Falmouth, Massachusetts

217,385pages on
this wiki
Add New Page
Talk0 Share
Falmouth, Massachusetts
—  Town  —
Nobska Lighthouse, Falmouth
Official seal of Falmouth, Massachusetts
Falmouth MA highlight large.PNG
Location in Barnstable County in Massachusetts
Coordinates: 41°33′05″N 70°36′55″W / 41.55139, -70.61528Coordinates: 41°33′05″N 70°36′55″W / 41.55139, -70.61528
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Barnstable
Settled 1660
Incorporated 1686
 • Type Representative town meeting
 • Town
Robert Whritenour
 • Total 54.4 sq mi (141.0 km2)
 • Land 44.2 sq mi (114.6 km2)
 • Water 10.2 sq mi (26.4 km2)
Elevation 10 ft (3 m)
Population (2000)
 • Total 32,660
 • Density 738.2/sq mi (285.0/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 02540
Area code(s) 508 / 774
FIPS code 25-23105
GNIS feature ID 0618253

Falmouth is a town in Barnstable County, Massachusetts, United States; Barnstable County is coextensive with Cape Cod. The population was 32,660 at the 2000 census. Today Falmouth is well known as the terminal for the Steamship Authority ferries to Martha's Vineyard and as the home of several scientific organizations such as the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, WHOI, The Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) and the Woods Hole Research Center, WHRC.

For geographic and demographic information on specific parts of the town of Falmouth, please see the articles on East Falmouth, Falmouth Village, North Falmouth, Teaticket, West Falmouth, and Woods Hole. There are also the villages of Hatchville and Waquoit, which are not census-designated places and both fall within the village of East Falmouth based on postal service.


Falmouth was first settled by English colonists in 1660 and was officially incorporated in 1686, and named by Bartholomew Gosnold for Falmouth, Cornwall, England, his home port. Early principal activities were farming, salt works, whaling, shipping, and sheep. Sheep husbandry was very popular due to the introduction of Merino sheep and the beginnings of water-powered mills that could process the wool. In 1837, Falmouth averaged about 50 sheep per sq. mile.

Falmouth saw brief action in the War of 1812 when the area around Falmouth Heights, on its southern coast, was bombarded by several British frigates and ships of the line, and Massachusetts militia hastily entrenched themselves on the beaches to repulse a possible British landing which never came. By 1872 the train had come to Falmouth and Woods Hole and some of the first summer homes were established. By the late 1800s cranberries were being cultivated and strawberries were being raised for the Boston market. Large scale dairying was tried in the early 1900s in interior regions. After the improvement in highways, and thanks in part to the heavy use of neighboring Otis Air National Guard Base during WWII, population growth increased significantly. There were large home building booms in the 1970s followed by others in the 1980s and 1990s.

It is the birthplace in 1859 of Katharine Lee Bates, author, poet, and lyricist of America the Beautiful.

Robert Manry sailed from Falmouth in 1965 aboard his 13.5 foot (4 m) sailboat reaching Falmouth, England 78 days later.


File:Falmouth-Juniper Point.JPG

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 54.4 square miles (141 km2), of which, 44.2 square miles (114 km2) of it is land and 10.2 square miles (26 km2) of it (18.70%) is water. Most of Falmouth, like the rest of Cape Cod, sits on glacial sands composed of glacial outwash and moraine deposits. However the soil in the southern part of the town is more rocky and dense, like the rest of New England, and many glacial erratics are scattered about, dropped by the retreating glaciers. The climate is temperate marine. There is no exposed bedrock. Rainfall is evenly distributed throughout the year and averages 2 to 3 in (50 - 75 mm) per month.

Falmouth lies on the southwestern tip of Cape Cod. It is bordered by Bourne and Sandwich to the north, Mashpee to the east, Vineyard Sound to the south, and Buzzards Bay to the west. At its closest point, Falmouth is approximately 560 yards (510 m) from Nonamesset Island, the easternmost island of the town of Gosnold and the Elizabeth Islands. It is also approximately 3-1+3{{{4}}} miles (4.3 km) north-northwest of Martha's Vineyard, the closest land to the island. Falmouth is approximately 14 miles (23 km) south of the Bourne Bridge, 22 miles (35 km) west of Barnstable, and 77 miles (124 km) south-southeast of Boston.

Falmouth's topography is similar to the rest of Cape Cod's, with many small ponds, creeks and inlets surrounded by the pines and oaks of the Cape and often rocky beachfront. Falmouth's southern shore is notable for a series of ponds and rivers spaced very closely together, all of which travel some distance into the town. These include, from west to east, Falmouth Inner Harbor, Little Pond, Great Pond (which leads to the Dexter and Coonamessett Rivers), Green Pond, Bourne's Pond, Eel Pond (which leads to Childs River), and Waquoit Bay, which lies along the Mashpee town line. The Buzzards Bay side of the town is similar, with the largest inlet being Megansett Cove along the Bourne town line.


Steamship Authority, Woods Hole MA

The Steamship Authority

Falmouth's main route is Route 28, which arcs through the town from the northwest corner to the southeast. From the Bourne town line until just south of its junction with Route 28A (which until that point runs parallel), Route 28 is a divided, limited-access highway. For the rest of its distance, it is a surface road, snaking its way through the town. As it is one of the two major east-west routes on the Cape, Route 28 is extremely busy. However, due to its passage through congested and built-up parts of town, it would be extremely challenging to widen the route.

Also important is Route 151, which runs from a point near the northwest corner of the town (where it connects with 28, which is still limited-access), and follows just south of the town line until crossing the eastern line into Mashpee (where it ends in a junction with 28).

