There are many historic buildings on Cape Cod, and many in Yarmouth itself.
We are proud to say that the Society owns and maintains five of these historic properties, some of which were donated to us for preservation by people whose families held and even lived in them for generations.
Pictured below, they include:
• The Captain Bangs Hallet House, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a stately, fully-furnished sea captain's home, circa 1700s-1840, which we operate as a museum. It is the only one like it on Cape Cod regularly open to the public. In 1958, the house and 50 acres of adjacent woodland associated with it were given as a generous gift to the Society by Guido Perera, a descendant of Anthony Thacher, one of the three original founders of Yarmouth, in support of our mission.
Also on the grounds of the Captain Bangs Hallet House is a magnificent
Weeping Beech Tree, one of only a few on the Cape. It is a spectacular
sight with an enormous spread and limbs that literally embrace all those
who stand beneath it. There's a photo in the slideshow below and another
in the weddings slideshow for the Kelley Chapel elsewhere on this website.
• The Kelley Chapel, non-denominational, built by David Kelley, a Quaker,
in South Yarmouth for his daughter, Rosa, who taught bible lessons to the children of the poor. It was also used by community members for baptisms and other various celebrations. It was donated to the Society in 1959 by the builder's grandson, Amos Kelley Haswell, who led the Quaker community for many years and is now the scene of many memorable Cape Cod weddings and other events.
• The Benjamin T. Gorham Cobbler Shop, a, circa 1850 building which the Society saved in 2005, relocating and restoring it, and which now serves as the Society's office and houses our archival collections.
• The Benjamin Hallet Blacksmith Shop, now located on the HSOY Nature trail next to the Kelley Chapel, dates from the mid-19th century. It was donated to the Society in the 1950s by descendants of Louis B. Thacher.
• The Faith Tufts Gatehouse, this small building served as the original Davenport Real Estate office located on Ferry Street in West Dennis. It was donated to the Society by John Davenport in the late 1950s and moved to its present location.
• The Nature Trails: The Faith Tufts Gatehouse is the starting point for the Nature Trails, which are maintained by the Historical Society of Old Yarmouth. They meander through more than 50 acres of woodland splendor for all who enjoy the outdoors. Trail maps are available in the mailbox next to the front door. Although the trails are now rich with forest vegetation and botanical specimens, this was not always the case. For on this 50 acres was located the first golf course on Cape Cod. Built in the 1890s as a private course for the Thacher family, the course was used for several decades but then allowed to revert to its natural state. The land was generously donated to the historical society by Mr. Guido Perera, a descendant of the Thacher family. If you look closely, you can still catch a glimpse of the golf course landscape. Today, the trail wanders toward Miller's Pond and through acres of Cape Cod's natural beauty.
NATURE TRAIL HOURS: Open daily year round dawn to dusk.
ADMISSION: A donation is requested to help maintain the trails. A letter-slot in the front door of the Gatehouse is provided for donations. Thank you!
DIRECTIONS: From Mid-Cape Highway (Route 6), take exit 7. Go north on Willow Street to Route 6A. Turn right onto 6A approximately 6/10 of a mile. Large sign for entrance to Nature Trails is on the right, immediately before the entrance to the Yarmouth Port Post Office.
Trails are reached by parking and walking down a gravel road approximately 50 yards. Printed "Trail Guides" are available in metal letter-box at the door of the small 'Gatehouse' building, just before the gravel road. (From Route 28, take Willow Street, West Yarmouth Road, or Station Avenue to get to Route 6A, thence to the Post Office.)
(Click on the photos to view a slideshow.)