Places to Visit
Dexter Grist Mill
The mill (1654) at the intersection of Main and Water streets was fully restored in 1961, and is not just a picturesque attraction: you can go in and see the wooden mill mechanism at work grinding corn, and you can buy bags of fresh cornmeal the same day it’s ground.
Heritage Museums and Gardens
Between 1921 and 1943 noted rhododendron cultivator Charles O. Dexter developed between 5,000 and 10,000 seedlings annually at his estate at 67 Grove Street . Many were planted on the property and can be seen by the public today. In 1969, the heir to the Eli Lilly & Co. pharmaceutical empire, Josiah K. Lilly III (1916-1995) and his wife established Heritage Plantation of Sandwich at this location. Known today as Heritage Museums and Gardens, the site includes an Auto Museum, the Old East Windmill, the American History Museum and an Art Museum. The museums include many items from Lilly’s personal collections.
The Sandwich Boardwalk crosses Mill Creek and beautiful marshes, leading to a lovely public beach on Cape Cod Bay. Stretching over 1000 feet in length, the original wooden walkway was virtually destroyed by Hurricane Bob in 1991. Residents and supporters rebuilt the Boardwalk by selling over 1700 personalized planks. It remains one of Sandwich’s unique treasures, offering scenic views from the Cape Cod Canal to Scorton Creek. To reach the Boardwalk, follow Route 6A to Jarves Street. The Boardwalk is located at the end of Jarves and Harbor Streets.
Sandwich Glass Museum
First Church Meetinghouse
(now a private residence, but do include it on your walking tour though town)
This was the site of the original First Parish Meeting House, built in 1638 and the first public building on Cape Cod. Three different structures have occupied the site-the present one has stood since 1830.
The Story of the “Old Titus” Clock:
In 1765, Reverend Abraham Williams became pastor of the church, bringing with him a 19-year old black slave named Titus Winchester. Reverend Williams died in 1784 and in his Last Will & Testament he freed Winchester in recognition of his many years of faithful service as church caretaker.
Winchester went to sea as a steward and, when he died in 1808, left his entire estate (approximately $3,300) for the purpose of purchasing a clock for the Meeting House “so that it would ring for many years to come in memory of his former master.” The clock became to be known as “Old Titus” to the people of Sandwich .
Winchester was so respected by the Sandwich townspeople, that he was interred in the historic cemetery in a tomb very near Rev. Williams that has the longest inscription of any of the gravestones (it refers to him as a “servant” rather than a slave). (Incidentally, The Old Town Cemetery, which dates from the 1660s is fascinating to visit; the tombstone art and inscriptions speak volumes about the people and the times in which they lived.)
This photo is NOT the Titus Clock. In Sandwich, A Cape Cod Town, R.A. Lovell Jr. writes: “One memorable Sunday night in 1873 some control snapped and the clock struck off 406 bongs of the big bell before running down. A new works was clearly needed, and the town’s benefactor Jonathan Bourne of New Bedford stepped in with an offer of a new four-faced clock. A larger spire was constructed and the clock installed in 1880.” The Clock and Bell Tower have recently been restored by current owner Christopher Wilson. (The old church, which was used for a Doll Museum a few years ago, is now a private residence.)
Saddle and Pillion Graves
A lesser-known site that history buffs will like.
Edmond Freeman, a founder of the oldest town on the Cape, and his wife are buried here. Edmond’s grave is in the shape of a pillion; his wife Elizabeth’s is the “saddle.”
Other Places To Visit:
- Shawme Crowell State Forest
- Dexter’s Grist Mill
- First Church of Christ AKA The “Christopher Wren” Church and the “Elvis” Church
- The 1675 Hoxie House
- Wing Fort House
- Green Briar Nature Center and Jam Kitchen
- Nye Homestead
Things To Do
The Cape’s Oldest Town Sandwich celebrated its 375th Anniversary in 2014. See Photos and Videos of all the Celebratory Events
a compilation of stories and photos by present and former Sandwich residents, students and historians.
Click here for a sample story. It was sent in by Marilyn Newkirk Butler and is titled “Setting Roots in Sandwich – Twice.” This is an example of the many wonderful stories we received from people who truly love Sandwich and which made editing this book a real pleasure.