-by Bill Daley
What we call “Brady Island” today, was once a charming teardrop shaped upland of 12 acres in the middle of the historical harbor marsh that connected the Village of Sandwich to Cape Cod Bay at high tides.
The creeks around the island were used as a method of transporting goods and people to and from Sandwich. It acquired its name when the land was purchased by its namesake, Hugh Brady, in 1865. The land was originally owned by the Tobey family and was referred to as Tobey Island. During the Hugh Brady years, he successfully petitioned the town to construct a small bridge from the island over the creek to Tupper Avenue as well as a similar structure that led to the factory area. Today it is no longer an island for in the 1930s Route 6A was constructed along one of its boundaries and the land became a peninsula.
Hugh Brady (c.1832-1925) is linked to the glass making industry that changed Sandwich from a rural farming community to a glass manufacturing town. Like many local glass workers at that time, he was born in Ireland and emigrated to work at the Boston & Sandwich Glass Company.
Hugh Brady purchased the land in 1865, built a home there and he and his wife raised their 15 children on the property. It was from here that he walked to work at the factory to take his position as a “shearer”, the person who assisted the head glass maker by cutting the glass during the final phase of glass making. It was something he would do for 25 years. Upon his death at age 93 in 1925, the land passed to his heirs and it was sold in the late 1950s to the Bazzinotti family. They held in for a few years and by the early 1960s it was sold to the town. In what can only be described as tragic, the town gave it to the local fire department to use as a training area and the 1865 Brady home was intentionally burned to the ground by the firefighters. The Sandwich Conservation Commission acquired the property in 1967.
There have been various thoughts about restoring the area to its former parklike setting but, none have come to fruition. Presently it is overgrown with trees and vegetation since it was abandoned in the 1960s. The current Conservation Director is clearing some of the growth with the idea that it could become a restful spot again.
Sandwich Historical Commission, March, 2021
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