Fun facts about the town of Eastham…

  • According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the population of Eastham is 4,956.
  • As of 2010, the average age of Eastham residents is 56.6, a whopping 17.7 years older than the average age in the rest of the state: 38.9 years.
  • Eastham occupies 25.7 square miles of land, making it comparable in size to Swansea, Massachusetts and Booneville, Mississippi.
  • In December of 1620, a group of explorers from the Mayflower, including Myles Standish, had their first encounter—a skirmish—with some Nauset Indians. The site is known today as First Encounter Beach.
  • After purchasing Nauset—land that consisted of today’s Eastham, Orleans, and Wellfleet—from the Indians in 1645, settlers from Plymouth incorporated the region as a town in 1651, and renamed it Eastham.
  • In 1614, Englishman Thomas Hunt kidnapped several Nauset Indians, from the Eastham/Orleans area, and sold them into slavery in Spain. One of the Indians, Squanto, made his way to England and then back to Massachusetts; he would go on to help the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony.
  • The gravesites of three Mayflower passengers—Constance Snow, Giles Hopkins, and Lieutenant Joseph Rogers—can be found at Eastham’s Cove Burying Ground.
  • In 1763, residents of the Billingsgate community separated from Eastham, establishing their own town and calling it Wellfleet; residents of Orleans followed suit in 1797, incorporating as their own town.
  • During the War of 1812, the towns of Eastham and Brewster paid ransom to the British, who had blockaded Cape Cod and demanded payments from a number of towns; Eastham paid $1,200, while Brewster paid $4,000.
  • Fifty-two men from Eastham served in The Civil War (1861-1865).
  • On November 17, 1879, the United States and France exchanged Morse code messages via cable, following the completion of an underwater, trans-Atlantic line. The American side was connected at a terminal in Eastham.
  • In February of 1914, the Italian ship Castagna wrecked off Eastham’s shores; U.S. Coast Guard crews rescued all but four of the crew, who froze to death.
  • Quincy native Henry Beston (1888-1968) published The Outermost House: A Year of Life On The Great Beach of Cape Cod in 1928, following a 12-month stay at his remote cottage in Eastham.
  • Ed Horton, Jr. (1916-2008), a native of Eastham, was part of the famed Doolittle Raid of Tokyo, Japan on April 18, 1942.
  • The remains of the SS James Longstreet are located about three and one-half miles off the coast of Eastham. Built during World War II, the lengthy Liberty ship was used after the war for target practice by the U.S. Navy and Air Force. The ship, also known as the “Target Ship,” was named after a general in the Confederate Army.
  • The town celebrated its 300th birthday in December of 1951. That year, Eastham students sent a shipment of candy to the children of East Ham, England.
  • In 1958, a group of locals formed The Highlanders, a popular community theater group.
  • The February Blizzard of 1978 was tough on New England, and Eastham, causing considerable damage at Coast Guard Beach, including to the parking lot and bathhouse.
  • The ‘outermost house’ that served as Henry Beston’s writing headquarters—a National Literary Landmark—was swept away in the Blizzard of ‘78.
  • Eastham’s town seal features an image of a Native American and the words “Nauset 1620.”
  • Eastham is known as the gateway to the Cape Cod National Seashore, which was established as a National Park in 1961.
  • Originally constructed as one of two lights in Chatham in 1808, ‘Twin Light,’ or Nauset Light as it would become known, was moved to Eastham in 1923 to replace ‘The Beacon,’ the last of ‘the three sisters’ lights.
  • Erosion over the next seven decades ate away at the land next to Nauset Light, leaving the structure in a precarious situation in 1996 with just 36 feet between its base and a 70-foot cliff face. In the fall of that year, the lighthouse was moved 336 feet to the west—and to safety; a commemorative re-lighting ceremony was held May 1, 1997.
  • Located within the National Seashore, Nauset Regional High School educates students from Eastham, Orleans, Wellfleet, Brewster, and other Cape towns.
  • History students at Nauset High have created a Witness to War website, which features interviews and photos of Cape Cod men and women who have served during wars the U.S. has fought in.
  • In addition to the lighthouse and high school, Eastham also has Nauset Pet Services and The Nauset House Guesthouse—both on Nauset Road—as well as Nauset Baptist Church and Crossfit Nauset; in Orleans, one can get breakfast, lunch, and coffee at Nauset Farms, eyeglasses at Nauset Optical, and a wetsuit at Nauset Surf Shop.
  • Cape Cod Potato Chips employs an image of Nauset Light in its company logo.
  • First Encounter Coffeehouse at 220 Samoset Road has been hosting acoustic folk music concerts since opening in the 1970s. Past performers include Les Sampou of Norwell, Jon Brooks, and Sparky & Rhonda Rucker.
  • Golfer Bobby Jones, a four-time winner of the U.S. Open and a six-time winner of the U.S. Amateur, once played at Cedar Bank Links, in the early years of the 20th Century.
  • Margaret Phillips of Eastham was named regional winner in the Cultural Center of Cape Cod’s 2013 poetry contest for her entry “Hiking in Truro, Massachusetts.”
  • Arthur Nickerson of Eastham was well known in town for his turnip growing proficiency. In November of 2013, the town’s annual turnip festival, sponsored by the Eastham Public Library, celebrated its 10th anniversary.
  • In years past, Eastham was considered the asparagus capital of the Cape.
  • Today, the town honors its produce heritage with an Asparagus Lane, a Cranberry Lane, an Apple Way, a Grove Road, and a Turnipfield Road.
  • Eastham also features uniquely named roads like Nutmeg Lane, Gingerplum Lane, Pilgrim Lane, and—just south of Wellfleet Harbor—Memory Lane.
  • Lastly, if you’re headed east in Eastham, it shouldn’t take long.

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Nauset Light Beach, Eastham

Nauset Light Beach, Eastham