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Historic New England's publication celebrates Cape Cod Canal centennial

Cape Cod Canal

BOSTON – Using images from the Nina Heald Webber Collection, Historic New England's Cape Cod Canal by Timothy T. Orwig, is an illustrated timeline showcasing the canal’s initial concept, its construction, and later improvements.

For centuries, the shoals and high winds around Cape Cod turned its waters into a ships’ graveyard. As early as 1623, Miles Standish proposed a shorter, safer passage by building a canal linking Cape Cod Bay with Buzzards Bay, and in 1776, George Washington ordered the first of many surveys. All attempts failed until 1914, when the Cape Cod Canal opened as a private toll canal.

Today it is the widest sea-level canal in the world, and continues to be an engineering marvel, a vital shipping link used annually by up to 20,000 vessels, and a summer destination for locals and visitors. The 200+ black and white archival images in the book document the Cape Cod Canal’s history from its first unsuccessful building efforts in the 1800s, through its 1909–1914 construction, and subsequent improvements in the 1930s.

Copies of Cape Cod Canal are available at Historic New England by calling 617-227-3956 or by visiting our online shop. The 128-page softcover book, published by Arcadia Publishing, sells for $21.99. The book sale date is this Monday, October 7, 2013.


About Historic New England
Historic New England is the oldest, largest, and most comprehensive regional heritage organization in the nation. We bring history to life while preserving the past for everyone interested in exploring the authentic New England experience from the seventeenth century to today. Historic New England owns and operates thirty-six historic homes and landscapes spanning five states. We share the region’s history through vast collections, publications, public programs, museum properties, archives, and family stories that document more than four hundred years of life in New England. Visit

Media contact: Susanna Crampton

Historic New England's publication celebrates Cape Cod Canal centennial