Historical Marker Project

A Story to Tell

The mission of the Orleans Historic Marker Project is to preserve the history and rich heritage of the Town of Orleans through the placement of interpretative historic markers at appropriate sites and the development and dissemination of associated programs and materials to highlight and emphasize the markers.

The Orleans Historic Marker Project originally consisted of a group of residents who formed a Committee – their goal – to preserve the rich history and heritage of our town for both current and future generations of residents and visitors. Beginning their work in 2015, the Committee embarked on a project to tell our town’s story through a series of interpretive historical markers and associated projects that commemorate the people, places, buildings, and historical legacies that have made our town such a unique and special place.

The Committee researched, planned, designed, and installed five markers in the first phase of its work. The “anchor” marker is located in front of Snow Library, and in three panels, tells the story of the town’s origins, founding, incorporation, and naming. Markers have also been installed memorializing the coming of the railroad to Orleans, Rock Harbor Academy, the origins of Snow Library, the Old Methodist Burial Ground, Orleans Lifesaving History, the Old Post Office, and the Old Firehouse.

Their last project is a multi-panel marker installed at Nauset Beach commemorating the lifesaving heritage of Orleans and our relationship to the sea. This marker  memorializes the wreck of the Sparrow-hawk, the Humane Society of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the United States Lifesaving Service, the United States Coast Guard, and the World War I shelling of Orleans by a German U-Boat. The focus of this marker complex will be the people and events of Orleans that created this remarkable heritage.

Since the summer of 2017, the Historic Marker Project was placed under the purview of the Orleans Historic Commission.  Future projects will be selected from a rich inventory of Orleans historic sites and will be executed by members of the Historic Commission. The website will be enhanced with additional markers, historic sites, research publications and oral histories so please visit us often.

The Historic Marker Project extends it sincere thanks to the original committee members:  Ron Petersen/Historian and current Historic Commission Chair; Pat Perry/Project Manager and current Historic Commission Associate; Kathleen McNeil/Secretary; Joanna Keeley; Tish Noyes; Steve Bornemeier; Gail Colglazer, Robert Barker and Judy Brainerd/Community Preservation Committee Liasion.   We are all indebted to the Department of Public Works, for installing the markers; the Community Preservation Committee for providing the funding, the Orleans Community Partnership for preparing the initial grant applications, and the Snow Library Board of Trustees for providing a prime location for our “Anchor Marker – The Founding of Orleans”.

Special thanks to Hopewell Manufacturing for their collaboration on producing the Historic Markers.