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.

Cape Cod Maritime Museum

Maritime Museum Wooden Sailboat

Maritime Museum, Cape Cod’s 1st Museum

By Mary Moran | Photos by Pat O’Connell

Maritime Museum Wooden Sailboat
Wooden Sailboat

Located in the mid-Cape town of Barnstable, is the bustling and popular village of Hyannis. On the village’s waterfront the Maritime Museum is Cape Cod’s first museum. It is completely dedicated to the maritime history and the seafaring culture of the Cape and Islands. It is within easy walking distance of Main Street, the island ferry terminal, restaurants, unique shops  and beautiful beaches. Its location makes it an excellent part of a fun-filled day-trip on Cape Cod.

Maritime Museum entrance
Maritime Museum entrance

The museum’s mission is to, “preserve the rich seafaring traditions which Cape Cod and the Islands are famous for. We accomplish this by preserving critical artifacts of bygone eras, and promoting the well known sailing skills and heritage through our exhibitions, the objects in our collection, public events, and our educational programs. We enable audiences of all ages to understand and enjoy Cape Cod’s maritime culture and experience the essence of what makes our corner of the country truly remarkable.”

Maritime Museum rope fender
A hand knotted rope fender
Maritime Museum lighthouse boats
Some locations did not lend themselves to the building of a lighthouse. As a result, ships were anchored at the entrance to a harbor as a navigational aid at the Maritime Museum, Hyannis, MA, USA.

To accomplish their mission, the museum’s staff offers a large variety of exhibits and educational programs for visitors of all ages. One exhibit allows visitors to learn about and view the types of vessels that have traversed local waters over the years. Models  are on display throughout the museum. They include a variety of sail boats in addition to power vessels, both large and small.  Many have been used for recreation and/or commercial endeavors.

The “Cook Boat Shop” is also located within the museum and is a working exhibit. Visitors are able to observe both traditional and contemporary styles of boat building, as well as watch the restoration process on older boats.

Maritime Museum park
Climb Aboard Park.

For children to get a hands-on experience, take them to the “Climb Aboard Park.” This is a 28 foot boat for the kids to play on and explore.

Other exhibits include a fine arts gallery. In this gallery, all of the art work has a maritime theme. There is also a guided historical walking tour of what is called “Sea Captain’s Row”. This is a historical walking tour, through Hyannis, where over a hundred sea captains once called home in the 1800s.

Maritime Museum lightships sign
Lightships

There are also rotating exhibits that are part of the Maritime Museum’s diverse galleries.

In addition, Educational Programs offered through the museum include boat building, fishing, navigation, knots tying, sailing, exploring shipwrecks and more.

This outstanding museum is approximately a 45 minute drive from the Palmer House Inn, the Cape Cod Maritime Museum is a great stop during a day of Main Street shopping or traveling to and from the Island of Nantucket.

For more information on the Cape Cod Maritime Museum, including hours and admission, visit their website.

Cape Cod Maritime Museum
135 South Street
Hyannis, MA 02601
508.775.1723

Be sure to check back with us soon at the Palmer House Inn’s, Innkeeper’s Diary, for more information on other museums along the Cape Cod Museum Trail.


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 museums and historic 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.

Holiday Ginger Snaps Recipe

Ginger Snap recipe

Holiday Ginger Snaps Recipe

Ginger Snap recipe
Ginger Snaps and tea.

Before owning the Palmer House Inn, Bill and I lived on boats. I enjoyed making these  holiday ginger snaps recipe because ginger is calming to the digestive system. Many folks were concerned about sea sickness.

This recipe makes about 5 dozen.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/4 cups sifted enriched flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cloves

Holiday Gingersnaps Recipe Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

With an electric mixer, cream together the first four ingredients until it is fluffy. Sift together the dry ingredients: stir into the molasses mixture. Form the doe into 1 inch balls and roll in granulated sugar. Place the balls about two inches apart on a greased cookie sheet and bake for about ten minutes. Allow to cool and remove from the pan.

More Cookie Recipes for the Holidays


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 Cape Cod’s excellent cuisine, 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.