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Tidbits from Kaethe

By Kaethe Maguire

  • In May of 1904 the Central House, as the Dan’l Webster Inn was then known, was leased to Thomas Sisson for five years. He added improvements such as steam heat and bathrooms. He also had a hotel in Middleboro called the New Market House.

  • On February 21, 1905 a “Cape Cod Night” was held in the Neponset section of Dorchester for all those people from Cape Cod now living in the Boston area. The Ladies Aid Society, assisted by the “King’s Daughters,” put this program together. They charged $.25 per person for supper and entertainment. (I wonder why they held it in cold possibly snowy February?) It was held at the Trinity Congregational Church at 51 Walnut St. People were instructed to take the"‘Neponset Bridge Car" for public transportation. This gathering was highly successful in spite of the time of the year.


A postcard of the Central House, c. 1910


  • Our own Gustavus Swift (1839-1903) was born in what was then West Sandwich to Captain William swift and Sally Sears Crowell. In 1877 he invented and produced the first refrigerated train cars to carry "dressed meat" instead of sending cows overland where some died and all inevitably lost weight from running all those miles to Chicago. He eventually produced more than 7,000 cars. He called them “reefer cars” rather than refrigerated cars. By the 1930s this whole enterprise was purchased by General American Transportation. However, the company continued as Swifts’ Premium Brand.

Refrigerator cars built for the Swift Refrigerator Line in 1899


  • Telephone poles were first placed on Sandwich streets in 1906. Also in 1906, the State Fish Hatchery began operating at its present site on Route 6A. Who knew it was there so long ago?

  • In 1911 the Sandwich Public Library opened, known as the Weston Memorial Library in honor of its generous benefactors, William and Sophia Weston. Mr. Weston descended from a glassworker family.

  • In 1911 gasoline dealers came to Sandwich. First was Joshua Hall, followed in 1912 by Jerome Holway, descendent of early Sandwich resident Joseph Holway. Jerome and wife Ella Ellis Holway, who founded the Sandwich Historical Society and recorded all graves and epitaphs in Old Town Burial Ground, lived on what is now Tupper Road beside the Sandwich Glass Museum. Ella’s mother lived in the house beside them.


Mrs. August Belmont cutting the ribbon at the opening of.the Sagamore Bridge in 1935

  • On June 22, 1935, the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges were officially opened to traffic. Many public officials and signatories were in attendance.  There was a huge celebration – a parade with festive floats, bands, fire departments from all over Massachusetts, school children, and contingents from the Army, Navy, and National Guard.  Gov. Michael Curley cut the ribbon to open the Bourne Bridge, and Mrs. August Belmont, widow of the builder of the Cape Cod Canal, cut the ribbon at the Sagamore Bridge.

  • The General MacKenzie, the foremost dredge to work on building the Cape Cod Canal,  was lost at sea on February 26, 1915.  Of the 25 crew members, five men lost their lives,  including John T. Murphy of Sandwich.

  • In May 1940, under the sponsorship of the Sandwich Women’s Club, Mrs. George “Nan” McCann opened the first youth hostel on Cape Cod.  It was located in a converted barn on the McCann property on Liberty Street. A news article stated, “it is a place to spend the night, at moderate cost, and used by travelers going from place to place either on foot or bicycle.”  Over 500 guests were recorded in the first year of operation.​

  • In December 1893 some hunters found a partially uncovered skeleton on Scorton Beach in East Sandwich. Because the skeleton was found facing up with arms crossed, it was thought it was buried rather than washed ashore. It was believed the person was murdered as the skull was punctured. The remains were not identified.

The historical information in these “tidbits” is from old newspapers given to the Town Archives by Sandwich native and historian Carolyn Crowell; Sandwich, A Cape Cod Town by Russell A. Lovell Jr. (1984); and The History of Cape Cod: The Annals of the Thirteen Towns of Barnstable County, Volume 2, by Frederick Freeman (1862). 

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