Category Archives: Preservation News

Historical Preservation Awards

The Sandwich Historical Commission held an awards ceremony this Spring to honor the preservation of a number of historic homes and buildings. Member William Daley hosted the event at Oak Crest Cove.

Award recipients were:


Janet Chakarian,  44 Water St

Delphi Construction (Sand Hill Community Center 16 Dewey Ave)


Chris & Cassie Dougherty (168 Main Street)

Brenda Kelly & Jeffrey McCarthy (6 Grove Street)

Steve Ottani Of Half Cape Construction (4 School Street)


Bill & Joanne Richardson (76 Main Street)

congrats to all!!

Plaques help mark Sandwich history


By Paul Gately
Posted Sep 7, 2018 at 10:57 AM

The Sandwich Historical Commission’s historic marker/plaque program has
reached the 154 mark, and more awards are on the way in a town where
many homes are much older than 100 years.

Commission member William Daley rides herd on efforts to recognize and
designate homes a century old or more in all sections of town, something that
helps tell Sandwich’s veritable way-we-were story that dates to the 1600s.
The house markers are distinctive, with a white background with dark green
lettering, crafted by Doug Amidon.

Daley said that only once has a homeowner objected to plaque placement or
otherwise recognizing something historic about their property.

“Markers don’t restrict home ownership,” Daley said. “They just recognize
that you’re living in a house with a history and that it’s a wonderful thing to
have. Most owners are pleasantly surprised about their property and what
owners previously lived there, perhaps glass factory workers or stagecoach

“Some are amazed the original owners had numerous kids in a small Cape Cod
house,” he added.

The oldest property recognized to date is the John Ellis House at 76 Main
Street. The William Freeman House circa 1690 at 432 Route 6A is also listed
as a historic property, complete with a plaque.

Daley in his background research about Sandwich homes has not uncovered
any of local history’s mysteries. But he has “discovered curious things.”

One story, he said, involves an Irishman who moved to Sandwich, worked in
the glass factory, joined the Union Army during the Civil War, was promoted
to lieutenant, and was later killed. His family left Sandwich.

Daley encourages townspeople who live in homes at least 100 years old to
consider the plaque program. If interested, they should contact him at
wfdaley[at] or visit
Download a one-page application form

Daley will check property records at the Sandwich Archives and the
Barnstable County Registry of Deeds to confirm background details. The
application will be brought to the full historical commission, which will vote
on whether or not to accept the paperwork.

The homeowner will then be informed of the approval, and Amidon will
create the marker. There is an $80 charge.

The historic markers program should not be confused with historical
commission discussions about establishing a preservation awards program.
That is a separate undertaking still in a discussion phase.

Sandwich Historical Commission reaffirms stance: Save 1927 Wing

By Paul Gately
The Sandwich Historical Commission is not backing away from its strong stand taken in November 2015 that the town should make every effort to try and save the 1927 building from the wrecking ball at the Wing School complex along Water Street.

The commission — in an Oct. 26 letter to selectmen and Town Manager Bud Dunham — reaffirmed its stand on Wing and the building’s “historical significance to the town.”


Wing School Update


By Paul Gately

July 07. 2016 12:58PM

Sandwich Historical Commission reiterates historic merit of ‘1927 Wing’

The Sandwich Historical Commission takes issue with sentiment expressed by some selectmen that the 1927 section of the Henry T. Wing School might not be worth preserving and instead probably should be torn down.

Commission members July 6 reiterated their support for selectmen opting to — at the very least — sell the old Sandwich High School to a suitable developer, who would preserve the distinctive redbrick exterior at Water Street.

(from the Postcard Collection at the Sandwich Town Archives)

Commission member William Daley, after learning about some selectmen’s views, sent a message to the Wing Family of America group asking for moral support in any upcoming effort to save Wing.

Daley contests some sentiment by selectmen that the old high school might not be duly delineated as “historical.”

“Just the exterior is what we’re interested in and whatever a developer may want to do in there,” Daley said.

Commission chairman Gregory Anderson said the overall “what to do with Wing” issue is “sexy. It’s what everyone’s talking about. I think we should be able to put some effort into something we feel very strongly about.

“It would be a shame if all of this is simply rolled up into a demolition party,” Anderson said.

Commission members also remain disenchanted by a Town Hall decision last year to leave them out of a Wing-review effort in the first place and by the point that they were rebuffed shortly afterward when they sought to be added to the group considering options.

“But we can work to keep this key issue front and center,” Anderson said. “It’s the best we can do right now.”

Daley said it might serve the commission well for members to meet — perhaps informally — with the Sandwich Historic District Committee, the group that reviews all Old Kings Highway issues affecting property south of Route 6.

Commission members agree with the point that most residents don’t understand the distinctly separate roles of the two groups. The commission role on historical matters is advisory and one of advocacy. The district panel’s role is review and enforcement.

Daley said he doubts the district committee would ever approve a certificate of demolition for the 1927 Wing section. He said it makes some sense to discuss the Wing fate and future and the apparent willingness of some selectmen “to knock this building down.”

