Discover Cape Cod
by Michael O'Connor (Appalachian Mountain Club Books)
The paved pathway follows the former Old Colony rail bed for almost 25 miles, from South Dennis through Harwich, Brewster, Orleans, and Eastham, terminating in South Wellfleet. The Old Colony line eventually became part of the New York and New Haven railroad, which once carried passengers and freight through much of the Northeast.
By 1848, the line had reached Sandwich and six years later had extended mid-Cape, to Hyannis. The line had extended as far as Orleans by 1861, but its progress was delayed by the onslaught of the Civil War. After the war, the railroad quickly reached Wellfleet (1870) and its terminus in Provincetown (1872). The line remained active well into the twentieth century, until the growing popularity of automobiles and the development of the federal highway system spelled its doom.
© Michael O'Connor/Appalachian Mountain Club Books. All Rights Reserved.