Chatham, MA —
Some Historic Places in Chatham You Must See!

We are so fortunate here in Chatham to have preserved so many of our historic buildings and landmarks. This has not been an easy project, and we take pride in all the beauty and history of these places.

Samuel de Champlain 1606 Voyage Commemoration Monument

Did you think the Pilgrims landing at Provincetown were our first foreign visitors? Not so! Champlain came in 1606 and stayed for a few weeks before exploring much more of North America. Unfortunately, there were some interpersonal relationship problems with the native Wapanoag Indians with the result of a hasty departure after four Frenchmen and many more Indians lost their lives. Champlain Road runs by Stage Harbor. The monument overlooks Pleasant Bay and the ocean across from the lighthouse.

Chatham Bars Inn

The Grand Dame of Chatham, sitting high above Pleasant Bay and North Beach with the ocean beyond, it has attracted a notable clientele ever since opening in 1914. During WWII, some European royalty sought refuge here. Extensively remodeled and updated, it features luxurious rooms in the hotel as well as the cottages. A summer treat is having a drink on the wide front porch and admiring the view…or for even more fun, visit the beach bar featuring live music many nights for cocktail hour.

The “Old Village”

This is one of the most sought after places to live in Chatham with all that charm of yesteryear. Many types of architecture can be seen here and fortunately will be preserved with the establishment of the Old Village District Organization. This is the area around and behind the lighthouse.

The Chatham Historic Business District

Downtown Main Street makes Chatham such a popular destination with that quintessential New England small town feeling! Many of the buildings date to the 1850s and this area is on the National Register of Historic Places. In the summer, merchants look like they are having a competition for the most beautiful display of flowers in their window boxes!

Louis Brandeis House

This was the summer home of the U.S. Supreme Court Justice (1916 -1939) and namesake of Brandeis University. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and is lovingly maintained by the family.

"This was the summer home of the U.S. Supreme Court Justice (1916 -1939) and namesake of Brandeis University."

Chatham Railroad Museum

Also on the Register of Historic Places, this is the original railroad depot for the town. There was a special spur of the Cape Cod Railroad that ran seven miles down to encompass Chatham and provided much needed transportation for necessities as well as people. Running from 1887 – 1937, at the beginning it was a very popular alternative to a stagecoach! Today it is open to the public and your children will love exploring the old caboose as well as seeing objects from that era and a diorama of the Chatham railroad yard.

Chatham Gristmill

Another National Historic Place, the gristmill was built in the late 1700s and moved from Stage Harbor Road to Chase Park. Currently there is talk of getting its wind-powered sails in motion again.

Eldredge Public Library

A successful native son, Marcellus Eldredge, returned home and built this impressive library in the Renaissance/Romanesque style in 1896. There is an exceptional library upstairs for genealogy students. Naturally this is another Historic Register Place and is on Main Street.

Chatham Marconi Maritime Center

Built in 1914 by Guglielmo Marconi, a Nobel Prize winner, this campus of 14 acres has a place in history as it was the home of the Wireless Telegraph Company of America Receiving Station being the largest ship-to-shore station on the East Coast. This was in the days when telegraph operators communicated in Morse Code. Currently plans are underway for the town to make a master plan to preserve this unique historical collection of buildings for various uses. It is on Route 28 in the Ryders Cove area.

Monomoy Point Lighthouse

Located almost at the tip of Monomoy Island, this is one of the earliest cast-iron lighthouses in the country, built in 1823. While it is now decommissioned, many people visit there and there is talk of restoring it and making it more accessible to the public. National Register of Historic Places

Chatham Light and Coast Guard Station

Do see my home page for the whole story of Chatham Lights! They had an unfortunate tendency to fall into the sea due to the erosion of the bluff. This one was built in 1877…and so far is still there and visited by thousands every year. Great old pictures of the various lighthouses on my website!

David Bassett House

Built around 1840 for this sea captain, it is now the Visitors’ Center on the corner of Routes 28 and 137. Do stop there! Friendly people will be delighted to help you and answer questions!