Selectmen, meanwhile, are considering myriad Wing options, including total complex demolition in favor of creating open space and playing fields. No decisions have been reached.

Selectmen Chairman Susan James, in this regard, promises much more community discussion about Wing even as school district administrative offices remain in the building for another scholastic year.

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.

Preserving Sandwich’s Brady’s Island

By Paul Gately
Posted Feb. 6, 2014 @ 1:21 pm
Updated Feb 6, 2014 at 1:25 PM

Brady’s Island is part of that natural swath between the Mill Creek marsh to the east and the wetland on the edge of downtown Sandwich. It is an historical tract that existed long before they built Route 6A right through the middle of it.

William Burbank, a planning board member and retired landscape architect experienced with difficult terrain, wants to get the Brady tract back “to its historical commonplace. I don’t know what that would be yet, but the idea is to take valuable areas and preserve open space fallen into disrepair.”

Most motorists drive right through Brady’s Island and miss it altogether. The sign is easily overlooked across from fire department headquarters. But from a small clearing, trails snake toward the marsh; toward River Road.

Suffice it to say, anybody trying to walk through the entire marshy area will get wet. This is likely why in the old days, ditches were dug to drain sections where agriculture was undertaken.

Behind the police and fire stations, the tract stretches toward the Sandwich Boardwalk; crossing the railroad tracks. The entire area is under the care and custody of the Sandwich Conservation Commission.

Burbank for much of this winter has pursued a grant award from the Sandwich Economic Initiative Corp., and he hopes to generate Sandwich Historical Commission interest in the nascent preservation effort. The historical commission in February will consider Burbank’s project ideas.

There is a need for signage, he said, and long-term clearing and maintenance in places; including five acres of upland behind the public safety buildings.

Burbank said he has considered the idea of constructing a train station along the tracks beyond the police and fire stations; something, he said, he has discussed with Thomas Cahir, the rail enthusiast and director of the Cape Regional Transit Authority.

Burbank said the Brady tract is a “charming open space” right next to everyday happenings in town. It was once the homestead of a “very independent family,” he said. He’d like to locate the foundation of the Brady homestead “and leave it as it is.”

Historical commission member Carolyn Crowell says a project such as that Burbank envisions would need “a general town information campaign” based on material held in the town archives.

There are issues to consider, Crowell said. One would involve any new structures being placed above the floodplain mark, something likely to run afoul of the Old Kings Highway Historic District Committee.

Burbank says a new channel into the area would help kill invasive vegetation, which appears at first glance to be taking over. But Crowell adds the point that more water flowing in means tidal water ultimately endangering the village area.

Burbank nonetheless argues the point that Brady’s Island preservation is a “tangible” project; even though it will need a grant award, local support and Town Meeting funds.

“We need to plan carefully,” he told the historical commission. “But we need to move briskly. This area is a real gem. It’s a diamond in the rough. It offers great views of the village. It would attract strollers, painters and photographers.”

The area will get some publicity later this year. Commission member Bill Daley, wrote a chapter on Brady’s Island for the Sandwich 375th birthday celebration book

Then they built 6A

Town Archivist Barbara Gill said the tract was uninterrupted until 1930 when the state built Route 6A through it. She said the Brady family lived on the natural expanse until the early part of the 20th century; with its homestead on the west side of Route 6A.

The area was full of haying operations, Gill said. “Special wood-float shoes were designed for the horses to cut across the marsh during harvests,” she said.

Gill said that after Sandwich was settled, the large expanse of marsh was divided up so townspeople could move in and cut the hay.

The Brady family at times included farmers, glass factory workers and tenders at the railroad crossings.

– See more at:

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 building could become new cultural center

By George Brennan,

July 28, 2013

SANDWICH – An old building where the children of glass-factory workers once went to school could get new life as a cultural center.

Selectmen have agreed to allow the town’s Historical Commission to spend up to $15,000 to determine what it would take to restore the former Sand Hill School, known more recently as the Clark-Haddad Memorial Building.

Continue reading Sandwich building could become new cultural center

Public/private effort may chart Sand Hill School future in Sandwich

Posted Jun 10, 2013 @ 06:00 AM

When it comes to deciding the fate and future of historic properties around Sandwich, the town has had limited success in recent years; Town Hall restoration aside.

What to do with the Forestdale Schoolhouse, Deacon Eldred House on Shawme Pond and the old Sand Hill School / Clark-Haddad Building at Dewey Avenue are cases in point.

The Sand Hill School topic has been filled with debate and discussion for years. That discussion continues. Continue reading Public/private effort may chart Sand Hill School future in Sandwich

Old Town Burying Ground Gets Restoration Work

Old Town Burying Ground RestorationThirty-nine damaged and fallen gravestones in Sandwich’s oldest burying ground are getting professional restoration this fall. Work was begun in late September and is likely to continue into November, 2012 in a contract initiated by Jennifer Madden of the Historical Commission, with assistance from former commission member Kaethe Maguire and the cooperation of the Cemetery Commission. Funding for the project is split between the Cemetery Commission and Community Preservation Committee.