Mashpee History

The town of Mashpee was originally an Indian village. As the waves of settlers fanned out from Plymouth Colony in the middle decades of the 17th century to create townships across the Cape…and the entire state…Mashpee was set aside by the governors of Plymouth Colony to be a home for the Indians being displaced by the new towns.

It was not incorporated as a separate town until 1870, having been designated a "Plantation" during part of its history, and as part of the town of Falmouth until "independence." For much of its history, Mashpee remained a place of where the Wampanoag lived as a community. It seemed untouched by many of the other waves of development and economic changes that swept the Cape over the years…whaling being a notable exception. The Indians of Mashpee, living along the coast, had always been able mariners…and the whaling and fishing industries put a premium on their skills. Herman Melville's Tashtego, the Indian harpooner, is founded solidly in fact.

Mashpee finally succumbed to the "outside" world during the 1960's. This period of great economic growth saw the town's year-round population grow from 665 in 1965 to 2,497 in 1979. The growth continues today, with the number of year-round residents up to 10,000, and a summer population approaching 30,000.

Nowadays, an elected Board of Selectmen and an Executive Secretary administer Mashpee. The form of government remains the sturdy, practical New England Town Meeting.

Mashpee Cape Cod Contact Information

279 Orleans Road
North Chatham, MA 02650

Phone: (508) 945-6443
Fax: (508) 945-7837

Mashpee Cape Cod Contact Form
Name *
Email *
Telephone *
Comments *
Image Verification:*
Please enter the text in the box below
that you see in the picture to your right:
* required fields