Dennis was first settled in 1639, originally as part of the town of Yarmouth, by John Crowe, Anthony Thacher, and Thomas Howes. By 1793, it had separated from Yarmouth and became incorporated as the town of Dennis. Like many other Cape Cod towns, Dennis encompasses five distinct small villages; Dennis Village, Dennis Port, East Dennis, South Dennis, and West Dennis. As a coastal town that spans the width of Cape Cod, seafaring became its major industry, centered around the Shiverick Shipyard, until tourism replaced it. The "Cape Playhouse" in Dennis is one of the oldest summer theaters in the U.S. (actress Bette Davis was "discovered" there while working as an usher for the playhouse). Several other prominent personalities were known to have inhabited Dennis; including author Mary Higgens Clark, actress Gertrude Lawrence, and Richard Valle, founder of Valle's Steak House. While not as notable as those mentioned above, I also have a connection with this town. Back in the summer of 1965, while Lori and I were dating, my boss at the time, asked me to help him "sail" his 23 foot inboard/outboard boat out of Dennis harbor and up to Winthrop (part of East Boston). This supposedly simple four hour trip turned into a nine hour adventure when, unbeknownst to us, we lost the ground plate to our ship-to-shore radio and began to slowly take on water. It wasn't until we finally arrived safely at our distination that we discovered how close we had come to disaster, as we pumped out the 100 gallons of water that had seeped into the boat. To this day, I can't visit Dennis without "remembering" that event.
Welcoming sign as you enter Dennis.
Map showing Dennis spanning the width of Cape Cod
Part of Dennis Port harbor (from which my nine hour "sailing" adventure commenced in 1965).
Dennis Port village center is typical of small town America.
Cape Cod is dotted with many lighthouses to protect shipping from coastal dangers. This one is the West Dennis lighthouse.
interestingly enough, there is another lighthouse perched atop the West Dennis Inn.
This thirty foot cobblestone tower, known as the Scargo Tower, was originally built of wood in 1874 by the Tobey family as a memorial to the family (the first wooden tower was destroyed by a gale in 1876)..
Actress Bette Davis was "discovered" working as an usher here at the Cape Playhouse (the oldest summer theatre in the U.S.).
Carl and Lorraine Aveni are two retirees planning on traveling through Europe for at least one year.