The power of place, intertwined with the rich tapestry of history, has the profound ability to transform our lives and foster a deeper connection to our community, and nowhere is this more evident than in the town of Falmouth. From the early 20th-century beach homes in the Heights to the picturesque cranberry bogs of East Falmouth and the charming stores of Woods Hole, Falmouth’s unique topography has forged an identity that resonates deeply with its residents. It is a place where history is not confined to books but is interwoven like a quilt into the fabric of daily life, leaving an indelible impression on all who call it home.
At the heart of this rich tapestry stands the Falmouth Historical Society, a venerable institution with roots stretching back to the year 1900. The inception of this remarkable journey finds its roots in an unlikely partnership between two individuals from vastly different backgrounds. On one side was Robinson Crocker Bodfish, an 82-year-old, weathered soul, who, despite hailing from a venerable Falmouth family, found himself perennially burdened by the weight of misfortune. On the other side stood Henry Herbert Smythe, a polished 46-year-old minister, originally from Ohio, who had taken up residence in Bodfish’s home to serve as the Saint Barnabas rectory, stepping in when Bodfish could no longer meet his financial obligations. This seemingly improbable duo forged a profound bond as they embarked on a shared mission. From these humble beginnings, the Falmouth Historical Society has grown exponentially over the years, finding its first permanent home in the historic c. 1790 Dr. Francis Wicks House, thanks to a generous bequest from Julia Wood in 1932.
The Falmouth Historical Society has embarked on a mission to restore the Wicks House museum, making it accessible year-round and ensuring the proper temperature and humidity control necessary to protect our precious collection. The recent reinterpretation of the site has uncovered a diverse range of stories, from a whaling captain to Native American and African American live-in servants, each contributing to the rich history of Cape Cod.
This is a call to action for individuals from all walks of life, just like Smythe and Bodfish did, to unite in preserving the legacy of Falmouth, with a particular focus on the vital restoration of the Wicks House. Your contribution this year holds even greater significance, as a generous anonymous member of our board of trustees has offered a dollar-for-dollar match of up to $25,000 to help us reach our goal this year by December 15, 2023. Time is of the essence, and with 100% participation from our Board of Trustees secured, we invite you to join us on this exciting journey as we launch the “Fix Wicks” campaign. Together, we can ensure that Falmouth’s history continues to be a source of inspiration for generations to come.
Rachel Lovett Michael Kasparian
Executive Director President, Board of Trustees
Checks can be made out to:
Falmouth Historical Society
PO Box 174
Falmouth, MA 02540