“To the grave I summon all.” A long time ago, bells announced the death of every resident of Falmouth. On one occasion, a local bell paid its own eerie tribute to a beloved pastor.
Published on October 31, 2019
What does a Cape Cod historian need to know about Texas? More than you might think. Recently, we discovered some unexpected ties between Falmouth and the Alamo.
Published on September 26, 2019
Where WHOI scientists now work in Quissett, the Fenno family once played. Whether playing tennis, swimming in a shark tank, or gracing the walls of the MFA, they tackled life with a zest for enjoyment.
Published on August 29, 2019
The Cape Codder was long renowned as a peaceful haven for vacationers. Police reports and news articles tell a different side of the story.
Published on July 25, 2019
At the nation’s bicentennial in 1976, Falmouth’s militia was called upon to give royalty its due. Were these independent Americans up to the task?
Published on June 28, 2019
Each summer throughout the 1920s, Rene Dillingham’s family found new ways to have fun in their summer cottage at Davisville.
Published on May 23, 2019
Published on April 25, 2019
During World War II, troops kept in touch with their loved ones at home through the technological breakthrough of V-Mail. Find out how the system worked, and meet Falmouth couple Luana and Chester Weeks, who were typical users of V-Mail.
Published on March 28, 2019
Around 1840, 73 Falmouth women signed an anti-slavery petition. One of them was the free black woman Annes Ray. Annes raised a son who became a hero of the Underground Railroad. She lived to see the ratification of the 13th amendment. She also inspired a local legend.
Posted on February 28, 2019
Rene Dillingham Washburn recalls how she and her friends Conny and Sylvia went on their first biplane ride. The year was 1931. The girls were sixteen. They had no idea what to expect, but they had the time of their lives.
Posted on September 17, 2018
Do you save your old theater tickets? What do they mean to you? A reflection on how ephemeral souvenirs can touch our deepest memories.
Posted on July 9, 2018 Watch the video
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 Watch the video
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
One hundred years ago, Falmouth was living through a wartime Christmas. Find out how residents worked to keep the spirit of peace alive.
Posted on December 8, 2017
Experience World War I through the eyes of Falmouth draftee J. Robert Kershaw:
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.
Posted on October 30, 2017 Watch the video
Teenager Rene Dillingham and her family were caught between smugglers and Coast Guard in the waters off Davisville. Read her eyewitness account of what happened.
Posted on September 29, 2017
Falmouth summer resident Helena (Nordhoff) Gargan went on a mission of mercy to Munich in 1916. She didn’t know that her native and adopted countries would be at war before she could come home.
Posted on August 28, 2017
Eugene and Mary Swift were among the first Falmouth residents to spend their winters in Florida. They were also early fans of NASCAR. Read about their surprising connections to Daytona.
Posted on May 30, 2017
Since 1904, Falmouth has always enjoyed a good fight over sewers. Follow the winding ways of local politics, and see why it took a century for the Heights to get its sewer system.
Watch the video Posted on February 20, 2017
Eleanor Conant describes a bygone Christmas in Falmouth, when oysters were on the menu, the scent of bayberry was in the air, and the tree was decorated with a newfangled thing called tinsel.
Posted on December 22, 2016
Christmas in Falmouth was originally a very quiet affair, but music slowly found its place in the celebration. Find out which of your favorite Christmas carols isn’t really about Christmas at all!
Posted on December 15, 2016
A woman in this photo inspired some of the earliest poems written by Katharine Lee Bates. Find out more about her, and about the poetry of everyday life in Falmouth in the late 1800s.
Posted on September 27, 2016
The latest entry on our “indispensable source” list is a chronicle of the hotels and homes where wealthy summer visitors once stayed. In its pages we found a connection between Falmouth and the Kennedy dynasty, at its very beginning.
Posted on August 22, 2016
For 45 years, the Falmouth Playhouse brought to our town a touch of Hollywood glamour and Broadway sophistication. As this acclaimed theater fades into history, playbills and pictures from our archives keep alive its memory.
Posted on July 28, 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.
Posted on May 27, 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.
Posted on April 7, 2016
Silas Jones was 3rd mate on the Awashonks in 1835, when the Falmouth whaleship encountered an island that didn’t appear on any of the sailors’ navigational charts. Where was this mystery island?
Posted on February 19, 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?
Posted on January 29, 2016
Artist Henry Hauser painted this watercolor for his son Albert, a career Coast Guardsman. What other memorable presents have Falmouth families exchanged?
Posted on December 22, 2015
Grace Lane taught English and history at Lawrence High School in 1900. In her spare time, she was a volunteer for the brand new Falmouth Historical Society. Find out how Grace helped to preserve a slice of Falmouth history.
Posted on December 18, 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.
Posted on November 25, 2015
The oldest item in the archives predates the Mayflower. How did a Bible published in Scotland in 1576 end up in our town? Why did the Pilgrims prefer this translation? And what does a typewriter tycoon have to do with it?
Posted on November 19, 2015
Oliver Franklin Swift remembered two “weird” women who stood out among the residents of Falmouth in the 1850s. Were they witches, or were they just misunderstood?
Posted on October 30, 2015
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. Les Garrick describes the people and politics behind the conflict.
Posted on October 2, 2015