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Historical Markers Part of Improvements Planned for Mill Creek Park.


Sandwich Okays Plan To Turn ‘Restroom Park’ Into Something More Memorable


A gift of flowers, benches and greenery popped up among the political brambles when a volunteer group offered to beautify a scruffy grove across from Sandwich Town Hall.

The news that volunteers wanted to spruce up the unadorned clearing, which is home to the village’s only public restrooms, was little heralded, coming one week before Town Meeting and the town election. The plan came before three of the five selectmen as well as the Old King’s Highway Historic District Committee recently. Both boards passed the plan unanimously.

When it is finished the park will provide a shady rest area for visitors. It will feature small brick patios, benches, flowering hedges, greenery, and bronze signs describing the histories of nearby landmarks, including town hall, First Church of Christ, the Dexter Grist Mill, and Mill Creek, which runs through the property. A bicycle rack is also planned for the park.

The volunteers are members of the Sandwich 375 Committee, which formed to organize last year’s big 375th birthday bash for the town. So successful were their fundraising efforts for the year-long celebration, they had money left over. With the help of several town staff and a cross-section of volunteers from other town advisory boards, the group came up with a design and a name—Mill Creek Park.

“Many visitors walk through Town Hall Square and look at our beautiful buildings but other than seeing them, there is no signage telling them what they are and their significance to our history,” said Cynthia M. Russell, spokesman for the 375 Committee, in her presentation. “Hence, we would like to install two cast bronze plaques, placed near each sitting area at an angle, that tell of the buildings. These signs can only be read from inside the park.”

The design and planning were the work of many people.

The 375 committee asked Colonial Brass of Taunton to make the cast bronze signs. The coating will develop a green patina as it ages, Ms. Russell said. Two members of the Sandwich Historical Commission wrote the text for the signs.

The benches will look like old-style wooden benches, but will actually be composite material suggested by town engineer Paul Tilton and town planner Blair Haney. David J. DeConto, assistant director of natural resources, also consulted on the project.

BJ’s Lawncare & Landscaping of Forestdale will put the signs and the landscaping in place with the help of volunteers from the Sandwich Chamber of Commerce. Mary Bowker, president of the Sandwich Garden Club, will supervise the planting work. Ms. Bowker, along with Donna and Jeff Kutil of Scenic Roots Garden Center, chose the low-maintenance plants.

“They have selected hydrangeas, summer sweet and winterberry plants for their disease and pest resistance, heat tolerance, and ready adaptation to different soil types as well as their beauty spring through fall when Mill Creek Park is most used by visitors and the community,” Ms. Russell wrote in her presentation.

Tree warden Justin O’Connor suggested that two Norway maples be removed and replaced with Stewartia and two flowering trees.

“Stewartia trees are slow-growing, all-season performers that show off fresh green leaves in the spring, white flowers resembling single camellias in summer, colorful foliage in the autumn, and exfoliating bark in the winter that creates a beautiful spectacle after leaves fall,” Ms. Russell said.

The town will install a watering system that will be needed for only the first few years. After the low-maintenance plants have been established, nature will take over and the watering system will no longer be needed, Ms. Russell said.

“The challenge of planting in the park is significant due to the present lack of water, deep shade, the condition of the soil and long-term maintenance,” Ms. Russell said. “But we believe with the choices of plants, short-term irrigation, enriched plant soil and removal of trees, these plants have an excellent opportunity to thrive and be enjoyed.”

The three selectmen (Susan R. James, Peter M. Beauchemin and Ralph A. Vitacco), who attended the meeting at which the plan was approved, thanked Ms. Russell, the town staff and all the volunteers for their efforts.

“This is a great example of the town and the businesses coming together to leave a lasting monument,” Mr. Vitacco said.

