"Before there was Plymouth and Jamestown, there was Chatham"
CHATHAM, MA - It was 400 years ago that French explorer Samuel de Champlain sailed into what is now Stage Harbor in Chatham and made contact with the Wampanoag, the local native people.
The Chatham Chamber of Commerce and the Chatham Historical Society are commemorating the event with a season-long series of activities.
â??Before there was Plymouth and Jamestown, there was Chatham,â? said Chamber Board President Scott Hamilton. â??An historic encounter occurred here at what Champlain called â??Port Fortuneâ??. The community is recalling its significance with a series of special events, both educational and celebratory.â?
â??A Journey of Rediscoveryâ? is the theme for the events that are attracting residents and visitors from throughout the Northeast and beyond.
The largest exhibit ever presented at the Historical Societyâ??s Atwood House Museum is the highlight of the anniversary (see www.ChathamHistoricalSociety.org).
According to Society President Spencer Grey, the exhibit presents Champlainâ??s visit from the European explorersâ?? view and from the perspective of the Wampanoag who lived in the area.
Ship Model on Display
The Chatham Chamber of Commerce commissioned the building of a replica model of Champlainâ??s ship and presented it to the Society in June. It is currently on display at the Atwood House Museum.
Built by Bass River Boat Works of Cape Cod, the model is a small scale version of the ship used by Champlain in his voyage to Chatham. It includes details from cannon to sail riggings. The model will become a permanent addition to the Museumâ??s collection at the end of the anniversary celebration.
â??The model is a tribute to Champlainâ??s vision and courage and will help visitors better appreciate the significance of the voyage,â? explained Danielle Jeanloz, Executive Director of the Chatham Chamber of Commerce. â??All the detail that was put into the model makes it truly historic in its own right.â?
Commemorative Postage Stamp
The Postal Service has issued a commemorative first class stamp and joint souvenir sheet with Canada, to mark the anniversary of Champlainâ??s exploration of the North American east coast. The stamps are available at most post offices. A special cancellation cachet featuring Champlainâ??s self portrait and his map of Stage Harbor is available through the Chatham Historical Society.
Lure of Chatham
The Town of Chatham is located at the southeast tip of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. If the Cape is viewed as a bended arm, Chatham is at the elbow. To the east is the Atlantic Ocean, to the South is Nantucket Sound and to the north is Pleasant Bay. The townâ??s geographical features include gentle hills, wooded uplands, extensive barrier beaches and spits, harbors, numerous small estuaries, and salt and freshwater ponds. Its village-style Main Street is a magnet for shoppers, and its bed and breakfast inns and guest houses attract visitors from the world over.
For more about the Champlain commemoration and a calendar of events, visit the Chatham Chamber of Commerce at www.ChathamInfo.com and the Chatham Historical Society at www.ChathamHistoricalSociety.org.
Calendar of Events:
Special Champlain/Wampanoag Exhibit at the Atwood House Museum through October 15, 2006
Monday morning and afternoon childrenâ??s programs at Atwood House Museum â?? July and August 2006
Annual Historical Society Meeting with Earl Mills, Chief Flying Eagle, speaking on â??Oral History, Legends and Remembrances,â? â?? August 20, 2006 at 2 p.m.
Cape Cod Opera Companyâ??s presentation of French opera and contemporary music at the First Congregational Church â?? August 24, 2006 at 7 p.m.
Special closing event at Atwood House Museum, with Glenn Marshall, Chairman, Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council - October 15, 2006 at 2 p.m.