Tuesday, May 21, 2013

This PTown Trail Dates Back to 1873

The Old Colony Nature Pathway follows the old railroad right-of way used when
trains finally began steaming all the way down the Cape to Provincetown in 1873.
Where Harry Kemp Way meets Howland Street you'll find a conservation, public park and recreation area with a nature trail that will lead you out through the woods toward the water tank found on Mount Gilboa.
The combined efforts of a number of local people and PTown organizations led to the establishment of this beautiful public recreation spot back in 1995. The trail follows the old railroad bed established by the  Old Colony Railroad when train travel to Provincetown finally became possible. Railroad service from Boston to Hyannis began around the middle 1850s, but it was many more years before trains would run all the way to the tip of the Cape.
Our thanks to those who worked to preserve this wild space.
On July 23rd, 1873, a brass band heralded the arrival of the first trainload of dignitaries to make the journey. Before the advent of new railroad service to Provincetown, visitors had to rumble here by stagecoach, no mean feat given the long, rough ride from Boston. With the new railroad in place, it also became much quicker, easier and cheaper for Provincetown's fishermen to ship seafood, even to distant markets. At one time, our fishing fleet provided the majority of all frozen fish consumed in the midwest. Passenger service stopped in 1938, but freight cars still made the trip until 1960, when the railroad tracks in the area of North Eastham were abandoned.
Wildlife abounds on this trail, with all kinds of birds and plant life flourishing along the former railroad bed. At this time of year you'll find the lady slippers beginning to bloom along the edges of the trail. Whether you walk it's full length or just a short distance on this path, you're in for a lovely stroll through this beautiful conservation area.

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