The committee chose Mill Creek Park as the name because it “acknowledges the heritage and beauty of the area by recognizing the historic grist mill and the natural creek upon which the park is located,” Ms. Russell said. “The beautification of this park speaks to our mission statement as it embraces the town’s rich culture, proud heritage and pristine beauty,” Ms. Russell said. “We cannot thank these people and businesses enough because due to their guidance, expertise and spirit of community, the Sandwich 375 Committee legacy gift to the town will truly be a delightful place year-round for residents and visitors to use and enjoy for many years. “

Here’s a brief history of the park area that was included in Ms. Russell’s presentation:

“Mill Creek Park celebrates the historical fact that the Dexter Grist mill was able to operate because the water from the dammed up pond flowed into this creek.

“The mill was built in 1640, giving farmers in this agricultural community the means to turn their corn crop into flour, which provided sustenance for the population for more than 200 years.

“From spring-fed Shawme Pond and down the herring run, Mill Creek also brought economic prosperity to Sandwich by powering many businesses such as the Tag Factory and the Shoe Factory.

“Today, it brings visitors to see it wind through rich marshland and flow under the famous Sandwich boardwalk to the Old Harbor where the Boston & Sandwich Glass Factory was built by Deming Jarves in 1825.

“The name ‘Mill Creek’ recognizes the importance of both the mill and the creek to the Sandwich residents and visitors for the past 375 years.”

Download Complete Proposal

RELATED STORY: A Name for the Park at 135 Main Street

A Name for the Park at 135 Main Street

by Cindy Russell

135 Main Street has been privately owned from 1639 until 1963 when Town Meeting voted “to purchase a certain parcel of land located at Main Street, at Town Hall Square, owned by Manuel and Leona R. Jacinto for $14,000.

Bill Daley and Don Bayley, members of the Sandwich Historical Commission, spent many hours researching the property in the archives and even spoke to Barbara Gill about the property. Their research found:

(Click for Larger View)

1. 1839 John Warner Barber drawing of Town Hall with historian Russell Lovell stating “This is the only view found showing the early Calvinistic chapel on the site of the present First Church of Christ. The smaller buildings in the left foreground are a blacksmith shop, the building (Spite Barn) that was to become part of the glass museum and lastly the Fred Bunker museum.
There is a story that Melatiah Bourne had a small barn near the Calvinistic chapel and made it a point to stir the animals when services were going on. This became known as “The Spite Barn” and part of town legend. This barn building was later moved across Main Street and then over the millstream and is incorporated into today’s Sandwich Glass Museum.

1857 Map showing Carriage Shop on Mill Creek across from Town Hall (Click for Larger View)

2. 1857 Sandwich Village Map shows the property to have a carriage shop.

3. 1880 Sandwich Village Map shows a shoe factory.

4. 1950 aerial view shows a garage.

Sandwich historian Jonathan Shaw remembers a house and foundation there that were demolished. At one time, he visited that house – where some friends of his were living. “It was a tall, rather ugly and awkwardly sited house and it was a stroke of genius that the Town bought the lot.”

Some may argue that it should be called Town Hall Park. However, Town Hall was not built until 1834 and the creek had been a vital component of the town for more than two centuries by the time the hall was built.

So why name the park “Mill Creek Park?” This name acknowledges the heritage and beauty of the area by recognizing the historic grist mill and the natural creek upon which the park is located. Mill Creek Park celebrates the historical fact that the Dexter Grist mill was able to operate because the water from the dammed up pond flowed into this creek. The mill was built in 1640 and it gave the farmers in this agricultural community the means to turn their corn crop into flour which provided sustenance for the population for more than 200 years.

Postcard ca. 1915 showing Town Hall, Grist Mill, Tag Factory and Shoe Factory on Shawme Pond (Click for Larger View)

From spring-fed Shawme Pond and down the herring run, Mill Creek also brought economic prosperity to Sandwich by powering many businesses such as the Tag Factory and the Shoe Factory. Today, it brings visitors to see it wind through rich marshland and flow under the famous Sandwich boardwalk to the Old Harbor where the Boston & Sandwich Glass Factory was built by Deming Jarves in 1825.

The name “Mill Creek” recognizes the importance of both the mill and the creek to the Sandwich residents and visitors for the past 375 years.

