Chatham MA History Lesson

Chatham MA

When you come to Cape Cod to spend some time with us at Chatham Gables Inn this summer, you’ll get to experience some of the incredible history of the area.  Chatham MA is located on the elbow of Cape Cod and has a prominent place in the region’s history.  From the American Indians that called the Cape home centuries ago to the settlers who made the town into a bustling fishing and whaling hub, Chatham MA has a past worth exploring. Let us give you a brief history of Chatham MA and find out what makes our home so special.


Chatham MA was first inhabited by Native Americans from the Nauset tribe, more specifically the Monomoy People, who knew the area as Manomoit or Manamoyik.  In 1606, French explorer Samuel de Champlain landed at Chatham, but it was not until 1664 when the English arrived that Chatham had permanent European settlers. In the time between de Champlain’s arrival and the settling of the British, the area had been given many names that never stuck.  Finally, the Brits christened the land Chatham, after the region of the same name in Kent, England. The settlers made Chatham MA into an important fishing, whaling and shipping point, owing much of their success to their convenient location on the “elbow” of Cape Cod.  The community flourished and many of the 18th century buildings that the settlers built are still in town, adding to our historic charm.


To experience the history of Chatham MA, you don’t have to look very far.  The town is full of historic landmarks and museums where you can discover more about the past and the impact that it has on the present and future of the area. The Atwood House Museum is the home of the Chatham Historical Society.   The Atwood House is a gambrel-roofed house that dates back to 1752, and aside from necessary restoration and the addition of modern conveniences, the home is in much the same condition as it was when it was built. Today the Atwood House has several galleries featuring a variety of exhibits of historical significance including art, photos, clothing, furniture, china, and glass.  And the archives contain historic documents such as news clippings, personal correspondence, deeds, and wills. Also on the grounds of Atwood House are the Nickerson North Beach Camp, the Chatham School Bells Display, a Wampanoag dugout canoe and the Chatham Light Display.


Among the prominent sites of historical significance in Chatham MA is the Chatham Light and Coast Guard Station, which is the most popular attraction in town.  The Chatham Light has had many incarnations, with its first wooden structure being built in 1808 and the current lighthouse was erected in 1877. Other sites include the houses like the Captain David T. Bassett House, Mayo House, and Brandeis House.  For more information on more historic sites in Chatham MA, visit the Chatham Chamber of Commerce site, here. 


To get a firsthand experience of the history of Chatham MA, stay at Chatham Gables Inn.  Our inn is housed in a beautifully restored Sea Captain’s Manse from the 1880s. It’s a classic example of the prominent architecture of the area, and as you make yourself at home at Chatham Gables Inn, you’ll get the ambience of the old days with the luxuries and conveniences of today.


So, when you’re making your plans to explore the history of Chatham MA, don’t forget to book your stay at our historic bed and breakfast.  Chatham Gables Inn is the perfect place to enjoy all the charms of Chatham MA and the Cape Cod area.  Relax in our elegant guest rooms with luxurious spa-inspired amenities like plush robes, Turkish towels, Kashwere trows, Matouk & Comphy Co. linens and ZENTS Aromatherapy toiletries.  And, of course, your stay includes a delicious full breakfast each morning.  Enjoy  fresh juices, coffee, baked fruit cobblers, Nantucket Tri-Berry muffins and the daily hot entree. Come to Chatham Gables Inn and experience the remnants of Chatham’s past while enjoying the delights of the present.


Photo courtesy laulau18.