Falmouth is also home to The Woods Hole, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority. Daily ferry service brings tourists, residents and businesses alike from the mainland to Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard. It is the main ferry line between the Vineyard and the mainland (as Nantucket is further west, its main line leaves Hyannis).

The Massachusetts Coastal Railroad provides rail freight service to North Falmouth, where a spur runs into Otis Air Base to serve a trash transfer station. Also, as of a June 25, 2009 article, the company plans to re-extend passenger railroad service to the town, complete with dinner and tourist trains, though this will also be only in North Falmouth, due to the fact that the other 8 miles (13 km) of railroad track had been replaced with the current Shining Sea Bikeway. On November 21, 2009, North Falmouth saw its first passenger train in at least 12 years. The nearest inter-city (Amtrak) passenger rail stations are Providence and Boston's South Station. The Middleborough/Lakeville and Kingston/Route 3 stations of the MBTA's commuter rail system provide the closest service to Boston.

There is a private air park in East Falmouth,[1] and the nearest national and international air service can be reached at Logan International Airport in Boston. There is a regional airport in nearby Hyannis.

Falmouth is also serviced by the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority bus routes.


As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 32,660 people, 13,859 households, and 8,980 families residing in the town. The population density was 738.2 inhabitants per square mile (285.0 /km2). There were 20,055 housing units at an average density of 453.3 per square mile (175.0 /km2). The racial makeup of the town was 93.39% White, 1.82% Black or African American, 0.51% Native American, 0.92% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 1.44% from other races, and 1.91% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.28% of the population.

There were 13,859 households out of which 24.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.0% were married couples living together, 10.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.2% were non-families. 29.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.84.

In the town the population was spread out with 20.7% under the age of 18, 4.8% from 18 to 24, 24.5% from 25 to 44, 27.5% from 45 to 64, and 22.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45 years. For every 100 females there were 87.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.9 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $48,191, and the median income for a family was $57,422. Males had a median income of $41,797 versus $28,867 for females. The per capita income for the town was $27,548. About 4.5% of families and 6.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.8% of those under age 18 and 6.2% of those age 65 or over.


Falmouth is represented in the Massachusetts House of Representatives as a part of two districts, the Third Barnstable (which also includes portions of Barnstable, Bourne and Mashpee), and the Barnstable, Dukes and Nantucket District, which includes all of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. The town is represented in the Massachusetts Senate as a part of the Plymouth and Barnstable district, which includes Bourne, Kingston, Pembroke, Plymouth, Plympton, Sandwich and portions of Barnstable.[3] The town is patrolled by the Seventh (Bourne) Barracks of Troop D of the Massachusetts State Police.[4]

On the national level, Falmouth is a part of Massachusetts's 10th congressional district, and is currently represented by Bill Delahunt.

Falmouth is governed by the representative town meeting form of government, led by a board of selectmen. The town operates its own police and fire departments, with a central police station and five fire stations. The town's central library, recently reopened after renovations, is located downtown. There are branches in North and East Falmouth, and private libraries in West Falmouth and Woods Hole. There are seven post offices in town for the six ZIP codes, although several overlap and the main office handles the majority of the work. Falmouth is also the site of Falmouth Hospital, which serves the Upper Cape region.


Falmouth's public school system serves about 4,500 students yearly. There are four schools, East Falmouth, Mullen-Hall, North Falmouth, and Teaticket, which serve the elementary school population, from pre-kindergarten to fourth grade. The Morse Pond Middle School serves grades five and six, while the Lawrence Junior High School serves grades seven and eight. Falmouth High School covers grades 9-12. (Prior to 1974 the 9-12 grades were in the Lawrence building and known as Lawrence High School.) FHS's athletics teams are nicknamed the Clippers, and their colors are maroon and white. They compete in the Atlantic Coast League, having moved recently from the Old Colony League. Their chief rival is nearby Barnstable High School. The public schools are supported in part by the Volunteers in Public Schools (VIPS), various PTO associations, the Falmouth Scholarship Association, the newly created Falmouth Education Foundation(FEF), and the Woods Hole Science Technology Partnership.

Falmouth is also the home of two private schools: Falmouth Academy, a private school which serves grades 7 through 12; and Heritage Christian Academy, a pre-kindergarten through eighth grade school which is affiliated with the Assemblies of God. Falmouth high school students may also choose to attend the Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical High School in Bourne free of charge. Resident students can also attend Sturgis Charter Public School in Hyannis also free of charge, pending academic acceptance.

Sports and RecreationEdit

The Falmouth Commodores of the Cape Cod Baseball League play at Arnie Allen Diamond at Guv Fuller Field from mid-June to early August.

Falmouth is the home of its namesake Falmouth Road Race, an annual race started in 1973 that draws over 10,000 runners from all over the world.

Falmouth is also home to The College Light Opera Company, which performs 9 shows every summer at the historic Highfield Theatre. Productions began in 1969 and have become a staple of the Falmouth Summer Season.

Falmouth has also been home to the Barnstable County Fairgrounds since the 1970s.

Falmouth is the home to many notable High School athletes such as...

Richie Litterest a Tennis Star, and Nelson Baptiste, who plays basketball for the Falmouth High School squad led the clippers to a Division 2 State Title.

The Falmouth High School Field Hockey team has been unstoppable in years past.

Notable residentsEdit

People who have lived in the town at one time or another:`


  1. ^
  2. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ Index of Legislative Representation by City and Town, from
  4. ^ Station D-7, SP Bourne

External linksEdit

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Falmouth, Massachusetts. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.

Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.

Also on Fandom

Random Wiki