MARSTONS MILLS – The village of Marstons Mills is a quiet resort near the midpoint of Cape Cod where there are many landmarks to see and enjoy: a historic old airfield that once housed a flying circus; a church that traveled to Main Street from Yarmouth Harbor nearly 200 years ago; a farmhouse that dates back to before the Revolutionary War and a classic old hearse straight out of the days of horses and buggies.
These and other landmarks are part of the stops on Marstons Mills Historical SocietyThe second annual self-guided tour of the historic house, free to the public, will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 22. Maps and descriptive brochures to guide participants are available at Community Church (2135 Main St.) that day — by the way, this is the first stop on the tour. Members of the Historical Society will be present at each location to point out notable features. Refreshments will be served at the church at the end of the event.
Once every village had a horse-drawn hearse
The highlight of the day is sure to be a visit to the Hearse House in Marstons Mills Cemetery (Route 149) to see the original horse-drawn hearse that was used in the village until the 1930s. of the only surviving such car in the seven villages, which each had a hearse at that time, and it may be the last of its kind in southeastern Massachusetts, according to David Martin, president of the Marstons Mills Historical Society.
Built in 1885 by famed coachbuilder George L. Brownell Co. of New Bedford, the iron-wheeled, glass-paneled car features tasselled side curtains and curved glass rear doors. It will be displayed for the first time since it was moved from Barnstable’s Trayser Museum (now the Coast Guard Heritage Museum) in the early 2000s to return to its original home in the former Hearse House, built specifically to hold the car.
State-of-the-art features of the time included a container under the central carriage to hold ice (as a preservative), as well as brass pegs that fitted to hold the coffin in place and prevent it from slipping. Decorative end caps provide a dark decoration on the roof of the car.
The hearse, which is owned by the town of Barnstable, is due for minor preservation work, which will be carried out by a local specialist, and some climate control features may be in order in the hearse house to help prolong the life of the hearse. old car, Martin said.
Visit these other Marstons Mills historic sites on tour
Visitors will have the opportunity to visit a number of other iconic locations, including the iconic Marstons Mills Aerodrome on Race Lane, which dates back to 1929 and the era of flying circuses and daredevil flyboys.
As for today, where else could you see grassy runways dotted with wildflowers, learn to skydive, or take a biplane sightseeing flight over the Cape Cod Peninsula? The airfield is also a landing ground for private planes and is home to two historic DC-3 planes – WWII veterans.
In 1839 a team of oxen pulled a small shingled church from Yarmouth Harbor to Main Street in Mills, where it originally served a Methodist congregation. Several renovation projects followed, including the 1959 addition of a church hall that had once served as surplus barracks at the old Otis Air Force Base. At other times the property housed a dance studio and nursery school, until it became the present community church in 1981.
In the early days, Marstons Mills had many thriving farms, with its lakes, rivers and boggy pools dotting the landscape. Tour stops include farms dating from 1750 to the 1800s.
At Fuller Farm (Route 149), the farm buildings have not survived, but the 22-acre property, developed in the 1800s, is intended to remain a farm, and current development includes a garden, pollinator fields, trails walkways and a working barn.
In 2019 the Luther Hamblin House (Santuit-Newtown Road) won the Town of Barnstable’s Outstanding Preservation Award for its restoration by Harry and Terrie Rigollet, who purchased the property in 2015. They returned it to a working farm with gardens and livestock, while keeping a large part of the 1836 house and barn intact, restored to its original beams and central fireplace.
The Isaac Crocker Farm (Olde Homestead Drive), originating in 1750 and unusual for its arched roof design, remained in the Crocker family for over 100 years, and was subsequently owned by CapeAbilities. Back in private hands in 2017, it is once again a working farm. With the original farm still standing, it is considered the oldest working farm on Cape Cod, recommended for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Federal-style Burgess House in Cape Shingles and Shingles (Highway 149), located near the cemetery, has been passed down from generation to generation by the Hinckley family. A previous owner added beautiful flower gardens and landscaping. Today the land is home to a popular disc golf course and is the home base of the Marstons Mills Village Association.
If you are going to
The self-guided tour of the historic home of the Marstons Mills Historical Society runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on October 22. Maps and descriptive brochures to guide participants are available at the Community Church (2135 Main Street) from 10 am to 1:30 pm each day. The visit is free for the public, donations are welcome. For more information, contact David Martin at 508-527-0460, or by email [email protected].
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