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 ...

A Wartime Letter To The Boys At The Front

By: Cape Cod Chronicle

During World War II, Leo Vernon Eldredge sent periodic letters to local men serving overseas. One of the men he corresponded with was his friend Edwin W. Taylor, father of Selectman Seth Taylor. Edwin Taylor saved the letters sent to him by “LV” and brought them home with him after serving in the South Pacific. Seth Taylor recently shared one of those letters, printed here, which he said “discusses or adds some ...

Mill On The Move

By: Tim Wood

CHATHAM – The iconic windmill on Briggs Way overlooking Chatham Harbor took a little trip the other day. Crews from Sylvester Building Movers wrested the 77-year-old windmill from its stone foundation and ever-so-carefully and slowly transported it a short distance away to a corner of the property. The windmill – never a working mill but built as a summer home by Herbert Briggs in about 1930 – is under a de...

Channel Dangers Recall 1950 Drownings

By: Debra Lawless

Sixty-seven years after the sad event, Archie S. Nickerson recently reminisced about the afternoon of Oct. 30, 1950, when his father and his father’s fishing partner drowned crossing Chatham Bar. Archie, now 82, is the sole remaining member of the family in which he grew up. This afternoon he is sitting at the kitchen table in his ranch house not too far from Ridgevale Beach. He opens a thin manila envelope la...

The “heartwarming and inspiring” story of the 1952 rescue of 32 sailors from the Pendleton, the tanker that broke in two off Cape Cod during a vicious northeaster, represents Chatham’s community spirit at its finest, says Danielle Jeanloz, executive director of the Chatham Historical Society (CHS). “Rarely does a community have a chance to rally like that and have such success,” Jeanloz said Monday. The story ...

Book Stakes Chatham's Claim To Aviation History

By: Debra Lawless

“Chatham is the cradle of aviation,” says John Brown, the author of a new book called “Gustave Whitehead and the Wright Brothers: Who Flew First?” Brown came to this conclusion after he studied late 19 th century experiments in glider flight in Chatham that he says led directly to one of the experimenters being the first to fly in a motor-powered aircraft. Brown is a native of Australia living in Germany. ...

HBDC Told Eldredge Garage Stable Can't Be Saved

By: Tim Wood

CHATHAM – No matter who ends up owning the Eldredge Garage, the oldest building on the property, built about 120 years ago as a stable, will likely have to be torn down. Although determined to be historically significant, the building is in such poor condition that it is not salvageable, several people told the historic business district commission during a hearing last Wednesday. The best that could be hoped ...