20 interesting historical facts about Brewster, Ma | Captain Freeman Inn

Brewster Grist Mill

Byron and I adore living in Brewster, Cape Cod and are continually on the hunt for  interesting historical facts about Brewster and Captain William Freeman-  the builder of our beautiful home and inn. Listed below are 20 interesting facts about Brewster –

  • Brewster’s  original inhabitants were the Sauquantucker tribe, which was also the name of the river that flows by the Brewster Grist Mill and now is known as Stony Brook.
  • Sometime after 1663, Thomas Pence constructed a Grist Mill in Brewster which ground corn for Indians and English alike. The town began to grow and in 1694 these lands – called “Satucket Lands” was incorporated as the township of Harwich.
  • Early government was entered around the Congregational Church , which was established in 1700 on the site of the present UU church, just across the street from the Freeman.
  • Taxes were paid to the church  and all of town’s business was conducted in the Meeting House.
  • In 1747, the south side of town received permission to form it’s own precinct. Both precincts remained part of Harwich, until 1803, when the General Court authorized the north precinct as a separate town and was named after Plymouth colony’s religious elder William Brewster.
  • The new town of Brewster  was filled with Methodists, Baptists and Quakers but still had to pay taxes to the Congregation Church. In 1811, the General Court finally passed a law, exempting payments to any church not one’s own.
  • The Brewster Ladies Library was established by Augusta Mayo and Louise Cobb and a number of their friends in 1852. Sixteen years later the present building was erected.
  • By 1809, sixty thousand feet of salt works lined our shore. The saltworks industry reached its peak in the 1830’s.
  • The salts works provided such a huge value in the early 1800’s that during the war of 1812 a British naval commander threatened to blow up the salt works unless the town paid a $4,000 bribe- it was paid.
  • Our Brewster General Store has operated as a General Store since 1858. It was originally a Universalists Church that was built in 1852 and sold to W.W. Knowles who converted it a General Store.
  • The present Ocean Edge Mansions use to be called the Fieldstone Hall and was built in 1890 by Samuel Mayo Nickerson. The building was destroyed by fire in 1906 and the current building was later rebuilt in 1908.
  • Breakwater Beach was the landing where packet ships brought passengers and goods back and forth to Boston.
  • By the mid 1800’s railroads were being built across America. The first steam engine chugged into Brewster in 1865- right when the Captain Freeman Inn was being built.
  • The 17th century Cape Cod economy was mainly agricultural but by the 18th century shifted to maritime with the main ports in Brewster being Saint’s Landing and Point of Rocks.
  • By 1850, the Clipper ships, the most expensive and beautiful sailing vessels in the world, supported international commerce. Captain Freeman commanded the famed Kingfisher, the Maine and the Undaunted.
  • Captain William Freeman built our lovely home in 1866- which was right after the Civil War and the peak of his Clipper Ship career.
  • World War 2 brought the Coast Guard to the beaches to patrol for enemy submarines from their headquarters at Point of Rock Landing.
  • In 1902, Faith Bickford and her family started a summer camp for girls- Sea Pines. The family property expanded from the Old King’s Highway in Brewster to the bay. The summer camp quickly expanded into Sea Pines School of Personality for Girls.
  • We use to have an aquarium in Brewster called Sealand of Cape Cod. The aquarium was home to trained dolphins, seals and Humbolt Penguins from Chile. When the founder, George King passed away in 2011, Sealand was closed and sold as a private residence.
  • From 1972 to 2005 the New England Fire and History Museum displayed a collection of 35 antique fire trucks and artifacts. The museum included many antique autos including the only existing 1929 Mercedes Benz fire truck. The property was purchased by the Latham School in 2o13 for future expansion.

ahhhh, Brewster has so many interesting tales to learn about.

Consider a getaway to our historic town, experience the herring run at it’s peak and enjoy our quiet season rates for the next few weeks and great dining values during Cape Cod Restaurant Week. The Spring 2018 edition of Cape Cod Restaurant Week is scheduled for Monday, May 14 through Sunday, May 20. During Restaurant Week, the best restaurants from Falmouth to Provincetown offer three- and four-course exhibition menus for $25, $30 or $35.

Our Brewster room

We have remodeled and redecorated many of our rooms, our salt water pool will be open this next week and our gardens are filled with blooms and newly planted seeds.

Captain Freeman Inn pool


Select Registry, Cape Cod Chamber, AIHP
PackagesOur quiet season is a perfect time to enjoy our romantic Dinner Package

Join our Newsletter

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!