kids encyclopedia robot

Sandwich, Massachusetts facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Sandwich, Massachusetts
Sandwich Town Hall (1834) and Congregational Church (1848)
Sandwich Town Hall (1834) and Congregational Church (1848)
Official seal of Sandwich, Massachusetts
Post Tot Naufracia Portus  (Latin)
"After So Many Shipwrecks, A Haven"
Location in Barnstable County, Massachusetts
Location in Barnstable County, Massachusetts
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Barnstable
Settled 1637
Incorporated September 3, 1639
 • Type Open town meeting
 • Total 44.2 sq mi (114.5 km2)
 • Land 42.7 sq mi (110.7 km2)
 • Water 1.5 sq mi (3.8 km2)
20 ft (6 m)
 • Total 20,259
 • Density 474/sq mi (183.0/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (Eastern)
ZIP codes
02537, 02563, 02644
Area codes 508, 774
FIPS code 25-59735
GNIS feature ID 0618259

Sandwich is a town in Barnstable County, Massachusetts, and is the oldest town on Cape Cod. The town motto is Post tot Naufracia Portus, "after so many shipwrecks, a haven". The population was 20,259 at the 2020 census.


Cape Cod was occupied for thousands of years by indigenous peoples, including the historic Algonquian-speaking Wampanoag, who encountered the English colonists of the Massachusetts Bay and Plymouth Colonies. Sandwich was first settled by Europeans in 1637 by a group from Saugus with the permission of the Plymouth Colony. It is named for the seaport of Sandwich, Kent, England. It was incorporated in 1639 and is the oldest town on Cape Cod. The western portion of the town was separated from the original "Town of Sandwich", and it became the town of Bourne in 1884.

Memorial to Benjamin Nye and Katherine Tupper
Memorial to Benjamin Nye and Katherine Tupper

There are many historic homes in Sandwich, including the Benjamin Nye Homestead on Old County Road (formerly known as the original "Old King's Highway"), and the Benjamin Holway House built in 1789 at 379 Route 6A, which property hosts one of the original Nye Homestead structures, built in 1698 and believed to have originally served as either a tavern or a shop. It is now used as a law office.

Dexter's Grist Mill in Sandwich, Massachusetts
Dexter's Grist Mill

Sandwich was the site of an early Quaker settlement and today hosts the oldest continuous Quaker Meeting in the US. There were some conflicts with other religious groups, and so some Quakers left the town, either for further settlements along the Cape or elsewhere, including places such as Dartmouth. Many of Sandwich's prominent families have Quaker ties.

Early industry revolved around agriculture, with fishing and trading also providing for the town. Later, the town grew a small industrial component along the Scusset River and Old Harbor Creek and its tributaries. Today, most of its industry revolves around tourism.

Deming Jarves founded the Boston & Sandwich Glass Factory in 1825. Sandwich had proximity to a shallow harbor, was a possible canal site, and had local supplies of timber to fuel the glass furnaces. The glass works primarily made lead-based glass, and was known for its use of color. Jarves received several patents for his improvements in glass mold designs and pressing techniques. The factory declined after the Civil War due to competition from Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia companies that produced less expensive pressed soda-lime glass tableware.

The Cape Cod Canal was constructed through the town starting in 1909, opening for travel in 1914. The Canal Generating Plant went online in 1968.

Boardwalk at Sandwich, MA
Boardwalk in Sandwich

There are several attractions in Sandwich, including Heritage Museums and Gardens, the Wing Fort House, the Sandwich Glass Museum, the Thornton Burgess Museum and Green Briar Nature Center and Jam Kitchen, Hoxie House (the oldest house on Cape Cod), the Dan'l Webster Inn, the Dexter Grist Mill (the oldest on Cape Cod), the Sandwich Friends (Quaker) Meetinghouse (the oldest in North America), and Shawme Lake. The Sandwich town boardwalk is also popular for tourists. The walkway was destroyed by Hurricane Bob in 1991, but was rebuilt via private donations. Sandwich is home to numerous art galleries, rare book, and antique stores. It is also home to a major portion of Otis Air National Guard Base, including half the land that the runways are on.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 44.2 square miles (114.5 km2), of which 42.7 square miles (110.7 km2) is land and 1.5 square miles (3.8 km2), or 3.32%, is water. Sandwich is bordered by Cape Cod Bay to the north, Barnstable to the east, Mashpee and Falmouth to the south, and Bourne to the west. It is approximately 57 miles (92 km) south-southeast of Boston.

Cape Cod Canal by Sandwich, Massachusetts
East entrance to the Cape Cod Canal

Sandwich is the site of the Cape Cod Bay entrance to the Cape Cod Canal. The northern point of Sandwich, where Sagamore Hill and Scusset Beach State Reservation lie, is divided from the rest of the town by the canal. The town is also the location of the Shawme-Crowell State Forest and the Massachusetts State Game Farm. The town is home to six beaches along the shores of Cape Cod Bay. The rest of the town's geography is typical of the rest of the Cape, with many small ponds and hills, with most of the trees being pine or oak. Sandwich is also the site of Old Harbor Creek, a large inlet with several other small creeks feeding it, which once served to provide safe harbor for ships.