(Photos courtesy Sandwich Town Archives)

RELATED STORY: Historical Markers Part of Improvements Planned for Mill Creek Park

New Civil War Memorial Wall Plaque Now in Town Hall

Sandwich Civil War Plaque
Bill Daley inspecting the new Civil War plaque. The Historical Commission extends its highest praise and appreciation to Bill for spearheading this important project.

The Civil War Memorial Wall Plaque has been delivered and it now hangs on the wall of the first staircase case landing at Town Hall. It shows the full names of the 294 Sandwich men who served as soldiers and sailors. A gold star is beside the names of the 54 men who lost their lives because of the war.

As far as Cape Cod is concerned, Sandwich raised the first military unit on the Cape; the Sandwich Guards (Co. D 29th Regiment) saw the first military action; Sandwich had the most men join of any town on the Cape and sadly lost the most number of men. Sandwich was not alone in its losses; more than 600,000 Americans lost their lives during this 4 year nightmare.

Roster of Civil War Soldiers & Sailors, Sandwich, MA


Twinning with Sandwich, England


Photo courtesy: Taylor White

“Our towns share more than their name, not least local and national distinction as historic communities. I hope that we can grow closer in mutual understanding and appreciation of each town’s heritage and community life.”

–The Mayor of Sandwich, Kent, UK Cllr Paul Graeme


The Sandwich Atlantic Twinning Association is looking for digital photos of Sandwich for a joint website with Sandwich, UK. Please send any photos via email to

Sandwich UK

Tea with Sandy Schrader from Sandwich, Mass. at The Salutation in Sandwich, UK with the Mayor & Mayoress, Deputy & Consort, Chair of Sandwich History Society and BASH members. — with Dave Batchelor, Rowan Frost, Amy Batchelor, Sonia Frost and Tony Cooper in Sandwich, Kent.
Tea with Sandy Schrader from Sandwich, Mass. at The Salutation in Sandwich, UK with the Mayor & Mayoress, Deputy & Consort, Chair of Sandwich History Society and BASH members. — with Dave Batchelor, Rowan Frost, Amy Batchelor, Sonia Frost and Tony Cooper in Sandwich, Kent.
Sandy Schrader from Sandwich, Mass. in the mayor's seat at the Guildhall Courtroom, Sandwich, Kent. The Mayor seemed happy with the arrangement. — in Sandwich, Kent.
Sandy Schrader from Sandwich, Mass. in the mayor’s seat at the Guildhall Courtroom, Sandwich, Kent. The Mayor seemed happy with the arrangement. — in Sandwich, Kent.
Items sent from Sandwich UK on display at the Sandwich MA Library


WATCH Video on Twinning Charter with Sandwich, U.K.








Would you like to take part in the Sandwich twinning? Sign up as an epal!

We are working with the people of Sandwich UK to create a network of email ‘penpals’ across the twin towns.

If you would like to correspond with someone in Sandwich UK, please email our epal coordinators. Send us your name, age and areas of interest and we will endeavour to find you a suitable match. We would welcome group epals too – if you belong to a special interest group and would like to join up with like-minded people in Sandwich UK, please send us your details and we’ll see what we can do…

SandwichUKCelebrationVisit Sandwich England’s websites:

B-A-S-H: Bringing Alive Sandwich (Kent) Heritage

BASH UK Facebook Page

Kent Online: Sandwich News

PINTEREST SITE: Messages to Massachusetts

OPEN SANDWICH: All about the Medieval Town of Sandwich in Kent

VISIT SANDWICH: A Taste of Medieval England



Of Sandwich, Seals and Sandwiches:

Sandwich, Massachusetts is named for the seaport of Sandwich, Kent, England. The name “Sandwich” comes from Old English (O.E.) Sandwic, and literally means “sand village,” “sandy place,” or “place on the sand.” The old English wic is a loan word from Latin vicus, which also gives us the word vicinity. The word “sandwich” as an item of food came into being centuries later (we’ll get to that in a bit) . The first recorded mention of Sandwich in the United kingdom was around 664 AD but there was probably some kind of settlement in Roman times as the site is very close to a Roman Fort (Rutupiae).

