Cape Cod Saltworks

Saltworks minature

Saltworks and Cape Cod’s History

In 1832 there were 881 saltworks on Cape Cod. That time was the height of salt production. Cape Cod Saltworks has brought back that historic Cape Cod industry. They have revived the original method of producing salt through evaporation. They make artisanal salt using old fashioned, small-scale techniques.

Because the early Americans did not have refrigeration, salt was the only way they could preserve foods. During the Revolutionary War the British blockades  of American ports, forced New Englanders to produce their own salt. Thus an economic boom was created on Cape Cod. Local entrepreneurs applied their ingenuity to producing salt by using the seemingly endless supply of wind, sun and sea water.

This is a miniature reproduction of the Falmouth Saltworks. It is on display at the Falmouth Museums on the Green.
Top view of the saltworks

However, when the railroad came to Cape Cod and salt mines were discovered in New York, salt production by evaporation was replaced by mined salt. The mined salt was less labor intensive and thus less expensive. In a few short years the salt works throughout the Cape were dismantled. The vats are long gone, however, the original wooden pipes can still be found, uncovered in the bay, after a big storm.

Falmouth built salt works in the 1700’s. The entire works was made of wood. That included wooden pipes and wooden pegs. Even the shovels and buckets were wooden. Sea water was pumped by a wind mill into a high vat or large wooden tray. The water was  evaporated by the sun through three stages of processing. The vats were connected with pipes and each vat was lower than the one before and had higher walls.

Some of the By-products of salt making are Epsom salt and Glaber’s salt that is used in glassmaking and to soften hides.

Elijah Swift, one of Falmouth’s founding fathers was a major owner of Falmouth’s saltworks. Swift noted in one of his business records that 350 gallons of sea water produced one bushel of salt.

Saltworks miniature
This is a miniature reproduction of the Falmouth Saltworks. It is on display at the Falmouth Museums on the Green.

Pyramid shaped roofs were rolled over the vats in case of rain. This was to prevent dilution. One significant rainfall could set the evaporation process back significantly. School children often helped to roll the roofs into place. At peak production, Falmouth had 42 saltworks along its shores in 1845.

“Cape Cod Saltworks” has recreated the historic tradition of producing salt by evaporation. They have recaptured the production of pure salt that is harvested from the waters of Cape Cod.

“The unique flavor of this 100% natural sea salt echoes the briny tang of a summer’s day at the beach.


Cape Cod's Stowe Room, A
Harriet Beecher Stowe room
Cape Cod's Emily Dickinson Room Five
Cape Cod’s Emily Dickinson Room Five

While all of our guestrooms have their own charm suitable for relaxation after the most wonderful day exploring Cape Cod’s history, we recommend the Harriet Beecher Stowe room, the Theodore Roosevelt room or the Emily Dickinson room. These rooms feature comfortable king beds, fireplaces, jacuzzi-style tubs and a relaxing stay before and after your day.

Cape Cod Museum Trail – The Cape Cod Museum of Art

Cape Cod Museum of Art

Cape Cod Museum of Art

By Mary Moran

The Cape Cod Museum of Art’s mission is “to collect, study, interpret, and exhibit works by outstanding artists with a regional association. The museum’s collections and exhibitions also include works drawn from a broader context, providing a more comprehensive understanding of our regional artistic heritage. Through its educational and outreach programs, the museum seeks to preserve this heritage by fostering artistic and cultural growth.”

In 1980, Harry Holl, a potter and sculptor, got together with Roy Freed, an artist and lawyer, and proposed the idea of opening an art museum with primary focus on artists with association to Cape Cod and the Islands. After the proposition, the men assembled a group of artists, activists, and educators to create the Scargo Lake Museum in January of 1981. Only a year later the name would be changed to the Cape Cod Museum of Fine Arts and a membership campaign would begin. By 1984, the museum had gathered 1,000 interested and active members. A quaint storefront in Theater Marketplace (Dennis Village) would be the first home of the museum. Expansion of the museum was inevitable and quickly occurring. In 1985, Cape Cod Museum of Fine Art’s trustees signed a lease agreement to build the museum on an acre of land at the Cape Playhouse, also located in Dennis. Two years later, the Davenport West family donated a building to house the collection. The building, however, was located in Harwich, a near-by mid-Cape town. A $300,000.00 dollar campaign was soon established. The purpose of the  fund raising effort was to transport the building from South Harwich to the Cape Playhouse grounds in Dennis. A refurbishing budget was also included in the fund raising effort. In September of 1987, the generously donated building was divided into eleven pieces and loaded onto seven trucks to make the journey to its new site. It took nearly three years for the reconstruction, but the museum finally opened in 1990.

In the mid-1990’s, the museum’s trustees and president launched a three-phase campaign to further expand and enrich the museum and its contents. Phase one was to turn the museum into a year-round, state of the art facility. The second phase was a renovation and addition in 2001 which included seven climate-controlled galleries, an auditorium, sculpture garden, museum shop, library, elevators, and more. The third and final phase was in the summer of 2003 with the formation of the Weny Education Center.