The Atwood House Museum of the Chatham Historical Society

A “must see” in Chatham, this is one of its oldest homes and a real treasure trove of information and collections. Located on Stage Harbor Road, there is something for everyone in the family to enjoy from the famous Alice Stalknacht murals to the China Trade collections, to children’s toys, to the fishing industry of the past and also a genuine North Beach “camp” rescued just in time. There are well informed docents to give you a tour. Again…this is highlighted on my home page.

Caleb Nickerson House and William Nickerson Cabin Site

As a Nickerson descendant by marriage, I am excited about this attractive home located on Route 28 (Orleans Road) overlooking Ryders Cove. The Nickerson Family Association did a fine job with this home owned by Caleb Nickerson, great-great grandson of William Nickerson, who bought land from the Indians to found Chatham.

"William Nickerson, who bought land from the Indians to found Chatham."

The home still features its wide pine floors, three working fireplaces and a beehive oven. During the warmer months, there are educational programs about colonial life. There is also an extensive genealogical library there.

Squanto Commemorative

You have read about the kind Indian who saved the ill prepared Pilgrims from starvation their first winter at Plymouth. He taught them how to plant the Indian staple of corn, beans and squash. While on a humane mission to purchase corn for the Pilgrims, he was taken ill and died at the site of the Nickerson cabin. There is a marker there in his memory.

Main Street School

Until 1963, all twelve grades were in this building. It has now been extensively remodeled into a community center. Some old timers fondly recall that the town jail was located there too and on their way to class, some of the boys would check to see who might have been detained overnight!

Monomoy Theater

This is a very special venue for summer entertainment in Chatham! Featuring the Ohio University Players as well as professional actors, it truly is a place to enjoy seeing some very special talented young people. It is located on Main Street next to Chatham Glass Company.

North Beach and the Cape Cod National Seashore

During the 1950s, then Senator John Kennedy helped enact legislation to protect the Atlantic shoreline from Chatham to Provincetown. At that time, those who owned property on this fragile beach were not all enthusiastic as they had hoped to sell this shoreline at a profit! However…all these years later, we owe a debt of gratitude to those people who prevented rampant commercialization of the area. The pristine beach changes every year, and while much more of it was accessible by SUV entering from Nauset Beach, now much of it is cut off by breaks in that barrier beach and is only accessible by boat. However, there are water taxis that can take you over there and it certainly is worth the trip to walk on these pristine, uncrowded beaches and enjoy the shore as it has been for thousands of years. There are some beach “camps” owned by local people for generations who love them even though they have minimal facilities…but lots of charm. Sadly, many have been lost in the past few years with some fierce storms.

Featured Listings

9 Herring Brook Way, Orleans, MA 02653

Enjoy Tuscan-style living at this magical waterfront home! Dine under a leafy pergola, bake pizza in the outdoor brick oven, dig clams from your yard. Park like grounds offer great privacy yet quick access to town & beaches. Jewel-like water views from every room, private dock & flowing floor plan make this totally updated home unforgettable.Enjoy nature's serene palette from the light-filled chef's kitchen with fireplace. A second fireplace complements the large living/dining room. Spacious library is ideal for family gatherings. Kids & teens have their own game room in the walkout lower level. Upstairs is a luxurious master suite and two other bedrooms, all with California Closets. The 2-car heated garage has a mini-apartment above, perfect for guests.

117 Summerhill Lane, Chatham, MA 02633

Wide open, spacious, and teeming with light describes the first floor of this home on a quiet cul-de-sac between the Barn-Hill landing and Harding's Beach. Custom eat-in kitchen with high end appliances, countertops, and Crown-Pointe cabinetry opens on to the family room allowing the chefs of the family to enjoy their family and friends. A beautiful lawn expands from the deck just outside. The living room with central fireplace provides ample space for entertaining or sitting quietly to read. Four bedrooms and two baths round out the 2nd floor. But wait, there is a third floor family room providing overflow for your most special guests or a quiet get-away for you to enjoy the picturesque view of Nantucket Sound in the distance from your own private deck. This impeccably maintained, freshly painted home comes complete with gleaming wood floors, central air, outdoor shower, and almost 3000 square feet of living space.

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