The seal for Sandwich in Kent, England had 3 ships with lion heads. seal200By 1900 all towns in Massachusetts were required to establish a town seal. The design adopted for Sandwich, Mass. was proposed by Melanie Elisabeth Norton (who married Jonathan Leonard in 1898). She drew American eagles in place of the British lions. On the version of the seal shown here, those 3 blips on the ships don’t look much like eagles, but we hear from the Leonard’s grandson that the town is working on re-drawing the seal so the eagles can be more easily discerned.

If you are curious about the Latin phrase on the Town Seal “Post Tot Naufragia Portus,” it translates to: “After So Many Shipwrecks There Is A Harbor (or a Haven).”



Earl of Sandwich Coat of Arms
(click for larger view)
Earl of Sandwich
John Montagu 4th Earl of Sandwich

This phrase was also the motto of John William Montague (1718-1792), the 4th Earl of Sandwich, and is on the Montague family Coat of Arms. It is said that we get the name of the “sandwich” we eat from the 4th Earl. Legend has it that Montague was a hardened gambler and usually gambled for hours at a time at a restaurant, sometimes refusing to get up even for meals. He ordered his valet to bring him meat tucked between two pieces of bread so he didn’t need to bother with utensils to eat it. Because Montague was also known as the Earl of Sandwich, others began to order “the same as Sandwich!” And the name stuck.

An alternative explanation is that the Earl invented it to sustain himself at his desk, which seems plausible since there is ample evidence of the long hours he worked from an early start, in an age when dinner was the only substantial meal of the day, and the fashionable hour to dine was four o’clock.

Note however, the family of the Earls of Sandwich has no real connection to the English town itself, only the title. Apparently, the First Earl, Edward Montagu, originally intended to take the title of the Earl of Portsmouth—this might have been changed to honor the town of Sandwich, because the fleet he was commanding in 1660 was lying off the coast of Sandwich, before it sailed to bring Charles II back to England.

We can be thankful the name was changed, otherwise we’d be eating Peanut Butter Portsmouths!

–Don Bayley, Sandwich Historical Commission





Origin of Sandwich and The sandwich
OPEN SANDWICH: History of Sandwich Kent
Hexmaster’s Factoids

Sandwich Historical Commission wants 1927 Wing exterior preserved

By Paul Gately

May 14. 2015 1:02PM

When it comes to preserving parts of the past in general — and the old 1927 section of the Wing School off Water Street in particular — the Sandwich Historical Commission thinks it is better to be pro-active than re-active.

When it comes to what will happen to – and with – the Wing School complex and its playing fields, the commission has expressed disenchantment with how unfolding re-use studies are proceeding. In this instance, members say, a pro-active stance is much more difficult than a re-active one.

(Postcard Courtesy Sandwich Town Archives)

The commission has been rebuffed in its efforts to secure a seat on the Wing re-use committee working with Kaestle Boos Architects to determine Wing’s fate and future, which is being closely watched in the community.

Member Lisa Hassler says commission members have been told by town officials and selectmen that they merely have to “show up at the public meetings” and participate. The panel as such has followed that course and members have not yet devised an official Wing re-use position.

There is commission sentiment, however, that the red-brick exterior of the former Sandwich High School should indeed be preserved. Hassler said this part of the Wing school is significant to Sandwich’s past and is located in an historic area.

Everything related to Wing now centers on feasibility, planning and, to a lesser extent, cost.

Commission members on May 6 said they were somewhat surprised by the news that architectural Wing review to date has found “nothing unique about the building.” Member Carolyn Crowell said the old school was built in “a faux-colonial style and that there is not that much architecture like that around town, if any.”

The distinctive 1927 Wing section is on the National Register of Historic Places, and members say it still is an integral part of the gateway to Sandwich center. The original roof was slate and it included a widow’s walk, long-since removed during repair projects, Crowell said.

