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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sandwich, MA Has Rich History

History Series - Part III

The home that is now our Cape Cod Bed and Breakfast, stands in the heart of historic Sandwich, MA. It was built in 1750 and owned by the Hall family until 1929. Hall family members participated in, and contributed to, the growth of Sandwich. They watched the ups and downs of the community from pre Revolutionary War to the Great Depression. The families’ fortunes may have followed the same course as the towns. It is unclear from the records left behind, but many kind words have been recorded about Hall family members by their peers. 

Hallstead c. 1860
The Village of Sandwich and the Halls suffered through the Revolutionary War’s  demands for men and supplies. No records exist to tell of the service of the Hall men, but all residents made many large contributions in the form of service time and/or money and goods contributed to sustain the Continental Army. Cape Cod and Sandwich were also disportionately impacted by the shipping disruptions and sea blockades of the War of 1812. Even in spite of all the difficulties, Sandwich continued to grow. The earliest ‘census’ records show in 1750 about 209 families with about 1254 members, and in 1790 about 326 families with about 1991 members. The first official Federal Census of 1820 shows another 25% growth to 452 families with 2484 members. 

During the hard war times and growth times, the Hall family lived at 118 Tupper Road, then called Franklin Street. In about 1830, Jonathan Hall (1799-1879), Elisha Hall’s son, may have expanded the original family ‘saltbox’ home into the Federal style home we have today. The Historical Commission and a subsequent owner of the house had considerable correspondence in the 1970’s about the degree to which the existing house includes the original 1750 structure. Some think it obvious that much of the chimney and remaining five fireplaces are original, and there are still many ancient hand-hewn timbers in the basement and roof providing key structural support. We know for sure that most of what we see today, including the first floor dental molding and wainscot, are from this 1830 expansion, as is the narrow pine flooring that was laid on top the wide board pumpkin pine still visible in some first floor rooms. A new ‘summer’ kitchen was also added to the rear of the house which today is our year round kitchen. Regardless of what was built when, our Sandwich Bed and Breakfast stands today as a tribute to the skills and craftsmanship of those early Hall family members. 

Christ Church
Sandwich Town Hall

 While Jonathan Hall was expanding his house, the neighborhood around him was also changing. In 1834, the completion of the new Sandwich Town Hall (just restored and rededicated on October 2) solidified our location as the heart of Sandwich. Other families followed the trend and built new Colonial and Federal style homes, including Ezra Goodwin’s 1815 Brick Federal at 100 Tupper (then Franklin Street). Also in 1830s, Seth Nye first built his Federal home a 2 Grove street across from Town Hall, followed shortly by his law office at 4 Grove Street. That office was almost immediately expanded, the left portion added for use by Nye’s sister. The magnificent First Church of Christ, around the corner from our Inn, was built in 1847 for the Calvinistic Congregational Society. Its’ image was on the cover of Elvis Presley best selling 1968 gospel album. All of these wonderful buildings are part of the Town Hall National Registry District and are a short walk of our Inn.

Dan'l Webster Inn
In the early 1800s, Jonathan Hall and his son, Charles Bascom Hall, may have past Dan’l Webster on Main Street by the Fressenden Tavern. Mr. Webster liked to come to Sandwich to fish and relax, and it is said he wrote some of his most famous orations in his room at the Tavern. Today, in his honor, we have the Dan’l Webster Inn, a Sandwich landmark in its own right and a direct descendent of that first Fressenden Tavern.

Our Sandwich Bed and Breakfast and all of Sandwich Village are part of the wonderful history of this great country. Come stay and experience it as we celebrate our 260th anniversary with specials and holiday packages.

Charlie Preus, the Innkeepers Assistant and Wine Steward at the 1750 Inn at Sandwich Center, Sandwich, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

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