Fun facts about the town of Bourne…

  • In 1884, Bourne was the last town to be incorporated in Barnstable County.
  • The distance between the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges—built in conjunction with the canal project—is 5.6 miles; according to, it is 62.43 miles from the Sagamore Bridge to Provincetown.
  • At the time it was completed in 1935, the Cape Cod Canal Railroad Bridge was the longest vertical lift railroad bridge in the world at 544 feet.
  • According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Bourne has a population of 19,754, making it the Cape’s fifth-largest town.
  • Bourne occupies approximately 52.9 square miles, making it comparable in size to the massive Denver International Airport.
  • In 2011-2012, Bourne High School’s football team—the Canalmen—went 13-0 on the gridiron and captured its first Super Bowl title.
  • Opened in 1966, Upper Cape Tech on Sandwich Road offers instruction for high school students in many vocations, including carpentry, cosmetology, and engineering.
  • Established in 1891, the Massachusetts Maritime Academy is the second oldest state maritime academy in the United States; SUNY Maritime College in the Bronx is the oldest.
  • The Massachusetts Maritime Academy first admitted female students in 1978.
  • 332 students received diplomas during Massachusetts Maritime’s graduation ceremony in June of 2013; Sebastian Junger, author of The Perfect Storm, delivered the keynote address.
  • In the film, Captain Phillips, Tom Hanks portrays Captain Richard Phillips, a 1979 graduate of Massachusetts Maritime, whose ship, Maersk Alabama, was hijacked by Somali pirates on April 12, 2009; he was rescued by the U.S. Navy four days later. The ship’s first mate, Shane Murphy, is also a graduate of the class of 2001.
  • On August 12, 2009, the Bourne Braves defeated the Cotuit Kettleers, 5–1, to win their first ever Cape Cod Baseball League Championship.
  • Known to many local fans as ‘YOUUUUK’, former Red Sox third baseman, Kevin Youkilis, played for Bourne in 2000.
  • The 2014 Cape League All Star Game will be played Saturday, July 26 at Doran Park, home of the Bourne Braves.
  • The Gray Gables Station in Bourne was a private railroad stop used by President Grover Cleveland from 1893 to 1896; in those years—the president’s second term—Cleveland had his “Summer White House” on the Cape.
  • The Cape Cod Military Museum—currently housed at the Jonathan Bourne Historical Center—displays exhibits commemorating contributions Americans, particularly those from southeastern Massachusetts, made during the U.S. conflicts of the 20th century.
  • Joint Base Cape Cod (JBCC), formerly the Massachusetts Military Reservation (renamed in 2013), occupies 22,000 acres in Bourne, Sandwich, Mashpee, and Falmouth. The facility consists of the Otis Air National Guard Base, Camp Edwards (Army National Guard), and the Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod and is also home to more than 30 other tenants.
  • On September 11, 2001, the base was informed at 8:34 a.m. that American Airlines Flight 11 had been hijacked; in response, two pilots in F-15 fighter jets were scrambled and flew to New York City in an attempt to curtail the hijackers’ plans.
  • Within JBCC, Otis Air National Guard Base gets its name from Lieutenant Frank “Jesse” Otis, a pilot, flight surgeon, and Boston City Hospital surgeon, who was killed while on a training mission with the 101st Observation Squadron in 1937.
  • In the spring of 1902, and one day after confessing to the murder of Mary Gibbs in Cataumet—and 30 other people—Jane Toppan was found not guilty by reason of insanity. It is believed Toppan poisoned Gibbs to death, as well as Alden and Mary Davis, Genevieve Gordon, and possibly others. Following the trial, Toppan lived at the Taunton Asylum until her death in 1938.
  • Owned and operated by Cape Rail, Inc., the Cape Cod Central Railroad hosts dinner, murder- mystery, and other themed train journeys between Buzzards Bay, Sandwich, and Hyannis.
  • Visitors can take Hy-Line Cruise boat tours of the canal in spring and summer; the tours depart from Onset.
  • After 44 years in Buzzards Bay Park, the 45th annual Bourne Scallop Festival in September of 2014 will be held in East Falmouth—at the Cape Cod Fairgrounds.
  • The Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne was dedicated in October of 1980.
  • Buzzards Bay got its name from colonists in the area, who saw a large bird they called a buzzard near its shores; the bird was likely an osprey, or turkey vulture.
  • Harvard University once owned Amrita Island in Cataumet and used the site as a speaking retreat for professors; in Sanskrit, the term ‘Amrita’ means an ambrosia, or nectar, that gives immortality.
  • An oil spill on April 27, 2003 from Tank Barge Bouchard No. 120 killed many birds and destroyed many shellfish in Buzzards Bay. After striking rocks off Westport, the ship leaked an estimated 22,000 to 98,000 gallons of fuel into the waterway.
  • In 1627, settlers of Plymouth Colony built the Aptucxet Trading Post (on land located in Bourne today) as a place to trade with Native Americans and the Dutch. In August of 1635, The Great Colonial Hurricane—perhaps the most powerful ever to hit the region—brought 21-foot tides to Buzzards Bay and destroyed the trading post.
  • A replica of the Aptucxet Trading Post was built on the foundation of the original structure, which was excavated during the 1920s.
  • The Bourne Ultimatum starring Matt Damon does not have any apparent connection to the town of Bourne, Massachusetts.
  • However, Robert Ludlum’s, The Bourne Retribution, was listed as a ‘new arrival’ at the Jonathan Bourne Public Library in December of 2013.
  • The National Marine Life Center on Main Street is a rehab and release facility for stranded sea turtles and seals. Plans are underway to build a new hospital that will allow the organization to also care for dolphins, porpoises, and manatees.
  • Founded in 1979, Cape Cod LIFE Publications had an office in Cataumet from 1991 to 1995, and Pocasset from 1995 to 2004.
  • The Cape Cod Canal celebrates its 100th birthday in 2014.
  • Ships can save 162 miles of travel by sailing through the canal rather than traveling around the peninsula.
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Street Scene, Buzzards Bay, Bourne, Mass

Street Scene, Buzzards Bay, Bourne, Mass