Business and Labor

Flashback Photo: The Rise of the Cape Cod Summer House

Tourism became Cape Cod’s leading industry as the whaling industry died out, and by the late 1800s trains were making regular trips carrying visitors to the guesthouses and hotels. And some visitors began to entertain the idea of the Cape Cod summer house.

Cape Cod summer home advertisement

Cape Cod summer home advertisement

While some wealthier families maintained homes at the shore, it wasn’t until the turn of the century and the rise of the automobile that a great many people began envisioning themselves enjoying a summer spot on the Cape Cod.

By 1914, when this advertisement was appearing, the building boom was in its early stages on Cape Cod. The train to Falmouth had arrived in 1872 and it became a fashionable destination for summer visitors. Developers began luring  buyers with land that had previously thought of as scrub. And as the cities grew grimier with the rise of industry, the appeal of Cape Cod only increased.

In 1910, Falmouth’s population of 3,100 needed to be ready for a shock, as population would boom over the next 50 years by nearly 500 percent as the town expanded to capitalize on the tourism and the money it brought.

This story about the Cape Cod summer house was updated in 2022.

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