Fun facts about the town of Barnstable…

  • Barnstable is Cape Cod’s second-oldest town after Sandwich.
  • According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Barnstable is the largest town on Cape Cod in both population (45,193) and geographic area (76.3 square miles).
  • Constructed in 1644, Sturgis Library in Barnstable is the oldest building housing a public library in the United States.
  • Built in 1690, the jail in Barnstable Village—Barnstable’s Old Gaol—is the oldest wooden jail in America. Rescued pirates from the wreck of the Whydah in 1717 were held at the jail prior to their trial in Boston. The structure has not served as a jail since 1820.
  • The village of Marstons Mills was built up around Benjamin Marston and the wooden grist mill he operated in the area, beginning in 1738; the mill was productive until the late 1880s.
  • During the early 1900s, the village of Cotuit was known as “Little Harvard” because of the number of Harvard faculty members and intellectuals who summered there.
  • The Cape Cod Times newspaper first published in 1936, known then as the Cape Cod Standard Times; today, the paper’s office is on Main Street in Hyannis.
  • In 1960, the state created the Steamship Authority, to improve transportation to the islands.
  • Founded in 1961, Cape Cod Community College—known as 4C’s—offers many degree programs today as well as a wide range of courses including documentary filmmaking, American Sign Language, and fire science.
  • Each semester, more than 4,000 students are enrolled in classes at 4Cs.
  • The mission of The John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum on Main Street is to preserve the legacy of the late president, who had his summer White House in Hyannisport. On November 22, 2013, the nation observed the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination.
  • Founded in 1921, the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce in Hyannis has more than 1,400 members and annually sponsors Quahog Day and other events.
  • Established in 1934, Four Seas Ice Cream in Centerville is well known for its great flavors including cantaloupe, frozen pudding, and—Jackie Kennedy’s favorite—fresh peach.
  • Founded in 1938 as a small hamburger eatery with a few counter stools, Wimpy’s Seafood Café in Osterville has 200 seats today and serves about 250,000 meals each year.
  • Sandy Terraces Nudist Campground was established in Marstons Mills during the 1940s.
  • The Cape Cod Melody Tent opened in Hyannis in 1950 as the Cape Cod Music Circus; today, regular acts include The Beach Boys, Bonnie Raitt, Chicago, and Martina McBride.
  • Brian Shortsleeve founded Cape Cod LIFE magazine in 1979; the company’s first office was in Osterville, while future headquarters were in Cotuit, Cataumet, Pocasset, Hyannis, and—in 2014—Mashpee.
  • Founded in Hyannis in 1980, Cape Cod Potato Chips offers a variety of flavors including original, sea salt and vinegar, and sweet & spicy jalapeno.
  • In 2014, Alberto’s Ristorante in Hyannis celebrates 30 years in the business of serving fine Northern Italian cuisine.
  • In 2013, The Cotuit Kettleers captured the Cape Cod Baseball League title, sweeping the Orleans Firebirds.
  • Centerville Pie Company was featured on Oprah’s annual ‘Favorite Things’ episode in 2010…
  • Well-known Cotuit alumni include Tim Salmon, Will Clark, Mark Belhorn, Joe Girardi, and former New Mexico Governor, Bill Richardson.
  • Catcher Jason Varitek played for the Hyannis Mets and in 1993 was voted league MVP; he later helped the Red Sox win World Series titles in 2004 and 2007.
  • Johnny Wright—manager of The New Kids on the Block, The Backstreet Boys, The Jonas Brothers, Britney Spears, and Menudo, among others—was born in Hyannis in 1960.
  • Barnstable High is the largest high school on the Cape and its Class of 2013 numbered 366 students.
  • From 1993 to 2013, the Barnstable High’s Girls volleyball team won 16 Division 1 state championships, including the 2013 crown.
  • In 2008, Warner Brothers filmed High Drama, Against All OZ, at Barnstable High School; the project followed the production of a high school musical—The Wizard of Oz—from start to finish and involved 360 hours of filming.
  • The sixth runner up in American Idol’s ninth season (2010), Siobhan Magnus, graduated from Barnstable High in 2008.
  • Actor Neal McDonough, who starred on ABC’s Desperate Housewives, graduated from Barnstable High School in 1984.
  • Barnstable High began to offer Mandarin as a foreign language in 2012-2013; this year, 61 students are studying the language, and the school also has a Chinese club.
  • Founded in 1976, Cape Cod Academy is a private, pre-K through grade 12 school in Osterville; the academy hosts many international students, including youngsters from China, Haiti, Lebanon, Russia, and Japan.
  • The Sturgis Charter Public School in Hyannis gets its name from William F. Sturgis (1782-1863), a Barnstable native who was a successful sea merchant, a longtime member of the Massachusetts House and Senate, and a father of six.
  • Formerly a summer vacation spot for the nation’s rich and famous, the East Bay Lodge of Osterville was torn down in 1998; the site is now home to condominiums.
  • Middle Pond in Barnstable is centrally located between Hamblin Pond and Mystic Lake.
  • According to legend, in the late 1600s Scottish sailor Captain William Kidd may have buried treasure on Grand Island in Oyster Harbors. Kidd, who was later executed for piracy and murder charges, had allegedly left the treasure to be guarded and haunted by the witch, Hannah Screecham.

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Main Street Hyannis, looking east, toward the depot