top of page

Liberty & Summer Streets
 Sandwich’s First Village Neighborhood Outside of Jarvesville

By Kaethe Maguire

It must be stated that Route 6A as we know it now, passing by Jarves Street, once known as Dock Lane, did not exist. The “County Road” as all first major roads were known, went right into the Village past the 1834 Town Hall, past the present and past Dan’l Webster Inn and out toward the Fish Hatchery area onto what is now called “Old Main Street”.


That area became Route 6A after various names over the years. In 1930 the State bought that stretch of land to create a roadway around Sandwich Village probably to make a more direct route and avoid such high traffic on Main Street as it passed through the village. See Liberty Plan Map


Imagine farm and marsh spreading from Jarvesville and the Sandwich Glass Works (created in 1825) to the present Main Street. There were 3 major named farm families in this area at the time. The land that became Liberty Street was owned by a member of the well-established Nye family.


The Nathaniel or Nathan Nye (1719-1797) farm was granted to his eldest son, another Nathan (1754-1799) who then sold parts of it. Namely, he sold some to his brother, Abraham.

Jenny Jones map inset.PNG

This inset of the Jenny Jones Map depicts Jarvesville, the Glass Factory and Sandwich before Route 6A.

The rural farm life of the area suddenly changed when Deming Jarves and William Fessenden partnered to create housing lots on what would become Liberty Street. 


The instigator in all this development was, of course, the 1825 Boston and Sandwich Glass Works that changed everything in Sandwich. The population boomed with the good paying jobs.


Suddenly there were wharf facilities that developed along Dock Creek for the Glass Company packet boats that provided services to Boston from Cape Cod.

Inset of Sandwich MA map 1910

This inset of a 1910 map of Sandwich depicts the Liberty and Summer Streets neighborhoods.

Deming Jarves did build ‘factory tenements’ for many of his workers, which he rented to them for an affordable price. The area became known as “Jarvesville”. He did import many of his Irish immigrant glass workers from South Boston to Sandwich and then encouraged the immigration of more Irish craftsmen from impoverished Ireland.  Parts of Ireland have long been known for the manufacturing of beautiful glass.

Some of the key players included Hiram HH Heald, (1828-1913) whose descendants are still among us.  Heald began a tack manufacturing company with Isaiah Tobey Jones and had a home at 15 Water St. He was also a talented musician. Isaiah became a leading figure in cranberry growing and became secretary and treasurer of the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers Association founded in 1888.


The well-known Union Braiding Company was operated by Heald and Arthur Armstrong the site of which can be approached from Grove Street behind the Old Henry T. Wing Home.  After 1918 The Union Braiding plant was sold to McCullough Manufacturing of Boston. They began to manufacture small devices for the Model T engine and what was then called, ‘spark gaps or timers’.  This was a much smaller operation and the first time since 1811 that a big factory was not in operation there.


A bit of history of this area may be helpful to the reader. By 1932 when Depression hit the area hard; the Glass Works had long closed with the resulting loss of population. The Wing home at 24 Water Street was sold with barn and 20 acres for $15,000 on September 10, 1932. Peter Cook purchased the property and restored the home. It was Cook who tore down the old Union Braiding buildings. The area had been the site of a cotton mill as far back as 1811.   


Liberty Map 2.PNG

So, 20 acres of the former Nye Farm became Liberty Street, Summer Street, Pleasant Street covering the area from Dock Lane, (Jarves Street) to the marsh on the East side behind now Liberty St.


The pair, Jarves and Fessenden, hired Jesse Boyden a relative newcomer to Sandwich, to create a plan of house lots beginning at Liberty Street. (1836)

I'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It's easy.

Liberty Map 1.PNG

There were some French artisans as well, but the majority with the skills were the Irish. As insulting as it may seem, the ‘laborers’ were the native Sandwich people. But they too were glad for the steady work. Many also became skilled craftsmen.


All these new people needed housing near their place of work. The highly skilled workers could now afford to buy or build separate homes and leave the crowded noisy tenements. In order to keep these people, Jarves knew he had to find a better housing plan for them.

Unfortunately, the Sandwich Historical Commission on which I served for many years, was unable to locate this plan even tho we hired a Register of Deeds expert to track it down. What happened to it? This plan was drawn up after the infamous Registry fire, so that is not what happened to it.


Who was this Jesse Boyden who seems to have taken over key roles in Sandwich very quickly? Well, for starters, he was not of the Boyden family which owned and ran the “Boyden Block” on Main Street located between the 1833 Unitarian Church and the Dan’l Webster Inn. They had a livery stable and ran stagecoaches out of their stable. This area long since has burned down.


He must have been a highly educated man to have had the skills to do the work he did do and if you go into the Archives or perhaps the Planning Department you will find many maps and plans of wood lots that Boyden drew up over the years. (Beginning in 1848).


Wood lots were very important to early settlers. Each owner of a piece of property on which he might want to build a home or create a farm needed a marsh grass lot to feed the animals and a wood lot to provide the wood for construction.

Early woodlot owners by 1715 include well known Sandwich names such as Percival, Hoxie, Jones, Lawrence, Goodspeed, and Meiggs.


I estimate that Jesse Boyden may have arrived in town about 1820. He served as a Selectman from 1829 for 17 years. At one point he owned and lived at the “The Lindens” at 23 Water Street, now so respectfully restored by Linda Pope Marsh.


His plans and maps of our Town are a huge asset. They are invaluable to researchers who are looking not only for boundaries in the current Sandwich but also all over what is now Bourne since Bourne did not exist until 1884.


Look at the hand drawn plan that Barbara Gill, our former late Archivist created from notes in the file to better grasp the layout of this new neighborhood. The late Palmer True, then a member of the historical commission, did a mountain of research in the early 2000s at the Registry of Deeds to create a basic plan from which Barbara was able to draw her plan. See hand drawn map


Having all homes in the Liberty Street area as well as Jarvesville within walking distance was important. I have read that with the changing of shifts, the people coming home from their shift would knock on the bedroom windows of the next shift to be sure they were up and about. The Glass Work ran 24 hours a day at its peak.


8 liberty.PNG
11 Liberty.PNG

Above are some examples of the fine homes built on Liberty Street. The peaked A shaped front roof was a classical Greek Revival signature style. It arrived in Boston about 1820 and of course with no TV news at 6 pm, it took a while for the style to reach Cape Cod. 


And so, Deming Jarves was ultimately responsible not only for building the Glass Factory but also in a real sense developing Sandwich’s first residential development outside of Jarvesville. We are indeed “the town that glass built”. *


Industrialization was taking hold of the economy of Sandwich and the Glass Works were not the first factory in Sandwich. We know that the Nye’s created a factory on Shawme Pond in 1811. I have previously written an article about the varied and many factories built on both Upper and Lower Shawme Lake as it was called. Without Artificial power, water provided the power to drive machinery and thus Sandwich could be a part of the Industrial Revolution in her own way.


*Sandwich, The Town That Glass Built, by Harriot Buxton Barbour 1948

bottom of page