August 21 - 1909: Pilgrim Monument is completed

1938: Jimmy Stewart at Falmouth Playhouse and on to glory. 1991: Plovers close Cape Cod's best beaches
The Pilgrim Monument, gargoyles and all, still towers over Provincetown. Photo by Maggie Kulbokas.

1909: Provincetown's monument construction ends today

Three years of construction, one death building nation's largest granite structure

On this day in 1909, two young girls, using ropes and a pulley, helped haul the last stone into place to complete the Pilgrim Monument in Provincetown. The town's Yankee residents had long been seeking funds to erect a monument to the Pilgrims, who landed on the tip of Cape Cod weeks before they ever laid eyes on Plymouth.

It took until 1906 to raise enough money.

The following year, President Theodore Roosevelt sailed to Provincetown in a yacht appropriately named the Mayflower to lay the cornerstone of the monument.

Three years later, President William Howard Taft spoke at the dedication. 116 steps and 60 ramps lead to the top of the 252-foot tower, which is still the tallest all-granite structure in the United States.

A Provincetown woman dies during construction

There is only one death associated with the monument's construct. One of Cape Cod Today's founder relation, a Mrs. Bangs of Provincetown, was killed by a runaway cart filled with stones during the work on the monument.

1938: Jimmy Stewart gets his start on Cape Cod

The Falmouth Playhouse debuted many cinema greats

On this day in 1938, tall and lanky heartthrob Jimmy Stewart was starring in the Best Picture of the Year as a story in the New York Times relates, but the important paragraphs for our readers are these:

...Anyhow, out of college in 1930 and not knowing quite where to go or what to do for the Summer, he had a letter from one of a number of Princeton friends who were working at the West Falmouth Summer Theatre on Cape Cod.

The friend remembered his work in the Triangle shows, and maybe Jimmy would like to take a try at acting on Cape Cod. It was a choice of doing that or going back to Indiana, Pa., and the hardware store - there seemed to be no jobs in architects' offices available - so Jimmy went to Cape Cod.

Read the whole story from August 21, 1938 entitled "You Can't Take it With You", Jimmy (Stewart's) Got It, here.

1991: Beach closed for plovers

Turning over some of the most popular beaches in Massachusetts to the birds has paid off, officials say. Preliminary counts this summer show higher counts of plover chicks compared with past seasons.

Preliminary counts this summer show higher counts of plover chicks compared with past seasons.

Biologists say this proves that closing some of the state's most popular beaches from April to August for several years is working. This summer, five pairs of piping plovers produced 13 young on the closed Plum Island beach. Last year, 10 pairs gave birth to 14 chicks.

Several beaches in Cape Cod also were closed this summer, said the state zoologist, Scott Melvin. Statewide, 140 pairs produced an average of 1.38 chicks last year, he said. This year, his preliminary count shows that 155 pairs averaged 1.8 chicks.


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