Fun facts about the town of Truro…

  • Of all the Cape’s towns, Truro has the smallest population. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the population of year-round residents is 2,003. About 65% of Truro homes are seasonally occupied.
  • Truro occupies approximately 26.3 square miles, making it comparable in size to Arlington County, Virginia and Gozo, a Maltese island in the Mediterranean.
  • The town is bounded on the east by the Atlantic Ocean; on the south by Wellfleet; on the west by Cape Cod Bay, and on the north by Provincetown. In a straight line across Cape Cod Bay, Truro is 57 miles from Boston.
  • Truro was incorporated in 1709; the town was named after the village of Truro in Cornwall, England.
  • Truro is considered one of the least commercial and developed towns on the Cape; more than half of Truro’s land belongs to the Cape Cod National Seashore, which was established in 1961.
  • North Truro is home to the Cape’s first, and tallest, lighthouse; built in 1797, Cape Cod Lighthouse—a.k.a. Highland Light—is still in operation today.
  • Truro has no fast-food restaurants or stoplights.
  • On July 16, 2009, Truro celebrated its 300th birthday; the festivities included a town-wide treasure hunt, a Taste of Truro gala, and a tercentennial parade.
  • Truro was once called Pamet by the Payomet Indians. An English sea captain, Martin Pring, who briefly visited Cape Cod’s shores in 1603, described the Payomets as healthy, cheerful, and self-reliant people, in contrast to the prevailing European attitude of the time that Indians were savages.
  • After reaching Cape Cod’s shores in 1620, the Mayflower anchored in what would become Provincetown Harbor. After signing the Mayflower Compact, some of the Pilgrims went ashore and camped for a night in the wilderness. The explorers tramped through “bough and bush and under hills and valleys that tore our very armour to pieces,” according to Mourt’s Relation, a journal kept by Pilgrims William Bradford and Edward Winslow.
  • Pilgrim Springs in Truro is the site where the Mayflower pilgrims, led by Captain Myles Standish, had their first drink of North American fresh water. Standish’s nickname was ‘Captain Shrimp’; Standish is also the 10th great grandfather of Susan Dewey, Cape Cod LIFE’s editor.
  • The Reverend John Avery was the first minister in Truro, serving in the role from 1710 to 1754; he was also a doctor, farmer, and blacksmith.
  • In 1718, Truro constructed a town “pound” in the village’s center that contained stocks and a whipping post for those who disobeyed strict civil and religious rules.
  • Truro was once called ‘Dangerfield’ because of its proximity to a treacherous coastal location where countless shipwrecks occurred.
  • One of the most famous Cape Cod shipwrecks was that of the HMS Somerset, a British man-of-war, in 1778. Following the Revolutionary War wreck, triumphant Truro townspeople took part in the march of more than 400 British sailors to Boston. For hundreds of years, portions of the ship’s hull have been uncovered by storms.
  • By the early 1800s, Truro was a thriving community with an economy based on fishing, shipbuilding, and salt works powered by windmills. Experienced whaling men from Truro were recruited by early Nantucketers to teach the islanders how to catch whales and ‘blackfish.’
  • On October 3, 1841, 57 men from Truro died in a storm at sea on seven ships; they are remembered with a memorial at Truro’s congregational church.
  • Truro resident, John Wilson, fought in Company A 58th Regiment during The Civil War; Wilson wrote about his experiences in a Confederate prison camp in a book titled Seven Months in a Rebel Prison.
  • The railroad came to Truro—via the 14-mile Wellfleet to Provincetown extension—in 1873, making the town more accessible to visitors and tourists.
  • Writer Henry David Thoreau referred to Truro as the “wrist of Cape Cod.”
  • Following the Portland Gale in November of 1898, debris and bodies from the Portland washed ashore near Peaked Hill Livesaving station in Truro; the Truro Historical Museum still has some of the shipwreck’s items in its collection.
  • In 1920, residents of Truro performed a reenactment of the Pilgrims’ landing in the town on the 300th anniversary of its occurrence; 3,000 attendees paid $.50 to see the show, titled “The Tercententiary Pilgrim Pageant,” and the funds helped pay for the town’s new Pilgrim Library.
  • In 1996, Highland Light was moved back 453 feet from cliffs facing Nantucket Sound.
  • Cranberry production was at its height in Truro in 1953; it ceased almost completely within the next 10 years.
  • American artist Edward Hopper (1882-1967), who painted Nighthawks and numerous other highly regarded paintings, had a cottage on the dunes in Truro.
  • Beach plums—Prunus maritima—can be found in abundance in Truro; though too tart to eat, the fruit is used in Cape Cod jellies and jams.
  • Truro Vineyards of Cape Cod grows chardonnay, cabernet franc, and merlot grapes for 13 different wines on a five-acre farm. The vineyards—a favorite spot for weddings and special events—also holds wine tastings and guided tours.
  • The 115th Christmas Bird Count will be held in December 2014 in Truro, Buzzards Bay, Martha’s Vineyard, and other locales in North America.
  • Truro is home to America’s oldest golf course, Highland Links, which was built in 1892; the course features nine scenic holes perched on windswept cliffs, many with stunning water views.
  • In the summer of 1931, Days’ Cottages and a self-service market opened along the shore in North Truro at the edge of Provincetown; early prices at Days’ Cottages were $5 per night and $100 per month.
  • Today, Days’ Cottages are a haven for artists and writers; the cottages—such as Zinnia, Tulip, and Peony—each get their name from a flower.
  • Truro is one of just two Cape Cod towns that does not have a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee shop; the other is Provincetown.
  • The North Truro-based radio station, 102.3 FM “The Dunes,” first broadcast in 2007. The station plays classic hits by Elvis, Madonna, and Donna Summer as well as its most requested group—The Beatles. The Dunes’ Saturday morning disc jockeys, Suzanne Tonaire and Ron Robin have more than 50 years of on-air experience.
  • Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2013; the center is an internationally recognized artistic mecca offering workshops and lectures in painting, printmaking, sculpture, and writing in a scenic setting within walking distance of Cape Cod Bay.
  • At the conclusion of the film Men in Black II, Tommy Lee Jones’ character, Agent K, retired and became a postal worker in Truro.

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Highland Light and Wireless Station, North Truro, Cape Cod, Mass

Highland Light and Wireless Station, North Truro, Cape Cod, Mass