To further enhance the museum’s mission statement, its name was once again changed, this time to the Cape Cod Museum of Art. Today, the Cape Cod Museum of Art is the only museum completely dedicated to preserving and exhibiting works by artists of the entirety of the Cape Cod and Islands region. In order to continue the creativity and uniqueness of local artists and their work, the museum offers classes and workshops to both children and adults. Summer pottery and summer art camp are also available for children to cultivate their artistic sides. There is even an Art & Alzheimer’s Program where those with memory loss and their caregivers can learn and create beautiful works of art together.

Only a 50 minute drive from the Palmer House Inn, the Cape Cod Museum of Art is a wonderful place to visit in order to get a unique and view of Cape Cod and what it has to offer.

Cape Cod Museum of Art
60 Hope Lane
Dennis, MA 02638
508.385.4477
website


Cape Cod's Stowe Room, A
Harriet Beecher Stowe room
Cape Cod's Emily Dickinson Room Five
Cape Cod’s Emily Dickinson Room Five

While all of our guestrooms have their own charm suitable for relaxation after the most wonderful day exploring gardens on Cape Cod, we recommend the Harriet Beecher Stowe room, the Theodore Roosevelt room or the Emily Dickinson room. These rooms feature comfortable king beds, fireplaces, jacuzzi-style tubs and a relaxing stay before and after your day.


Mary Moran is a Falmouth native and knowledgable about Cape Cod. In addition to writing for the Palmer House Inn, she’s also frequently at the inn and available  to answer quest’s questions. She enjoys reading, hiking, and spending time exploring Falmouth’s coastal waterways.

Cape Cod Museum Trail – Chatham Railroad Museum

Chatham Railroad Museum

By Mary Moran | Photography by Pat O’Connell

Western Union telegraph. at Chatham Railroad Museum.
Western Union telegraph.

Founded in 1886, the goal of the Chatham Railroad Company was to build one train yard, three stations, and a seven mile stretch of track from the Old Colony Railroad Mainline in Harwich to the town of Chatham. Upon completion of the stations and track, Marcellus Eldridge took the position of President of the company in 1887. Supplies brought to Chatham via train included mail, lumber, groceries, stone, steel, coal, asphalt, gasoline, and more. Cargo exported  from the outer Cape included mail, fish, shellfish, and cranberries. Along with freight trains, there were also four passenger trains seven days a week. Popularity of train travel grew and in 1891 the Chatham Railroad Company served 22,000 passengers. However, over the years, due to  improvements of the highways, the company was discontinued in 1937, after nearly 50 years of service.

Chatham Railroad Museum

Railroad tools at Chatham Railroad Museum
Tools that were used on the railroad.

The land and one of the empty depots where the Chatham Railroad Company once ran was donated to the town of Chatham in 1960 by Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Cox. It was suggested by the Chatham Chamber of Commerce that the donation should be turned into a museum and they did just that. A retired New York Central Railroad Executive named Frank Love stepped in as the first Director of the Chatham Railroad Museum. Love asked a total of 62 railroad presidents for, “worthy and relevant items and artifacts” to be displayed at the museum. As a result, thousands of items have been collected through the years. Such items include lanterns, signs,  lights, timetables, passes, calendars, original Western Union telegraph equipment, and much more.

Telegraph key at the Chatham Railroad Museum
Telegraph key.

A 1910 red wooden caboose was also among the items collected. The caboose was originally constructed for the New York Central Railroad,  It had traveled over 1 million miles before being decommissioned. It had been attached to freight trains that had gone back and forth from New York City to Chicago. Today, the caboose sits permanently on the tracks at the museum and visitors are able to go inside to explore. It was fully restored with lockers, a conductor’s desk, and cupola. There are hundreds of exhibits at the museum for visitors to enjoy. Another exhibit worth mentioning contains a variety of vintage model trains, some of which were exhibited at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. After being exhibited at the Fair the models went on to be on display at Grand Central Station in New York City.

Glass Telegraph wire insulators at the Chatham Railroad Museum
Glass telegraph wire insulators.

In 1978, the Chatham Railroad Museum was officially placed on the National Register of Historic Places. More recently, in 2009, the exterior of the museum underwent an entire restoration after receiving both local and state grants.  This charming bit of Cape Cod memorabilia is located approximately an hour drive from the Palmer House Inn, the Chatham Railroad Museum is a convenient stop on the Museum Trail and is great for the young and the young at heart. Located on the lower cape, the Museum is a perfect add-on for a day trip to explore the lower Cape Cod area and to learn a little more about its rich and beautiful history. Be sure to visit their website for days and hours of operation.

Wind up clock, Chatham Railroad Museum
Wind up clock.

Chatham Railroad Museum
153 Depot Road
Chatham, MA 02633
508.945.5780
website

 


Cape Cod's Stowe Room, A
Harriet Beecher Stowe room
Cape Cod's Emily Dickinson Room Five
Cape Cod’s Emily Dickinson Room Five

While all of our guestrooms have their own charm, we recommend the Harriet Beecher Stowe room, the Theodore Roosevelt room or the Emily Dickinson room . These rooms feature comfortable king beds, fireplaces, jacuzzi-style tubs and a relaxing stay before and after your day.


Mary Moran is a Falmouth native and knowledgable about Cape Cod. In addition to writing for the Palmer House Inn, she’s also frequently at the inn and available  to answer quest’s questions. She enjoys reading, hiking, and spending time exploring Falmouth’s coastal waterways.