Summer Guide Cape Cod

Summer Guide Cape Cod 2020

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Page 49 of 147 48 S andwich, the first town to be established on Cape Cod, was founded in 1637 and recog- nized as a town by the Plymouth Colony in 1639. In that early period, the original families settled near what is now River and Main Streets. They erected a town house that served both as a religious and political meeting place, called a minister to preach, laid out boundaries and estab- lished one of the earliest commercial structures, the Dexter Grist Mill, built for grinding corn. The arrival of the first members of the So- ciety of Friends in 1657 was controversial and provoked harsh measures by the local authori- ties. Nonetheless, the Quakers persevered, and their numbers grew. Today, Sandwich boasts the oldest continuous in-use Quaker meeting house America which dates from 1810. When King Philip's War erupted across southern New England in 1675, Sandwich was spared. But as a precaution, the Wing Fort House served as a place of protection against possible attack. The 1641 building is seasonally open to the public as a museum. During the Revolutionary War period, Sand- wich, like other Cape towns, was divided be- tween Patriots and Tories. Actions between these two opposing factions often turned violent. In June of 1776, Sandwich voters supported the Declaration of Independence at a special town meeting. With the British evacuation of Boston, the Loyalists fled to British Nova Scotia. Sandwich was originally agrarian and prot- estant, with a citizenry mainly of English origin. That changed in 1825 when Deming Jarves, a Boston entrepreneur, established the Boston & Sandwich Glass Company. The enterprise re- quired a labor force that gradually changed the demographics and character of the town. Work- ers from other Massachusetts communities, including a large number of Irish immigrants, moved to Sandwich. They lived in small single family homes and in two, four and six family company-built buildings. Eventually, this commu- nity, located near the factory, came to be called Jarvesville. In its heyday the glass factory was open 24 hours a day and employed 550 workers. Jarves' firm produced a variety of types of glass- ware to the point where by 1850 the company was putting out over five million pieces a year. After more than a half century of operation, and facing labor issues and competition from other developing glass manufacturing areas, the Boston and Sandwich Glass Company closed its doors in 1881 leading to a steady decline in population as people left town to seek jobs elsewhere. The population was further reduced in 1884 when the town divided and Bourne was carved out of the western half of Sandwich. The 20th century brought more changes. Like the previous century when many Sandwich men volunteered for service in the Civil War, World Wars I and II, Korea and Vietnam called Sandwich citizens to military service. Sandwich is very proud of the many men and women who served their town, their state and their country with bravery and honor. Perhaps the most significant event affecting Sandwich in modern times was the completion of the Cape Cod Canal. Long desired by those who wanted to avoid the dangerous sailing passage around Cape Cod, the water way was finished in 1914. With post-war prosperity and better roads, tourists began to discover Sandwich. Many of them eventually stayed to become year-round residents swelling the town's population to about 20,000 by the beginning of the 21st century. The pressure of rapid development made it imperative that growth be tempered with preservation. Sand- wich has successfully been able to do that. Today the Cape's oldest town is a bustling, dynamic com- munity with an honored past and a bright future!• A Brief History of Sandwich By: Jonathan Shaw, Bill Daley, Cindy Russell and Tim Coogan Main Street - 1908

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