Cape Cod's Evolution as a Tourist Destination

June 15th in Brewster

Cape Cod is a mecca for millions of tourists each year. But how did we get to this point?


Just in time for the summer season, James O’Connell, Ph.D., author and planner, presents an exploration of Cape Cod’s evolution as a tourist-based economy and how it forever changed our region.


The presentation, “Becoming Cape Cod: Creating a Seaside Resort,” will take place at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, June 15 at the Brewster Ladies Library in Brewster. The free event is sponsored by the Association to Preserve Cape Cod.


Based on his book by the same title, O’Connell’s discussion traces the progression of tourism on the Cape, beginning with the establishment of resort communities in Hyannisport and Falmouth in the 1800s and expanding significantly with the introduction of the automobile. Modern Cape Cod is now a destination for visitors from all over the world who are attracted to its natural beauty and historic charm, and it exists with the consequences of its popularity, both good and bad.


O’Connell’s knowledge of the Cape’s economy is first-hand, having served as economic development officer of the Cape Cod Commission from 1990 to 2001. He currently teaches in Boston University’s City Planning-Urban Affairs Program and has worked as a planner at the Boston Office of the Northeast Region of the National Park Service. He is the author of three books and numerous articles on planning and New England history.


The June 15 talk is presented by the Association to Preserve Cape Cod as part of a year-long series of events commemorating its 50th anniversary. Admission is free but advance registration is recommended. To register, visit or call 508-619-3185. welcomes thoughtful comments and the varied opinions of our readers. We are in no way obligated to post or allow comments that our moderators deem inappropriate. We reserve the right to delete comments we perceive as profane, vulgar, threatening, offensive, racially-biased, homophobic, slanderous, hateful or just plain rude. Commenters may not attack or insult other commenters, readers or writers. Commenters who persist in posting inappropriate comments will be banned from commenting on