2014 Then & Now

Two 100th Anniversaries

Chatham Bars Inn

CBI-color-sketch-postcardOpened in 1914, The Chatham Bars Inn was created as a semi-private hunting lodge by wealthy Boston stockbroker Charles Hardy. In 1912, Hardy began acquiring land and had a vision that would include a Main Inn and nine cottages. These buildings would be built in the most modern style of the day. The rooms would be “plastered, soundproof rooms with electric lights, steam heat, long-distance telephone in every room and private bathrooms with fresh and salt (ocean) water baths.” Chatham Bars Inn had its own farm when it first opened which produced vegetables for its restaurants. (This tradition has returned with the Inn’s recent acquisition of a farm in Brewster that is supplying its restaurants with locally grown produce.) In an unfortunate hunting accident, Charles Hardy was shot and died in 1924. The Inn has had only three owners in the last century, with the current ownership taking on many renovations of the Inn and adding upgrades, including creating The Spa and Signature Spa Suites, Japanese gardens and a year-round relaxation pool.

Cape Cod Canal

07-(1)_CanalHistoryPicIn 1909, August Belmont’s company, the Boston, Cape Cod and New York Canal Company, broke ground on a grand project to separate The Cape from the mainland; and so the work began on building the Cape Cod Canal. While there had been discussion over a 200-year period on creating such a shortcut for ships sailing from Boston and points North to points South, no one or no company took it on until Belmont created a business model and got the financial backing that would make the idea a reality. The work was hard. Throughout the project 26 dredges, including the Governor Herrick, a 130-foot-long, 350-ton dredge, was used to remove dirt, sand, and boulders. The Town of Bourne was divided, oyster beds were destroyed and graves were dug up. Hundreds of skilled and non-skilled workers labored day and night to complete the canal. Six workers died in the process. Eventually the Canal was completed; three drawbridges were built and tolls were set. At the dedication of the Canal in 1916 Belmont stated “Personally should it serve no other purpose than the saving of thousands of lives from perishing off the Cape, I shall feel my own efforts are repaid.” Unfortunately the hazards of traversing the new Canal, along with the high toll prices, made many sea captains decide to risk the traditional routes around the Cape and through the “graveyard of the Cape.” With the involvement of the US in WWI, Belmont saw an opportunity to help the war effort and offered to sell the Canal to the government. Instead, the government took it over in 1918, returning it to him in 1920 after having made a few improvements. Only four years after Belmont died in 1924, the US owned the Canal free and clear.

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