Location is its destiny. From its beginnings, water has shaped Harwich – first by fishing, then by income from cranberry cultivation, and now by the attraction of its beaches and boating facilities. Follow this unfolding story through historic photographs – some a century and a half old – and contemporary pictures. They will provide timeless insights into this small Cape Cod town.
Fascinating glimpses tracing the evolution of Harwich from a tiny Pilgrim settlement through wars and depressions to today’s prized summer destination.
The evolution of Harwich from a small lower Cape Cod fishing village to eminence as a vacation mecca has involved several stages. Two thirds of its residents owed their livelihood to the sea as mariners or fishermen until the mid-nineteenth century, when the steam locomotive spelled disaster to the coastal shipping industry and the Civil War nearly bankrupted the town. As the population declined, discovery that the sandy, acidic soil was conducive to cranberry cultivation provided much needed financial relief. Harwich refused to fail.
After retiring form her professorship in history to her family home on Cape Cod, Joan Maloney discovered the riches of the Cape’s history in its artifacts and manuscripts. She is the author of two books about Harwich.
Carole DeChristopher is a former social worker who shares this enthusiasm for recalling the Cape as it was and for paddling its crystal clear ponds as they are.