U.S. Route 6, also known as the Mid-Cape Highway on Cape Cod, passes through the town to the north of Otis Air National Guard Base as a four-lane divided freeway. There are three exits off this route within town. Massachusetts Route 6A passes through town to the north of Route 6, and is the town's main local road. The northern terminus of Massachusetts Route 130 is near the intersection of Routes 6 and 6A within town. The road passes along the eastern side of Otis on its way towards Mashpee.

Railroad station, Sandwich, Massachusetts
Sandwich Railroad Station

Freight rail service is provided by the Massachusetts Coastal Railroad. The Cape Cod Central Railroad, which operates seasonal tourist excursions from Hyannis to Buzzards Bay, serves Sandwich via a station in the western section of the town.

The nearest MBTA's commuter rail stations are the Kingston/Route 3 and Middleborough/Lakeville stations, both of which provide direct service to Boston. There is also seasonal passenger rail available in nearby Hyannis and Bourne via the CapeFlyer, which runs to Boston's South Station along the Middleborough/Lakeville line. The nearest inter-city (Amtrak) passenger rail stations are Boston's South Station and Providence.

The town was one that had been served by Amtrak's Cape Codder train service (1986–1996); however, it has been eliminated from the schedule of the seasonal Cape Flyer train service. From the 19th century, under the Old Colony Railroad, and until 1964 under the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, passenger trains served Sandwich. Trains of the 1940s–1960s included the Day Cape Codder and the Neptune.

The nearest private and regional air service can be found in Barnstable, and the nearest national and international airport is Logan International Airport in Boston.


Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1850 4,368 —    
1860 4,479 +2.5%
1870 3,694 −17.5%
1880 3,543 −4.1%
1890 1,819 −48.7%
1900 1,448 −20.4%
1910 1,688 +16.6%
1920 1,458 −13.6%
1930 1,437 −1.4%
1940 1,360 −5.4%
1950 2,418 +77.8%
1960 2,082 −13.9%
1970 5,239 +151.6%
1980 8,727 +66.6%
1990 15,489 +77.5%
2000 20,136 +30.0%
2010 20,675 +2.7%
2020 20,259 −2.0%

As of the census of 2000, there were 20,136 people, 7,335 households, and 5,515 families residing in the town. The population density was 467.9 people per square mile (180.6/km2). There were 8,748 housing units at an average density of 78.5 persons/km2 (203.3 persons/sq mi). The racial makeup of the town was 97.75% White, 0.38% African American, 0.31% Native American, 0.54% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.32% from other races, and 0.69% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.80% of the population.

There were 7,335 households, out of which 38.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 65.0% were married couples living together, 8.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.8% were non-families. 20.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.72 and the average family size was 3.18.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 28.4% under the age of 18, 4.9% from 18 to 24, 27.7% from 25 to 44, 25.3% from 45 to 64, and 13.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.2 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $61,250 and the median income for a family was $66,553. Males had a median income of $49,195 versus $33,516 for females. The per capita income for the town was $26,895. About 2.2% of families and 3.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.3% of those under the age of 18 and 4.1% ages 65 years or older.


Sandwich operates its own public school system. Forestdale Pre-K–2, Oak Ridge 3–6, STEM Academy 7–8. The STEM Academy is located in the town's High School. Sandwich High School, located in East Sandwich, operates Grades 7–12. The school teams are called the Blue Knights, and their colors are navy blue, Columbia blue, and white.

High school students may also choose to attend the Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical High School in Bourne free of charge (Sandwich taxpayers contribute to that school's budget) as well as Sturgis Charter Public School in Hyannis. Students may also choose to attend private schools in Barnstable, Bourne, Falmouth or other neighboring communities. A few Sandwich students choose to attend private high schools off-Cape, such as Tabor Academy, Sacred Heart High School, and Bishop Stang High School.

Notable people

  • Charles Higbee Bridges (1873–1948), Adjutant General of the United States Army 1928–1933
  • Thornton Burgess (1874–1965), conservationist and author of the Old Mother West Wind and Bedtime Stories series
  • Ed Conley (1864–1894), Major League Baseball pitcher
  • Edmund Freeman, one of the town's founders, Deputy Governor of Plymouth Colony under Governor William Bradford and Governor Edward Winslow
  • Nathaniel Freeman Jr. (1766–1800), Massachusetts's 5th congressional district Representative for the Democratic-Republican Party 1795–1799 and Massachusetts militia brigade major
  • Duff Goldman (born 1974), pastry chef, television personality, and cookbook author; Sandwich High School, Class of 1993
  • Willard Woodard (1824–1891), Chicago politician, publisher, and parks advocate
Women's History Month on Kiddle
Women Scientists of Antiquity
Mary the Jewess
kids search engine
Sandwich, Massachusetts Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.