Elijah Swift sent his whaleship, the Sarah Herrick, forth from Falmouth with very specific instructions to the captain. Read what he had to say, and find out why the ship’s slop book is so interesting to historians.
Posted on June 1, 2018
Skating and sledding have always been popular winter pastimes in Falmouth. These two reminiscences, recalling events from 1850 and 1915, prove that local children’s idea of fun hasn’t changed very much over the centuries.
posted on February 26, 2018
December 8, 2017
One hundred years ago, Falmouth was living through a wartime Christmas. Find out how residents worked to keep the spirit of peace alive.
October 30, 2017
Even if you’ve never heard of him, Charles Knight probably owns a corner of your imagination. Meet the artist who created the way we all see dinosaurs.
September 29, 2017
This plane served as the “eyes of the Coast Guard” during the Prohibition era.
Rene Dillingham was caught between smugglers and Coast Guard in the waters off Davisville. Read her eyewitness account of what happened.
August 28, 2017
Falmouth summer resident Helena Gargan embarked on a mission of mercy to Munich in 1916.
May 30, 2016
Eugene and Mary Swift were among the first Falmouth residents to spend their winters in Florida. Would you guess from this picture that they were also early fans of NASCAR? Read about their surprising connections to Daytona.
February 20, 2016
Since 1904, Falmouth has always enjoyed a good fight over sewers. Woods Hole was the first section of town to receive a sewer, and that development came about only after 40 years of contentious discussion. Another 40 years would pass before the next sewer was installed downtown. For insight into the winding ways of local politics, and how sewers have always been deeply unpopular, no matter how necessary they may be, click on the link below.
December 22, 2016
A century ago in Falmouth, a typical Christmas included oysters on the menu, the scent of bayberry candles in the kitchen, and a tree adorned by cranberries and a newfangled thing called tinsel. Let Eleanor Conant bring you back to a special holiday in the house where she grew up.
December 15, 2016
Christmas in Falmouth was originally a very quiet affair. See how holiday celebrations changed over time, and find out which of your favorite Christmas carols isn’t really about Christmas at all!
September 27, 2016
One of the people in this photo inspired some of the earliest poems that Katharine Lee Bates ever wrote. Find out more about her, and about the poetry of everyday life in Falmouth in the late 1800s.
August 22, 2016
If you’ve ever wondered about the lifestyles of wealthy summer visitors at the turn of the century, you’ll appreciate our latest “indispensable sources.” (Did you know that Falmouth has a connection to the Kennedy dynasty, at its very beginning?) Click on the link below to discover more . . .
July 28, 2016
For 45 years, the Falmouth Playhouse brought to our town a touch of Hollywood glamor and Broadway sophistication. An evening at the playhouse was the highlight of many a summer vacation. As this acclaimed theater fades into history, playbills and pictures from our archives keep alive the memory of a beloved cultural landmark.
July 11, 2016
Where did the locals go to swim in 1850? Oliver Franklin Swift offers a guide to the best swimming holes in Falmouth, way back before the time when summer people began to visit.
June 24, 2016
A long time ago in Falmouth, the Fourth of July sparked a cat-and-mouse game between some high spirited boys bent on making a big noise, and a wily church sexton who was determined to outwit them. Who would have the last laugh?
June 10, 2016
As Falmouth developed into a popular resort, Rev. Charles Washburn started a camp for workers who might not otherwise be able to afford a vacation. Fun was mixed with moral uplift at the minister’s Summer Institute, which was nicknamed
May 27, 2016
These people (and their horses) are posing in front of the oldest house in Falmouth. Find out where it is, and which two sources you can consult from home to learn about all of Falmouth’s historic buildings.
April 7, 2016
As winter just refuses to quit, we share Oliver Franklin Swift’s memory of a zealous hockey player who found himself in a dire situation. Click on the link below to see how it all turned out.
February 19, 2016
Silas Jones was the 3rd mate of the Awashonks in 1835, when the Falmouth whaleship encountered an island that didn’t appear on any navigational charts on board. It was a pleasant surprise in a voyage that would later be marked by shocking reversals of fortune. Click on the link below to find out the name of the mystery island.
