In 1627 the colonists from Plymouth established the Aptucxet Trading Post on the river close to the head of Buzzards Bay. In 1640 a settlement was established adjacent to the trading post. Although it was on the south coast of Cape Cod, the village was then considered to be part of Sandwich on the north coast. It became known as Bourne after Jonathan Bourne Senior. Bourne separated from Sandwich in 1844 and shortly after it became an incorporated town. In 1914 the Cape Cod Canal cut through Bourne and created what is now regarded as the border between Cape Cod and the mainland . Most of Bourne is on the Cape Cod side, so it is considered to be the first town on the cape



Briggs-McDermott House, Historic Bourne Village

In the centre of Bourne over 20 historic buildings have been preserved as Historic Bourne Village. The buildings include the Briggs- McDermott House, a Greek Revival-style house built around 1830. George I. Briggs was a friend of President Grover Cleveland and he was instrumental in the incorporation of Bourne as a town after its separation from Sandwich. The house was saved after being scheduled for demolition in May 1979. Bourne Historical Society has restored the house to the period from 1840 to 1910 with displays of furnishings and practical implements from those years. The music room has a ceiling painted around 1890 by local marine artist Charles Raleigh which has been restored by the Society. The house is open Friday and Saturday afternoons from mid June to late August. Adjacent to the house are the Alan Green Carriage House and Alonso Booth Blacksmith Shop. President Grover Cleveland had a house nearby and his horses were shod at the Blacksmith Shop which dates from 1888. Click Tab 2 to see the Alan Green Carriage House & Alonso Booth Blacksmith Shop.

Windmill, Aptucxet Trading Post Museum

At the entrance to the Trading Post Museum stands a windmill. There is no evidence that there was a windmill at the Trading Post, nor was this ever a working windmill. It originally stood in Buzzards Bay a small town on the opposite bank of the Cape Cod Canal. There actor Joseph Jefferson (1829-1905) had a summer home called ‘Crow’s Nest’. He was a friend and fishing companion of President Grover Cleveland. A natural comedian, Jefferson became well known for his portrayal of Washington Irving’s ‘Rip Van Winkle’ but in his private life he was also a landscape painter and art collector. This Dutch-style windmill served as his art studio.  In the 19th century windmills were common on Cape Cod, used to grind grain and to deliver salt water to salt works. 


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Aptucxet Trading Post Museum

The Aptucxet Trading Post was established in 1627 in order to trade with the Wampanoag Indians. The colonists needed to buy corn and beans from the Indians to supplement the food that they could grow themselves. The trading post also came to be used by the Dutch settled in New Amsterdam (now New York City) to trade with the English colonists. In 1635 a hurricane damaged the trading post, with one building losing its entire roof. It is thought that the trading post was abandoned some time around 1650.  In 1852 excavations revealed some foundations that were thought to be from the trading post. Bourne Historical Society was formed in 1921 to organise more detailed excavations and these took place in 1926. The excavations uncovered the foundations of the whole trading post plus a number of relics. In 1930 a replica of the trading post was built on the original foundations, and this is open to the public seasonally as the Aptucxet Trading Post MuseumClick Tab 2 to see the interior of the museum.

Pumpkin Stall, Sandwich Road

We were in Bourne in October just before Columbus Day so it was no surprise that the annual American obsession with pumpkins for Halloween was on show.

Jonathan Bourne Public Library, Bourne, MA, USA
- Some lovely historic buildings.
- The reconstruction of the Aptucxet Trading Post feels very authentic.
- The attractions are very seasonal. We were just in time to visit the Trading Post (closes after Columbus Day), everything else seemed to have already closed for the season.
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Aptucxet Trading Post Museum, Bourne, MA, USA
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Briggs-McDermott House, Historic Bourne Village, Bourne, MA, USA
Pumpkin Stall, Sandwich Road, Bourne, MA, USA

Jonathan Bourne Public Library

Jonathan Bourne was a namesake of the town who was an alderman at New Bedford, on the mainland, and an investor in whaling. When he died in 1889, Bourne had no library but one was set up bearing Jonathan Bourne’s name in 1891. In 1897 his daughter Emily Bourne donated a building for the library in Keene Street.  When the library outgrew that building it moved to this former elementary school in Sandwich Road. The original building is still standing, now housing the Jonathan Bourne Historical Center.

Windmill, Aptucxet Trading Post Museum, Bourne, MA, USA
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