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Hours of Gold, Hours of Lead

Parting Clouds

Falmouth’s legendary Highfield and Tanglewood Halls set the stage for the rise—and tragic fall—of the famous Beebe family.

Photos Courtesy of Falmouth Historical Society,

Today, many sights around Falmouth preserve the Beebes’ love for the community. The trees surrounding the Village Green were a gift of Mary Louisa Beebe; St. Barnabas Church on West Main Street was erected with donations from several Beebe children; Beebe Woods has remained pristine for the public’s enjoyment, and Highfield Hall remains a  beautifully restored cultural landmark enjoyed by the entire Cape community.

Highfield almost met the same fate as its sister mansion, Tanglewood, which was demolished in 1977. In 1994, bulldozers were preparing to tear down the considerably neglected house, which had become the scene of illicit high school parties and a refuge for the homeless, when a group of concerned citizens formed the Friends of Highfield and gathered over 5,000 signatures to have the house saved. In the years that followed, a legion of volunteers and professionals restored Highfield to its former glory.

“The restoration and rebirth of Highfield Hall has been a labor of love for our community,” says Barbara Milligan, executive director of Historic Highfield, Inc. “The story is truly extraordinary—not only the fascinating history of the Beebe family, but the three-decade long fight to save the building and the passionate effort of local townspeople to make the restoration possible. Highfield Hall is an example of what one community can accomplish when supremely and unswervingly determined.”

All the passions of the ill-fated Beebe family—history, music, art, and nature—are still cherished every month at Highfield Hall where concerts, art exhibits, nature walks, lectures, and children’s programs are enjoyed year round. This place, once a site of stunning loss, has become a timeless gift, enjoyed with pleasure.

For information on Highfield Hall, go to highfieldhall.org.

Matthew Nilsson is Special Sections Editor

at Cape Cod Life Publications.



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