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2018 Annual Guide: Yarmouth

Duncan Oliver Yarmouth

Duncan Oliver. Photo by Paige Biviano

A day in the life of: Duncan Oliver, local historian and member of the  Historical Society of Old Yarmouth

By Allyson Plessner

Yarmouth is a town guided and characterized by history. All it takes is a walk down “Captains’ Mile”—a winding stretch of road, shaded by grand trees, that takes visitors back in time past stately Colonial homes—to make it obvious that this area is of remarkable significance. Perhaps no one understands this better than Duncan Oliver, who has dedicated his days to the loving preservation of Yarmouth’s history.

Oliver and his wife, Carol, retired to Yarmouth from Easton in 2000, and he was immediately recruited to be a part of the Historical Society of Old Yarmouth. “As the moving truck was backing in to unload our things, the lady from across the street came over and asked if we wanted to be a part of the historical society. She got us before we even had our stuff moved in,” he explains with a laugh.

Oliver spends much of his time among the sea of books, files and vintage photos that creep up the walls and cover the desks in the old cobbler shop that the historical society has adopted as its headquarters. “It’s nice when people who know a lot about the town want to make sure other people know about it too,” says Oliver. “The more you educate people about their town, the more they’ll like and appreciate it.” A former high school principal and history teacher, Oliver’s passion for sharing his wealth of knowledge has brought him all the way to the White House when his school was recognized as one of the best in the nation, and he now gives back to his community by teaching various classes on Cape Cod history.

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