"Bourne is the Oldest Town on the Cape, but It's Also T he Youngest..."
The Town of Bourne is a medium-sized rural community at the gateway to Cape Cod. It is the oldest town on the Cape. It is also the newest. It broke away from Sandwich in 1884.
Bourne was first settled in 1640 as a part of the town of Sandwich. It was officially incorporated in 1884 as the last town to be incorporated in Barnstable County. It was named for Jonathan Bourne, whose father, Richard Bourne, served in the Massachusetts General Court at the time of settlement, as well as helping to found the settlement in Mashpee. The town lies at the northeast corner of Buzzards Bay, and is the site of Aptucxet Trading Post, the nation's oldest store. It was founded by the Pilgrims in 1627 at a site halfway between the two rivers which divided the Cape from the rest of the state - Scusset Creek and Manomet River. They were only 3/4 of a mile apart at one point. It was out of this location that the Cape Cod Canal was formed, in order to save time and lives by eliminating the need to sail around the hazardous eastern shores of Cape Cod. Because of the canal, Bourne is now considered the "first" town on the Cape, as all three bridges (the Bourne, Sagamore and the Cape Cod Canal Railroad Bridge all are located within the town. Also, due to the Canal, the town is divided, the majority of land lying on the Cape.
Bourne is also the site of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, a maritime college located at the southern mouth of the canal on the western shore. Otis Air National Guard Base is also partially located in the town. It recently installed a 280 foot wind turbine to generate electricity.
The Cape Cod Canal bisects the community, with both the Bourne and the Sagamore bridges and the lift railroad bridge all located in Bourne. The canal is well known for its superb sport fishing, scenic bike rides and for carrying ships flying the flags of all nations. The Bourne Scenic Park campground is located beneath the Bourne Bridge and is a perfect location for those seeking to enjoy the canal.
Myles Standish may have been the first to propose a canal along Scusset Creek and the Manomet River.
The railroad arrived in 1848.
ut the Canal didn't get built until 1914 after many fits and starts. August Belmont, a New York fianciar, put up millions to build it. He thought he would make money on tolls, but opening day produced a measly $51 in tolls.
The United States finally bought it in 1928 for only $6,000,000. The Belmonts lost over $7,000,000 and went bankrupt.
Bourne has numerous quiet harbors and inlets for boating and swimming, the shell fishing in the area is particularly enticing. Bourne is a quiet community without the summer tourist crush experienced by some of the other Cape communities. The annual Bourne Scallop Festival, which is held in early September each year brings visitors from across the nation.
Beaches are rather sparce in Bourne.
Public BeachesTown Beaches have resident parking only.
Sagamore BeachGray Gables, PocassetMonument Beach, PocassetBarlows Landing, PocassetPatiussetElectric Avenue, Buttermilk BayGilder Road BeachCataumet Harbor (off Squeteague Harbor Road)Scenic Park
Return from Bourne to Cod Fish Recipes
Bourne to Wood