Nobska Lighthouse, Falmouth
Location in Barnstable County and the state of Massachusetts.
|• Type||Representative town meeting|
| • Town
|Julian M. Suso|
|• Total||54.4 sq mi (141.0 km2)|
|• Land||44.1 sq mi (114.1 km2)|
|• Water||10.3 sq mi (26.8 km2)|
|Elevation||10 ft (3 m)|
|• Density||715/sq mi (276.2/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||Eastern (UTC-4)|
|Area code(s)||508 / 774|
|GNIS feature ID||0618253|
Falmouth // is a town in Barnstable County, Massachusetts, United States; Barnstable County is coextensive with Cape Cod. The population was 31,532 at the 2010 census, making Falmouth the second-largest municipality on Cape Cod (behind only Barnstable). The terminal for the Steamship Authority ferries to Martha's Vineyard is located in the village of Woods Hole in Falmouth. Woods Hole also contains several scientific organizations such as the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), the Woods Hole Research Center, National Marine Fisheries Aquarium, and the scientific institutions' various museums.
For geographic and demographic information on specific parts of the town of Falmouth, please see the articles on East Falmouth, Falmouth Village, North Falmouth, Teaticket, West Falmouth, and Woods Hole. Falmouth also encompasses the villages of Hatchville and Waquoit, which are not census-designated places and fall within the village of East Falmouth based on postal service.
Falmouth was first settled by English colonists in 1660 and was officially incorporated in 1686. Bartholomew Gosnold named the settlement for Falmouth, Cornwall, England, his home port. Early principal activities were farming, salt works, shipping, whaling, and sheep husbandry, which was very popular due to the introduction of Merino sheep and the beginnings of water-powered mills that could process the wool. In 1837, Falmouth averaged about 50 sheep per square mile.
Falmouth saw brief action in the War of 1812, when the area around Falmouth Heights, on its southern coast, was bombarded by several British frigates and ships of the line, and Massachusetts militia hastily entrenched themselves on the beaches to repulse a possible British landing which never came. By 1872, the train had come to Falmouth and Woods Hole, and some of the first summer homes were established. By the late 19th century, cranberries were being cultivated and strawberries were being raised for the Boston market. Large-scale dairying was tried in the early 20th century in interior regions. After the improvement in highways, and thanks in part to the heavy use of neighboring Otis Air National Guard Base during World War II, population growth increased significantly. Large homebuilding booms occurred in the 1970s, followed by others in the 1980s and 1990s.
In the late 1800s, after railroad service was established between Boston and Cape Cod, James Madison Beebe bought over 700 acres (280 ha) and built Highfield Hall, which is now a museum, and much of the land is preserved as Beebe Woods.
In 1965, Robert Manry sailed from Falmouth aboard his 13.5-foot (4.1 m) sailboat and reached Falmouth, England, 78 days later.
The town of Falmouth has seven historic districts, including four on the National Register of Historic Places:
The other three historic districts are in Woods Hole, Davisville, and Quissett.
In addition to the historic districts, Falmouth has ten individual sites on the National Register:
- Central Fire Station
- Crowell-Bourne Farm
- Elnathan Nye House
- Falmouth Pumping Station
- Josiah Tobey House
- Lawrence Academy
- Nobska Light
- Poor House and Methodist Cemetery
- Teaticket School
- Woods Hole School
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 54.4 square miles (141.0 km2), of which 44.1 square miles (114.1 km2) is land and 10.3 square miles (26.8 km2), or 19.04%, is water. Most of Falmouth, like the rest of Cape Cod, sits on glacial sands composed of glacial outwash deposits. However, the soil in the southwestern part of the town, consisting of moraine deposits, is more rocky and dense, like the rest of New England, and many glacial erratics are scattered about, dropped by the retreating glaciers. The climate is temperate marine. There is no exposed bedrock. Rainfall is evenly distributed throughout the year and averages 2 to 3 in (50 – 75 mm) per month.
Falmouth lies on the southwestern tip of Cape Cod. It is bordered by Bourne and Sandwich to the north, Mashpee to the east, Vineyard Sound to the south, and Buzzards Bay to the west. At its closest point, Falmouth is approximately 560 yards (510 m) from Nonamesset Island, the easternmost island of the town of Gosnold and the Elizabeth Islands. It is approximately 3 1⁄3 miles (5.4 km) north-northwest of Martha's Vineyard, the closest land to the island. Falmouth is approximately 14 miles (23 km) south of the Bourne Bridge, 22 miles (35 km) west of Barnstable, and 77 miles (124 km) south-southeast of Boston.
