Record ID: 194

Site Name

Cape Cod


Capes and Promontories


Narrow peninsula of glacial origin (area: 399 sq mi/1,033 sq km), SE Mass., extending 65 mi/105 km E and N into the Atlantic Ocean. It is generally flat, with sand dunes, low hills, and numerous lakes. The cape�s familiar hook shape is a result of the action of winds and ocean currents on the sand and gravel of different glacial deposits. Bartholomew Gosnold, an Eng. explorer, visited the cape in 1602 and named it for the abundant codfish once found in surrounding waters. It is accessed by RR, road, and air. Fishing, whaling, shipping, and salt making were important until the late 1800s. Tourism and cranberry growing (Cape Cod is the nation�s largest producer of cranberries) are the economic mainstays. Suburban development and pops. (particularly retirement communities) have gradually increased. Major retirement area. Towns on Cape Cod include Barnstable; Provincetown, site of the Pilgrim�s 1st landing (1620); Falmouth, location of Woods Hole, an oceanographic center; and Bourne, through which the Cape Cod Canal passes. This lockless canal, 17.5 mi/28.2 km long, 32 ft/10 m deep, was built (1910�1914) from private funds and purchased by the U.S. govt. in 1927. The canal accommodates oceangoing vessels and cuts the distance bet. New York City and Boston by 75 mi/121 km. Parts of Cape Cod constitute Cape Cod Natl. Seashore (27,000 acres/10,927 ha; est. 1961; visitor center at Eastham). It contains beaches, sand dunes, heathlands, marshes, fresh-water ponds, and historic sites, including the first Marconi Wireless Station in the U.S. First transatlantic message sent Jan. 19, 1903; also famous lighthouses: Nauset Light and Highland Light.

NOAA chart # 13246 (Image Id: 1663)
NOAA chart # 13246 (Image Id: 1663)