Evelyn Doane - William Raveis Real Estate - Cape Cod

History on Cape Cod


The Cape was settled within ten years of the arrival of the Pilgrims at Plymouth.  In fact, the Mayflower Compact was written while the Pilgrims were in Provincetown before they sailed on to Plymouth.  Beginning in Sandwich, they steadily moved down the Cape. 

Sandwich is fortunate to have several homes dating from the 1600s and most other towns are proud of their Pre-Revolutionary homes.  The architecture of Cape Cod is fascinating in that the homes were built a certain way for practical reasons and aesthetically are most charming too.  There are half capes with a window on one side of the front door, three quarter capes with one window on one side of the door and two on the other side and full capes with two windows on each side of the door.  Many if not most of the older capes have been added onto in the course of the years…and a number have been moved too by means of rollers and horses.  There are a few in Chatham that were floated over from Nantucket after the whaling boom disintegrated.

Taking a trip down Route 6A from Orleans to Barnstable can be an enjoyable history lesson with all the captains’ houses along the way to admire.  You will see many types of architecture from the earlier Cape homes to Greek Revival and Victorian homes and variations on each theme. 

*Atwood House at the Chatham Historical Society on Stage Harbor Road offers a step back in time.  Docents will tell you about the architecture of this gambrel roof home built in 1756 and said to be the oldest home in town.  Recently enlarged and refurbished, there are many exhibits to see from different eras in the home’s history.  Downstairs is a display of tools and fishing gear.  The Nickerson Camp from North Beach is a fairly recent addition and is exactly as it was on the beach with the huge cast iron stove for cooking and warmth.  An added bonus that came with it is the original outhouse!  The Murals Barn contains the famous Alice Stalknecht murals done during the 1930s using townspeople as models for biblical scenes.  The Museum is open all summer long for a nominal fee and various special events and lectures take place there during the year.

*The Mayo House right on Main Street near the Cape Cod Five Bank also is open and offers docents to enlighten you on the history of that home.

*Nickerson Family Association Homestead is on Route 28 shortly after Ryders Cove.  The town of Chatham was founded by William Nickerson, who bought the land from the Monomoyic Indians.  The homestead is open sometimes to the public and is on the grounds where William and his family lived overlooking Pleasant Bay.  There is an extensive library about the family and the town.  Every year, there is a reunion at the homestead of Nickersons from all over the country.