Welcome to the
Bourne Society for Historic Preservation, Inc.

Bourne Society for Historic Preservation, Inc.

Historic preservation is a mission to save architecturally and historically distinguished places, to stimulate restoration and maintenance  of such places and to educate and enrich the public.

Citizens of Bourne became preservation conscious when the George I. Briggs House was scheduled for demolition in May 1979. George I. Briggs was instrumental in the incorporation of Bourne as a town after its separation from Sandwich in 1884.

Briggs was a friend of President Grover Cleveland, an early Bourne selectman and library trustee, the first school committee chairman and chairman of the Barnstable County Commission for many years.  His neighborhood was Bourne’s town center until the Cape Cod Canal opened in 1914.

The Briggs McDermott House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

This Greek Revival-style house has been restored and furnished to reflect the 1840 - 1910 period, a most important time for the Briggs family and Bourne.  The Society is proud of the restoration of the music room ceiling, painted circa 1890 by famed marine artist and Bourne resident, Charles Raleigh.

The Society’s friends and members generously donated many of the furnishings from the Briggs-McDermott family and also maintain a period garden and small granite walled barn.

The Briggs McDermott House

The Historic Forge and Alan Green Carriage House

Summer of 1914,
August Belmont, Jr. 
Completes the Mighty Ditch
By Tom Gelsthorpe

Myles Standish thought about it first,
Then General Washington,
But trying it with crummy tools
Was sure to be no fun.

Two hundred fifty years went by,
A good canal expected,
Commerce elsewhere quite improved;
A plan was soon accepted.

In eighty-five we bent our backs
To start the mighty ditch;
Those mounds of gravel, rocks and stuff
Turned out to be a . . . switch

From what we’d done before,
From swampy mud and goo
And then they wouldn’t pay us
So we told the boss, “Go sue

Those financiers who set us up,
While workers took the hit.”
If we could ever corner them,
I’d make them eat my writ.

That’s legalese to try redress,
Yet see our efforts fail.
They sent us home without a cent;
We struck to no avail.

Then four and twenty years went by,
With wrecks still getting worse;
The Vanderbilt’s have lost a yacht,
That ocean route’s a curse!

 Along comes Mr. Belmont’s bank
With lots and lots of money
With dredges, cranes and dynamite;
Though you might think it funny –

 He gave the workers paying jobs;
We liked that little guy;
Three bridges rose, the ditch was done;
It opened in July.

Then to bunting, bands and rockets
Steamers paddled through
With intercity passengers,
And cargo schooners, too.

The Chatham bars no longer threaten
The route that skippers take.
The trip from Boston to New York
Is now a piece of cake.

 Anglers love the new canal,
And cyclists, too, give thanks.
We owe it to the engineers
And August Belmont’s bank.











Various Images

The Music Room Ceiling

The ceiling in the music room was painted by Charles Raleigh, who also did the ship painting of the 'Fernandina' in the dining room. He was a self-taught marine painter who not only did many of the ships coming and going through New Bedford harbor, but he also painted ceilings, carriages, and furniture.  He lived in Bourne in his later years.

Tom Gelsthorpe reading his poem about August Belmont at the 2014 Music Fest

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