- Last Updated: 08 October 2016 08 October 2016
English colonists lived in Bourne as early as 1627. The first free enterprise in America was located near the west end of the land cut of the present Cape Cod Canal. The Aptucxet Trading Post was situated on a piece of land between two rivers and a creek. The Manomet River connected with Massachusetts Bay and the Monument River connected to a body of water,
which eventually reached the entrance to New York Harbor and the Hudson River. It was at this trading post that the Pilgrims traded goods with the Dutch colonies from the New York area. The first currency system in America was developed here. It was called wampum and was made from the purple parts of quahog shells. A replica of the Aptucxet Trading Post is situated off Shore Road in Bourne Village.
Another noteworthy company was the Keith Car Works of Sagamore that built freight cars. It began operation in 1826 and remained in operation for over 100 years. Many houses built by the company can still be seen on both sides of the east end of the Canal.
As the large industrial centers in Massachusetts prospered, the wealth wanted to escape the cities and enjoy the country. They scouted this area and decided it was ideal for their needs. It was a comfortable day's journey by horse drawn stage. The cool ocean breezes, sandy beaches and wooded lands made it an ideal summer retreat for the whole family. What followed was the building of many elaborate summer homes. Notables such as President Grover Cleveland, Shakespearean actor Joseph Jefferson, and Boston Globe founder Charles H. Taylor are a few of the former summer residents.