January 29, 2016
This happy pair of newlyweds can rightly be called the First Couple of Falmouth history. Who are they, and what did they do to earn that title? Click on the link below to find out.
December 22, 2015
Artist Henry Hauser dashed off this watercolor for his grown son, Albert, a career Coast Guardsman who shared his father’s love of painting. Read some other tales of Falmouth families who expressed their love by exchanging memorable Christmas presents.
December 18, 2015
Grace Lane taught English and history at Lawrence High School in 1900. In her spare time, she made an important contribution to one of the earliest projects undertaken by the brand-new Falmouth Historical Society. Find out how Grace helped to preserve a slice of Falmouth history, and how likeminded people are following in her footsteps today.
November 25, 2015
In 1850, turkeys were not as bold as they are today, and Falmouth residents like Oliver F. Swift knew how to make a Thanksgiving dinner from scratch. Read Oliver’s account of the delicious Thanksgiving feasts that he helped his mother to make. Click on the link below to find out . . .
November 19, 2015
The oldest item in the archives predates the founding of Falmouth, and even the landing of the Mayflower. How did this Bible, published in Scotland in 1576, end up in our town? Why did the Pilgrims prefer this translation to the King James version? And what does a typewriter tycoon have to do with it? Click on the link below to find out . . .
October 30, 2015
In honor of Halloween, we turn once more to the memoirs of Oliver Franklin Swift. He describes two “weird” women who stood out among the residents of 1850s Falmouth. Were they witches, or were they just misunderstood? Click on the link below, and see what you think.
October 23, 2015
Allen Crocker, a lonely widower, hoped to win the hand of Lydia Brown. Would she agree to exchange her Nantucket home for his East Falmouth cranberry farm? Click on the link below for Allen’s proposal, and Lydia’s response.
October 2, 2015
After a contentious Town Meeting in 1906, some residents attempted to secede and form their own town called “Nobska.” They would have taken 3/4 of Falmouth’s coastline and much of its wealth. Guest blogger Les Garrick describes the personalities and politics behind the conflict. Click on the link below to find out how the west was almost lost.
September 25, 2015
This prized Lincoln autograph found its way into the Museums’ archives thanks to a nervous boy named Herbie. Click on the link below to find out what happened.
September 18, 2015
Many of us remember Hurricane Bob in 1991, but hurricanes were barreling into the Cape long before that. What was it like to ride out a storm in Falmouth in 1815? How about in 1944? When the storm surge came up Buzzards Bay, where did it deposit Theophilus Gifford’s pumpkins? Click on the link below to find out.
September 11, 2015
What was it like to be a schoolboy in Falmouth in 1850? When he was an old man, Oliver Franklin Swift wrote a memoir for his grandchildren, sharing memories of the town he grew up in and never forgot. In his own words, read about his schools, his friends, and their primitive version of football that sounds more like soccer or rugby. You may be surprised to discover how they made their own footballs! Click on the link below to find out.
September 4, 2015
Can you recognize this detail from a prominent picture in Falmouth? Almost all of us have seen it more times than we can count. Who created it and why? Click on the link below to find out . . .
August 28, 2015
The Sargent Estate in Waquoit is now the home of WBNERR. In the 1920s, Norman Rutherford lived here in grand style–until the day he simply disappeared. What happened to him? Click on the link below to find out . . .
August 21, 2015
John Wing and Emily Gifford were bound out as indentured servants in 19th century Falmouth. Their contracts are now on display in the Wicks House. When our research team delved into what happened to John and Emily after their indentures were over, we were surprised and moved by what we discovered. Click on the link below to find out why . . .
August 14, 2015
This document from our archives shows Captain Nathaniel Eldred complaining about the bad conduct of his indentured servant, Augusta Crocker. How did this 15-year-old dare to defy her master and the overseers of the poor? Click on the link below to find out . . .
August 7, 2015
When he tended to the poor of Falmouth, Dr. Wicks kept a full array of medical instruments ready for any emergency. It paid off when he encountered a pauper in need of amputation. Was the operation successful? Click on the link below to find out . . .
July 31, 2015
Which one of these unassuming young ladies went on to a trailblazing career? Click on the link below to find out…