Falmouth's topography is similar to the rest of Cape Cod's, with many small ponds, creeks and inlets surrounded by the pines and oaks of the Cape and often rocky beachfront. Falmouth's southern shore is notable for a series of ponds and rivers spaced very closely together, all of which travel some distance into the town. These include, from west to east, Falmouth Inner Harbor, Little Pond, Great Pond (which leads to the Dexter and Coonamesset rivers), Green Pond, Bourne's Pond, Eel Pond (which leads to the Childs River), and Waquoit Bay, which lies along the Mashpee town line. The Buzzards Bay side of the town is primarily bays divided by necks, peninsulas connected to land by isthmi. The largest inlet is Megansett Cove along the Bourne town line. The Buzzards Bay shore of Falmouth is punctuated by a number of hamlets, including, from north to south, Megansett, New Silver Beach, Old Silver, Chappaquoit, Sippewisset, Quissett, and Woods Hole.
Falmouth's main road is Massachusetts Route 28. As one of two major east-west routes on the Cape, Route 28 is regularly congested, with minimal room for widening opportunities. Route 151 also runs through Falmouth.
Falmouth is home to The Woods Hole, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority. Daily ferry service brings tourists, residents and supplies from Woods Hole to Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard. It is the main ferry line between the Vineyard and the mainland (as Nantucket is further east, its main line leaves Hyannis). A seasonal ferry, the Island Queen, runs from Falmouth Harbor to Martha's Vineyard.
The Massachusetts Coastal Railroad provides rail freight service to North Falmouth, where a spur runs into Otis Air Base to serve a trash transfer station. Also, as of a June 25, 2009 capecodonline.com article, the company plans to re-extend passenger railroad service to the town, complete with dinner and tourist trains, though this will also be only to North Falmouth, due to the fact that the other 8 miles (13 km) of railroad track had been replaced with the current Shining Sea Bikeway. On November 21, 2009, North Falmouth saw its first passenger train in at least 12 years. The nearest inter-city (Amtrak) passenger rail stations are Providence and Boston's South Station. The Middleborough/Lakeville and Kingston/Route 3 stations of the MBTA's commuter rail system provide the closest service to Boston.
Falmouth is also served by the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority bus routes.
|* = population estimate.
Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.
As of the census of 2000, there were 32,660 people, 13,859 households, and 8,980 families residing in the town. The population density was 738.2 inhabitants per square mile (285.0/km2). There were 20,055 housing units at an average density of 453.3 per square mile (175.0/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 93.39% White, 1.82% Black or African American, 0.51% Native American, 0.92% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 1.44% from other races, and 1.91% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.28% of the population.
There were 13,859 households out of which 24.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.0% were married couples living together, 10.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.2% were non-families. 29.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.84.
In the town the population was spread out with 20.7% under the age of 18, 4.8% from 18 to 24, 24.5% from 25 to 44, 27.5% from 45 to 64, and 22.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45 years. For every 100 females there were 87.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.9 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $48,191, and the median income for a family was $57,422. Males had a median income of $41,797 versus $28,867 for females. The per capita income for the town was $27,548. About 4.5% of families and 6.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.8% of those under age 18 and 6.2% of those age 65 or over.
Falmouth is represented in the Massachusetts House of Representatives as a part of two districts, the Third Barnstable (which also includes portions of Barnstable, Bourne and Mashpee), and the Barnstable, Dukes and Nantucket District, which includes all of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. The town is represented in the Massachusetts Senate as a part of the Plymouth and Barnstable district, which includes Bourne, Kingston, Pembroke, Plymouth, Plympton, Sandwich and portions of Barnstable. The town is patrolled by the Seventh (Bourne) Barracks of Troop D of the Massachusetts State Police.
Falmouth is governed by the representative town meeting form of government, led by a board of selectmen. The town operates its own police and fire departments, with a central police station and five fire stations. The town's central library, recently reopened after renovations, is located downtown. There are branches in North and East Falmouth, and private libraries in West Falmouth and Woods Hole. There are seven post offices in town for the six ZIP codes, although several overlap and the main office handles the majority of the work. Falmouth is also the site of Falmouth Hospital, which serves the Upper Cape region.
Falmouth's public school system serves about 4,500 students yearly. There are four schools, East Falmouth, Mullen-Hall, North Falmouth, and Teaticket, which serve the elementary school population, from pre-kindergarten to fourth grade. The Morse Pond Middle School serves grades five and six, while the Lawrence Junior High School serves grades seven and eight. Falmouth High School covers grades 9-12. (Prior to 1974 the 9-12 grades were in the Lawrence building and known as Lawrence High School.) FHS's athletics teams are nicknamed the Clippers, and their colors are maroon and white. They compete in the Atlantic Coast League, having moved recently from the Old Colony League. Their chief rival is nearby Barnstable High School. The public schools are supported in part by the Volunteers in Public Schools (VIPS), various PTO associations, the Falmouth Scholarship Association, the newly created Falmouth Education Foundation (FEF), and the Woods Hole Science Technology Partnership.
