The 1930s saw an upsurge of tourist maps. Part of this phenomenon was because Cape Cod had begun its evolution into a tourist destination, and part of this was because artists on the Cape began making and selling tourist maps as a way to earn some extra income. “These maps were basically addressing the interest that people vacationing had in taking something from the local place back with them,” Zaremba says. “These [tourist maps] are a little bit advertising and a little bit tapping into the mystique of what Cape Cod is all about.”
Created by Walter M. Gaffney, this particular tourist map features each town rendered in its own color, making it easy for vacationers to recognize the different towns and show their vacation destinations to their friends at home. The detailing on this map includes an elaborate border of crabs, seashells, the Mayflower shown near Truro, ships, and a whale in surrounding waters, while gulls survey the scene. The map also notes each town’s population in both 1890 and 1930, revealing a countywide increase of 2,000 people over 40 years. Amidst the details of this antique map, this was a harbinger of things to come.
Ashley Owen is a freelance writer and former editorial intern for Cape Cod Life Publications.
Maps of Antiquity: Both Land and Sea Through July 15
The Captain Bangs Hallet House in Yarmouthport hosts an exhibit of Cape and Islands maps from Maps of Antiquity. Charles Adams, president of the Historical Society of Old Yarmouth, asked Zaremba and Jeanloz to put together the exhibit because, he says, antique maps are essential to preserving the historical nature of Cape Cod. “Early maps educate people [and help] to preserve the heritage of [places like] the town of Yarmouth and Cape Cod as a whole,” he says. “Mapping was very important, especially for maritime use . . . Maps give you such information as what houses existed at that particular time as well as what certain important objects of the day were.” The house is located on Strawberry Lane Common, just off of Route 6A in Yarmouthport. Visit www.hsoy.org or call (508) 362-3021 for more information.
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