Postcards from Falmouth: St. Barnabas Church

By any measure, St. Barnabas Church is distinct. Reverend Will Mebane, Jr. recounts the history of its founding: how the Beebe family pushed to establish the parish, and chose Gothic Revivalist architect Henry Vaughan to build a church unlike any other in Falmouth. 

“We like to be known as the parish of the community,” he says, “so we are constantly opening our doors and welcoming nonprofit organizations and other entities to use our beautiful campus.” In the summer months especially, that campus is a hub of activity – for example, did you know that the 70th annual Strawberry Festival was celebrated this June? 

Explore the oral history and digital exhibit, and learn for yourself how St. Barnabas became part of the fabric of Falmouth’s community!

See our Saint Barnabas Church digital exhibit here.

Explore the postcard collection online here.

Postcards from Falmouth is a local history project of Falmouth Public Library, funded by a LSTA grant and administered by the MBLC.

Postcards from Falmouth: Falmouth Historical Society

Based right in the heart of town, the Falmouth Historical Society – also known as the Falmouth Museums on the Green – has a story for each feature of its historic campus, and a dedication to preserving those stories for future residents and visitors. Former director Mark Schmidt takes us on a tour through the Museums’ past, present, and future, with an emphasis on one important point: today’s events are history in the making.

 

 

“We tend to think that if it happened in our lifetime it’s ‘not cool,’ or just not that important,” he says. He points out that history doesn’t start and end with Colonial houses and 18th century French wallpaper: “We’ve gone through some pretty major things in our lifetime.”

Tour the Falmouth Historical Society with Mark Schmidt here.

Explore the postcard collection online here.

Postcards from Falmouth is a local history project of Falmouth Public Library, funded by a LSTA grant and administered by the MBLC.

Postcards from Falmouth: Main Street

How well do you know Main Street? Join Camille Beale and Nancy Eldridge on an insider tour, and learn about everything you could buy, browse, or admire on Falmouth’s main drag in the middle of the 20th century. Both longtime residents with ties to Main Street, Camille and Nancy have watched it grow and change from front-row seats. In conversation with Barbara Kanellopoulos, they recall lunches at the five and dime, Western films at the Elizabeth Theater, and the attractions popular stores used to entice customers, from the monkey to the x-ray machine.

 

Tour our Main Street digital exhibit here.

Explore the postcard collection online here.

Postcards from Falmouth is a local history project of Falmouth Public Library, funded by a LSTA grant and administered by the MBLC.

Postcards from Falmouth: the Dwight Estate

You’ve probably passed by the carriage house on Mill Road, with its distinctive arches, but how much do you know about the mansion it outlived, or the man who built them both? Check out Bill Swift’s oral history to learn about Arm & Hammer co-founder John E. Dwight, who put down roots in Falmouth in the 1880s, complete with winter and summer homes and other properties across town.

The estate has dwindled over the years, most notably when the mansion was lost to the 1944 hurricane, but this oral history will take you back to its early days, when horses raced at Trotting Park, Grover Cleveland summered at Gray Gables, and Mrs. Dwight sat reading on her tiny artificial island in Salt Pond.

Explore the Dwight Estate with Bill Swift here.

Explore the postcard collection online here.

Postcards from Falmouth is a local history project of Falmouth Public Library, funded by a LSTA grant and administered by the MBLC.

Postcards from Falmouth: Falmouth Center

If you’ve ever wondered what it was like to weather the Great Atlantic Hurricane of 1944, the late Donald Fish has a story for you. A student of Falmouth history, he recounts boyhood adventures alongside older stories of Falmouth’s modernization and development. He vividly recalls the chaos of the storms of 1938 and 1944: “As it got darker the wind picked up severely […] The water’s coming up, set yachts are foundering along the shore, raising hell.”

His four-part video series also touches on less-explored topics from our postcard collection: the Parthenon power plant, development along Shore Street, ice skating on Shiverick’s Pond, and even the long-gone era of the stagecoach. Follow along with his walk down memory lane, then check out the supplementary materials we’ve collected to complement the videos.

Explore Falmouth with Donald Fish here.

Explore the postcard collection online here.

Postcards from Falmouth is a local history project of Falmouth Public Library, funded by a LSTA grant and administered by the MBLC.

Postcards from Falmouth: First Congregational Church

The First Congregational Church of Falmouth may be a downtown icon, but it didn’t start life on the village green. Its first iteration was built at the site of the Old Burying Ground, and it had several different incarnations before it arrived at its current home. In this oral history interview, Reverend Jonathan Drury charts the course it took and highlights the details of the church we know today, from the Falmouth granite in its foundation to the bell in the steeple, cast by none other than Paul Revere.

While the First Congregational Church has deep roots in Falmouth’s past, Reverend Drury also emphasizes the way it looks toward the future. “Our congregation should be open and available,” he says, “as a place where people can feel not the divisiveness but the potential that exists in harmony.”

Visit our First Congregational Church digital exhibit here.

Explore the postcard collection online here.

Postcards from Falmouth is a local history project of Falmouth Public Library, funded by a LSTA grant and administered by the MBLC.

Library’s Historical Documents are Digitized

The preservation of the Falmouth Public Library’s historical documents is now complete.

Through a grant by the Falmouth Community Preservation Fund in 2010 , the Library was enabled to rebind documents and records dating back to 1792.

Recently, the collection was digitized by the Digital Commonwealth, a non-profit collaborative organization that helps Massachusetts libraries create, manage, and disseminate  cultural heritage materials.

The collection may be viewed in full on the Internet Archives.