Summer Guide Cape Cod

Summer Guide Cape Cod 2018

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 57 of 147 56 A s one of the oldest settlements on Cape Cod, Bourne is filled with historical knowledge and charm. Founded in 1627 as part of Sandwich, the Cape's oldest town, Bourne was incorporated as the final, fifteenth town in 1884. During the same year of its foundation, the Ap- tucxet Trading Post also opened for business. Today, it's known as the oldest store in the United States; and, if you ask Mavis Robinson, public relations di- rector of the Bourne Historical Society, it's a must- see for visitors. The Many Wonders of the Aptucxet Trading Post The Aptucxet Trading Post was established by the Pilgrims, who used the small buildings as a place to trade with the Dutch from New York and bar- ter with the native Cape Cod Wampanoag people, who supplied corn, beans and fur in exchange for European goods. In 1635, a severe hurricane dam- aged one of the buildings, and in 1650 the post was abandoned. To preserve the historical significance, the Bourne Historical Society acquired the land in 1922; and today a replica stands on the original building's foundation at the Aptucxet Trading Post Museum. "The trading post represents colonial time and the museum on the property has so many options. It includes not just a reproduction of the Aptucx- et Trading Post, but also features the colonial salt works, Gray Gables Railroad Station, the Joseph Jef- ferson Windmill and more. It's truly a one-stop-shop for Bourne history," said Robinson. On the museum's property lies another significant replica – Bourne's salt works. Salt was critical to the Cape during the Revolutionary War; not only was it used in fishing, but also for food preservation. "Salt production is often overlooked, but it's such an interesting story," explained Robinson. "Salt making was such an important part of Cape Cod history, Bourne included. In fact, Cape Cod was con- sidered the salt basket of the United States." Salt was produced by evaporating ocean water. The water was placed in large boilers over fire, cre- ating a small quantity of salt while burning a lot of wood. After the war, the salt works were created in Bourne by Captain John Sears. He invented a meth- od that used large "vats" made of wood, which lev- eraged solar evaporation to dissolve water. The vats featured a removable roof and when it was rain- ing, the roof would be put on to protect the drying salt. Salt production became a booming industry at the time. Eventually, as the United States expanded west, an abundance of salt was found elsewhere, putting the Cape out of business. According to Robinson, many have "a light bulb moment" when they realize that the salt works is one of the primary reasons why Cape Cod is dotted with windmills. Windmills were used to pump wa- ter into the salt making plants; and one of Bourne's noteworthy windmills can also be found on the grounds of the museum – the Joseph Jefferson Windmill. Built in the 1800's, this windmill – which was nev- er used as a true windmill – was originally situated at the summer home of actor Joseph Jefferson, Bourne - The Final Cape Town with Infinite History By Jessica Bettencourt The Aptucxet Trading Post is known as the oldest store in the United States, and the property is a must-see for visitors of Bourne. Photos courtesy of the Bourne Historical Society

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

view archives of Summer Guide Cape Cod - Summer Guide Cape Cod 2018