History

The King’s Highway in 1931

The King’s Highway in 1931

A Brief History of Route 6A

From its apparent beginning as a Native American trail, Route 6A evolved into a principal east-west cart path for early Cape Cod farmers and other settlers. In the late 17th century it became an extension of the Plymouth Colony’s “King’s Highway.”

With the rise of 18th century maritime activities on Cape Cod, sea captain homes, taverns and other commercial activities sprouted along the route, giving occasion to Boston-Provincetown stagecoaches to stop.

In the next century, the demise of maritime industries prompted a focus on cranberry production in the district. Meantime, residents who had seen the corridor stripped of trees to support farming and shipbuilding planted new shade trees. Many of these, now mature, grace the roadway today.

By the early 20th century as automobiles replaced horse-drawn carriages and tourism developed on the Cape, the highway required a paved surface. Preservation efforts ensued, and today Route 6A remains faithful to the original trail in most areas.

(Source:Cape Cod Commission)

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