Falmouth is also the home of two private schools: Falmouth Academy, a private school which serves grades 7 through 12; and Heritage Christian Academy, a pre-kindergarten through eighth grade school which is affiliated with the Assemblies of God. Falmouth high school students may also choose to attend the Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical High School in Bourne free of charge. Resident students can also attend Sturgis Charter Public School in Hyannis also free of charge, pending academic acceptance.
Sports and recreation
Falmouth is the home of its namesake Falmouth Road Race, an annual race started in 1973 that draws over 10,000 runners from all over the world. The race runs 7 miles (11 km) from the village of Woods Hole to the Heights Beach in downtown Falmouth.
Falmouth is also home to the College Light Opera Company, which performs nine shows every summer at the historic Highfield Theatre. Productions began in 1969 and have become a staple of the Falmouth summer season.
Falmouth holds a yearly Christmas parade in the month of December that runs through main street of downtown Falmouth.
- Peter Abrahams, author
- Casey Affleck, actor
- Katharine Lee Bates, author of "America the Beautiful"
- Jamaal Branch, former NFL football player for the New Orleans Saints
- Steve Cishek, relief pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals
- Jim Connors, radio personality (d. Feb. 24, 1987)
- Colleen Coyne, 1998 Olympic gold medalist in US women's ice hockey
- Jessica Dubroff, 7-year-old pilot trainee who died in a plane crash
- Jacob Sloat Fassett, U.S. congressman from Elmira, New York; Fassett's Point in West Falmouth and the town of Fassett, Quebec, are named after him
- Melissa Febos, writer and ex-dominatrix
- Frederick E. Olmsted, WPA muralist and sculpture then later scientist
- Bill Polian, president of the Indianapolis Colts, spends his summers in Falmouth
- "Julian Suso to start as new Town Manager". Falmouth Patch.com. AOL Inc. December 1, 2010. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
- "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Falmouth town, Barnstable County, Massachusetts". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved December 4, 2013.
- Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 123.
- Town of Falmouth, Historical Commission
- Town of Falmouth, Historic Districts Commission
- "TOTAL POPULATION (P1), 2010 Census Summary File 1". American FactFinder, All County Subdivisions within Massachusetts. United States Census Bureau. 2010.
- "Massachusetts by Place and County Subdivision - GCT-T1. Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
- "1990 Census of Population, General Population Characteristics: Massachusetts" (PDF). US Census Bureau. December 1990. Table 76: General Characteristics of Persons, Households, and Families: 1990. 1990 CP-1-23. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
- "1980 Census of the Population, Number of Inhabitants: Massachusetts" (PDF). US Census Bureau. December 1981. Table 4. Populations of County Subdivisions: 1960 to 1980. PC80-1-A23. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
- "1950 Census of Population" (PDF). 1: Number of Inhabitants. Bureau of the Census. 1952. Section 6, Pages 21-10 and 21-11, Massachusetts Table 6. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1930 to 1950. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
- "1920 Census of Population" (PDF). Bureau of the Census. Number of Inhabitants, by Counties and Minor Civil Divisions. Pages 21-5 through 21-7. Massachusetts Table 2. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1920, 1910, and 1920. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
- "1890 Census of the Population" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. Pages 179 through 182. Massachusetts Table 5. Population of States and Territories by Minor Civil Divisions: 1880 and 1890. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
- "1870 Census of the Population" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1872. Pages 217 through 220. Table IX. Population of Minor Civil Divisions, &c. Massachusetts. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
- "1860 Census" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1864. Pages 220 through 226. State of Massachusetts Table No. 3. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
- "1850 Census" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1854. Pages 338 through 393. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Index of Legislative Representation by City and Town, from Mass.gov
- Station D-7, SP Bourne
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Falmouth, Massachusetts.|
- Town of Falmouth official website
- Falmouth Public Library, East Falmouth Library, North Falmouth Library
- West Falmouth Library
- Woods Hole Public Library
- Falmouth Historical Society
- Falmouth Newcomers Club
- Falmouth Hospital
- First Congregational Church of Falmouth
- Historic Highfield Hall
- Falmouth Artists Guild
- Falmouth Theatre Guild
- College Light Opera Company
- Falmouth Chamber of Commerce tourist information
- Cape Cod Conservatory in Falmouth
- Mastersingers by the Sea
- Falmouth Chorale
- Falmouth Commodores
- Falmouth Youth Football
- Falmouth Community Solar Garden
- Falmouth Public Schools
- Falmouth Road Race
- St. Elizabeth Seton Parish