Commission member Bill Daley said he attended the first Wing-re-use public meetings and expressed his personal view that the town should also “consider moving some baseball diamonds used only in warm weather.”

This, Daley said, would allow for a sale of the Wing playing fields that could help underwrite any work deemed worthy of unfolding with the buildings.

Commission member Don Bayley suggests a commission letter to selectmen and board chairman Ralph Vitacco, delineating “just what the historical panel considers historic about Wing.”

The school department, meanwhile, plans to depart the Wing complex at the end of the scholastic year in June, agreeing to place funds in the system budget – under a memorandum of understanding with Town Hall – to provide for the school’s security.

Sandwich Schools Supt. C. Richard Canfield in recent months said that – community fondness and historical arguments aside – Wing operating systems are tired and aging and need monitoring, even while the building is closed.

Selectman Patrick Ellis serves on the committee riding herd on Wing re-use studies and the professional review of the building’s basic suitability for a new life.

Ellis last month said it is amazing that “there are numerous levels of flooring” throughout the Wing complex, something that evolved as new sections over the decades were added to the 1927 structure.

“Various levels complicate matters when considering possible re-use,” he said.

Historic Town Neck Brickyard Exposed by Erosion

Update: Jan. 2, 2015 – Sandwich Scrambles To Fill Beach Cut on

It’s not news to anyone that Town Neck Beach erosion is worsening due to the blockage of longshore transport of sand by the canal. Recent efforts to secure dredge material from the canal have highlighted the exposure of bricks and ash from the historic brick kiln. Our own Don Bayley was recently interviewed for Cape Cast. There will be a test at the end.

What year did the kiln start operations? How did the brick kiln save Sandwich from shelling by the British? And what war was it?

And there’s this, from WBZ Chanel 4 in Boston, shown on their evening newscast November 20, 2014. Catch a glimps of 3 Historical Commission members, Don Bayley, Lisa Hassler, and Carolyn Crowell. The rest of us ended up on the cutting room floor.

Sandwich grist mill wheel needs replacement

Wicked Local Sandwich By Paul Gately
Posted Nov. 1, 2014 @ 3:03 pm

Sandwich Grist MillSandwich Assistant Town Manager Douglas Lapp says it has become imperative to replace the wheel at the historic Dexter Grist Mill downtown next to Town Hall.

Lapp said the work is needed to avoid the mill being shut down for a prolonged period should the wheel fail.

“The wheel won’t last,” he said. “We need to do this replacement as soon as possible.”

Lapp said a Community Preservation Act funding request is likely; the replacement project would probably cost $50,000.

“We don’t want it to fail and go off-line for a period,” Lapp said. “The wheel can’t be repaired any longer.”

The grist mill in the heart of the village may be the most photographed historic element in the area, situated between Town Hall and Shawme Pond along the mill stream, whose wall was reconstructed earlier this year as part of the Phase II pedestrian-plaza and bubbler project at Town Hall.

Preservation, Not Demolition!

