Short History of Cape Cod
The world knows Cape Cod as Massachusetts’ premiere vacation destination, but the famed peninsula is also home to major landmarks in New England history. In A Short History of Cape Cod – the third in regional history series – author Robert J. Allison, chairman of the History Department at Suffolk University in Boston, takes readers on a tour of the fascinating history of Cape Cod, with more than 100 photographs, twenty personal profiles of historic figures and a detailed chronology.
Cape Cod wasn’t always a recreation spot. As Allison explains, before the late 20th Century, the wealthy had summer homes elsewhere and what are now luxury development were gritty factories. Penzance Point in Falmouth was a guano manufactory; Herring Cove Beach in Provincetown, also known as "Hell Town," had a fish oil plant. After World War II, servicemen who had trained on the Cape, starting bringing their families to the Cape, which paved the way for today’s Cape getaways. “Men once set out to hunt whales from Provincetown Harbor,” Allison writes. “Today boats go to watch the whales and study them.”
Landmarks detailed in Allison’s history included the well known, such as the Wellfleet site of Guglielmo Marconi’s first transatlantic radio transmission to Europe from the United States, and the more obscure. The Cape, for example, had the country’s first traffic rotary built in 1914. Allison introduces readers to famous residents – summer and otherwise – ranging from authors Kurt Vonnegut and John Dos Passos to Joseph P. Kennedy, patriarch of the Kennedy clan, to President Grover Cleveland.
A Short History of Cape Cod is a great book for a day at the beach or for an evening in a comfy armchair.