Explorer Samuel de Champlain first visited the southeastern tip of Cape Cod (also known as the "elbow") in 1606 and named it "Port Fortune".The Nauset Native Americans, who were living here, had called the area "Manomoit". However, the area that would become known as the "Town of Chatham" was not settled until 1664 and then incorporated in 1712. Like most coastal towns, fishing, whaling, and shipping were its main industries during those early years. In 1808, President Thomas Jefferson had the Chatham Lighthouse established in order to,protect ships circling Cape Cod (it now houses a Coast Guard Lifesaving Station patrolling the Atlantic and Nantucket Sound waters). The very first reforesting project in the U.S. happened here in 1821 on Great Hill, when pine trees and beach grass were planted to prevent erosion of the coast line. By the end of the 1800's, seaside summer resorts had become highly popular and Chatham' s economy expanded greatly under this tourism boom. Many prominent Americans chose to make their summer homes in Chatham; including Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, singer/actor Harry Connick Jr., figure skater Todd Eldridge, and actress Shirley Booth. The Chatham Anglers of the Cape Cod Baseball League make their home base here also. Many Major League Baseball players had their start in the Cape Cod League during their college years, and the MLB now provides financial support to keep this collegiate summer baseball program functioning. We found it fascinating driving around town admiring the many "million dollar plus" homes located on this bit of the lower Cape.
Picturesque view of Chatham's Main Street.
But so is this local watering hole that is sooooo familiar to New Englanders (we even found a number of them in Madrid Spain! Go figure!).