Paul Gately, March 19. 2014 2:24PM
This is the course being considered by the historic district committee as it deals with Kevin Hamlin’s request to demolish the centuries-old barn on his property at 45 Water St. across from the Wing School.
Committee Chairman Bill Collins said the so-called demo-request has prompted “considerable public interest” in the structure and lots of phone calls. One call came from Thomas Keyes, who is Hamlin’s neighbor across Water Street.
Keyes is willing to send a team of archaeologists to measure the Hamlin barn, which badly leaks through the deteriorating roof, and perform a survey.
“That’s not a bad idea at all,” Collins said. “Mr. Keyes would be interested in moving pieces of the barn to his own property and rebuild it there.”
Ian Ellison of Ellison Timberframes, meanwhile, has visited the Hamlin barn, which is situated in the Town Hall Historic District and remains a part of Sandwich history.
Ellison says the barn must come down given its deteriorating condition. But he would rather this happened in pieces instead of via the wrecking ball.
Ellison says the fate of barns is a continually developing topic across North America. He has also worked on palaces in France and remains a preservation enthusiast.
District committee member Betty Allen, meanwhile, cites a barn preservation/stewardship program and says there are considerable tax credits available to property owners who try to preserve – one way or another – their barns.
At this point, the Hamlin barn is private property so Community Preservation Act funds cannot be requested for preservation efforts. But if the Town of Sandwich stepped in and bought the structure, then the barn could be taken apart, with pieces stored in a secure and dry place until they could be used again. That path would allow for a CPA funding request, district committee members said last week.
Collins said the barn is in “a prominent location and deserves special attention. This is something on which, I think, we have to move slowly.”
Hamlin agrees, to a point. He agreed to a two-week review period before returning to the district committee. But, he said, the barn roof continues to leak and if dismantling piece-by-piece is to be pursued, the holes in the roof would have to be covered in the interim.
Parts of the barn that might be preserved include tie-in joints in the roof system; the windmill could be stored out of the weather; and both the wooden frame and some metalwork could be saved for later restoration or reproduction.
A small section of the roof joinery would likely prove invaluable to historians as an actual example of construction work from the 18th century; perhaps more so than photographs of the barn that would be placed in the Sandwich Town Archives.
“We need time to explore the alternatives to demolition,” Collins said. “To consider ways to save the historical aspects of the building and to determine if the barn can be secured until things are worked out.”
The district committee in the last year dealt with two other barn-demo-applications: one at 108 Main St. and another at 158 Main St. The structure at 108 Main St. was demolished but the property owner agreed to replace it with a garage with so-called “Streetscape” worthiness, reflecting what was removed.
The 158 Main St. structure was also razed. The property owner promised a design similar to the barn, but the new place will not be a replica.

Reprinted from the Sandwich Broadsider.

Sandwich Seeks Bidders for Deacon Eldred House

GEORGE BRENNAN, Cape Cod Times, January 19, 2013

SANDWICH — The town is seeking bids for the Deacon Eldred House, a 1756 house located on Shawme Pond in the town’s historical village center.

Deacon Eldred House
Deacon Eldred House, Sandwich, MA

At a 2011 town meeting, voters authorized the selectmen to sell the property with a preservation restriction. The building is used by the Thornton W. Burgess Society as a museum. At the time, there was strong indication that the society would bid on the property and that ownership would allow them to raise money needed to do an estimated $400,000 in repairs.

The total assessed value of the house and land is $554,100, according to town assessors’ records.

The property is a little more than three-quarters of an acre and is just a short distance from Sandwich Town Hall.

As part of the request for proposals, the town has agreed to put an article on a future town meeting warrant to use $50,000 in community preservation money to help with necessary repairs, according to the bid documents provided by the town. Strong preference will be given to bidders who propose using the building for “philanthropic, museum, tourist or educational uses,” the documents state.

The bid specifications also require that the new owners provide access to the pond for “boating, picnicking and other recreational purposes.” The town retains a first right of refusal to purchase the property back in the future for $1 if it is ever put up for sale.

Town leaders have promised to honor a lease with the Thornton W. Burgess Society through the end of 2016, no matter who the successful bidder is for the property.

Bids will be accepted through March 29. At 10 a.m. Feb. 6, the town will offer site visits to prospective bidders.

Historic Markers For Sandwich Homes

Sandwich Historical Commission Marker Program

Program coordinator, Bill Daley and marker painter, Nell Gould with a recent addition to the program

May 22, 2012 – The town of Sandwich is very fortunate to have hundreds of homes and buildings that date back to the 17th, 18th and 19thcenturies. They have been preserved by different owners over the centuries and they reflect the many building styles, including the Salt Boxes of the 1600’s; the Capes, Georgian Colonials, and Federal architecture of the 1700’s; and the Greek Revivals and Victorians of the 1800’s. To recognize and promote the unique character of the town, the Sandwich Historical Commission created the Historical Marker Program a few years ago. Continue reading Historic Markers For Sandwich Homes