December 28 - 1870: The Cape Cod Railroad reaches Wellfleet

Three years later it reached Provincetown carrying President Ulysses S. Grant
For many years the Old Colony Railroad Company also operated steamboat and ferry lines, including those of the Fall River Line with express train service from Boston to its wharf in Fall River where passengers boarded luxury liners to New York City. The c

1870: Hear a clickity-clack to Wellfleet and back

Three years later it reached Provincetown carrying President Ulysses S. Grant

On this day in 1870, an extension of the Cape Cod Railroad from Orleans to Wellfleet opened for travel. Rail service first came to the Cape nearly a quarter century earlier when the Cape Cod Branch Railroad opened between Middleboro and Sandwich. By 1854, the line was extended to Yarmouthport and Hyannis.

In 1861, the Cape Cod Central Railroad was formed to extend the line to Orleans, which was accomplished within four years. The Cape Cod Railroad Company was created in 1868 by consolidating the Cape Cod Branch Railroad and the Cape Cod Central.

Two years after the opening of the spur from Orleans to Wellfleet, the line was extended to Provincetown in 1872, the same year that service reached Woods Hole from Falmouth. Expansion of rail lines allowed Cape Cod to host an illustrious visitor in the summer of 1873 - President Ulysses S. Grant.

Below is an old photo of the station in Provincetown in 1920.

From the Provincetown town archives:

Train locomotive #25, the Extension, pulled into Provincetown from Boston. A second train, with a red funnel and Mount Hope painted on the sides, pulled 13 bright yellow coaches that included among its passengers three governors, one candidate for governor, Cape Cod political and business figures, and railroad officials.  (Theriault 48) The great day came when flags flew, bells rang, and a great crowd came down to meet the train. At about 1PM on this date, the engine chugged around a curve and into the depot at Parallel and Center Streets, "crowded almost to suffocation" with townsmen who had ridden in from Wellfleet. Among the passengers was, reputedly, President Ulysses S. Grant.

Read about "Everything Else Which Happened Today" including in 1966 when 13 died in a train crash in Everett Mass.


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