East Orleans Main Street Historic District

A major project of the Orleans Historical Commission is to establish a historic district on Main Street in East Orleans. This district could include the span of Main Street from the Methodist Church to the Barley Neck Inn, or some portion therein. The purpose of this district would be to provide protection to what is one of the last remaining large historic streetscapes, preserving the heritage, character, and “look and feel” of our Town. If enacted, the district could prevent the demolition of our historic treasures, as well as modifications and new construction that could degrade the special historic and architectural character of this streetscape.

Main Street in East Orleans was once the civic, institutional, and ecclesiastical center of our Town, and several high-style, large scale, and well-preserved buildings of these types are prominent on the street today. In addition, there is a large collection of well-preserved historic residences. There are forty-six properties along this portion of Main Street that are listed on the Orleans Historic Properties Survey, as well as two cemeteries and three historic monuments. Descriptions of all the properties on the Survey are on file with the Massachusetts Historical Commission.

The establishment of a historic district requires strong public support, and ultimately must be approved at Town Meeting. To that end, the Orleans Historical Commission will be holding a series of public forums to seek citizen input on a potential district, what will be regulated, and how it will be regulated. Our Town has seen significant degradation of our visible history in recent years in the form of the loss of historic buildings. This is an effort to preserve some of the elements that make Orleans unique.

Preface to Inventory of Historic Resources

The Main Street, East Orleans area encompasses the Main Street streetscape from the Route 28 intersection to the Barley Neck Inn. It is a 1.2-mile scenic drive that contains forty-six properties that are listed on the Orleans Historic Properties Survey; forty-one buildings, two cemeteries, and three historic monuments.

This area of Orleans was historically the institutional, ecclesiastical, and civic center of the town and it retains multiple high-style and large-scale buildings of these use types. The area also contains a well-preserved, cohesive collection of historic residences. As a whole, the streetscape possesses integrity of location, design, setting, material, workmanship, feeling, and association. The designation of this area, or portion thereof, would be a significant step in preserving the historic character of Orleans.

 Inventory of Historic Resources

(Note that the number in parenthesis is the Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System (MACRIS) inventory number, which is same number as the Orleans Historic Properties Survey. For an explanation of MACRIS, please see the FAQ/ Links tab and follow the links to “Researching your Property.)

73 Main Street          Orleans Methodist Episcopal Church, 1838. Third oldest church in Orleans, originally Greek Revival but modified significantly in 1894 and 1953. (ORL.193)

80 Main Street           Capt. Simeon Mayo House, 1851. (Greek Revival) Capt. Simeon Mayo was the son of Capt. Simeon Mayo who was lost at sea in the China trade. Upon the death of the second Simeon Mayo, the house was inherited by his widow, Eliza Crosby Mayo (1826-1899). Hiram Meyers (1844-1911) came to Orleans and became a teacher and the first principal of the high school. He married Mrs. Mayo and the house was left to him when he died. After 20 Years in the school system, Meyers became the Town Librarian at a salary of $75 per year. His second wife was Ida Maker, mother of Edith and Rowena. Rowena Meyers lived in the house until at least 1989. (ORL.146)

81 Main Street           Reuben Paine House, 1847. (Greek Revival) In 1848, Reuben Paine died and left the house to his second wife, Hannah K. Gould (1830-1867). She left the house to Capt. Alfred Paine (1840-1906), a prominent sea captain who carried on trade to Europe, India, China, and South America. His daughter, Theresa, married Henry Knowles Cummings, and became the organist at the Universalist Church. (ORL.148)

82 Main Street           Thomas Spencer Snow House, 1837. (Greek Revival) Thomas Spencer Snow (1818-1886) was the son of Thatcher and Mercy Snow. He sold hull corn and later became the partner of Asa Nickerson as a junk dealer. (ORL.147)

83 Main Street           Joseph K. Gould House, 1835. (Greek Revival) Joseph K. Gould was a builder of some note in the Orleans area. (ORL.149)

93 Main Street           Sally Crosby Gould House, c1840.  Built around 1840 for Jonathan Gould.  Jonathan died by 1850, and his wife, Sally continued to live here with her three children. The house was subsequently owned by Asa Nickerson. (ORL.150)

94 Main Street           Calvin Snow/Davis Hurd House, 1840. (Greek Revival) This house was built by Calvin Snow in 1840. Snow was a tinsmith in his younger days, and served for several years as a Selectman and Assessor. In 1860 at age 42, he moved to Chicago and became involved in the meat packing industry. The firm of Burke, Hutchinson, and Snow may have been the first meat packing house in Chicago. He eventually retired and returned to Orleans. The house was sold to Davis Hurd in 1860. Hurd established a general store on the property between the house and Tonset Road. The store was built from parts of an old barn. This building was later moved to the hollow on the other side of the house by Hurd’s daughters. The House was purchased by dentist Dr. L.A. Besse. (ORL.151)

96 Main Street           Calvin Chapman House, c1835. (Cape) It appears that the land that this house was built on was purchased by Calvin Chapman in the 1830’s. Calvin had died by 1850, leaving his wife and two sons living here. His sons George and Reuben were both mariners. (ORLl.156)

100 Main Street         Thomas A. Hopkins House, c1870. (Italianate) Thomas A. Hopkins operated a marble works which he sold to W.M. Crosby. He served Orleans as Town Clerk and Town Treasurer. He sold the house to James F. Eldredge in 1886. Eldredge was a prominent man in town and operated a grain and lumber business that became Nickerson Lumber, now the Mid-Cape Home Centers. (ORLl.157)

101 Main Street         Captain Jesse Snow House, c1840. (Cape) This house was built for Jesse Snow, a Master Mariner who was the captain of the salt packet boat Lafayette, which travelled between Rock Harbor and Boston. He was also Orleans’ agent for Boston Marine Underwriters, and in this capacity handled the wreck of the Orissa in 1857. (ORL.152)

102 Main Street         Ensign B. Rogers House, c1860. (Greek Revival) As late as 1880, this house shared the lot with a clothing store. It is believed that the store was moved by 1907 to Cove Road and became part of the T.A. Grocery Store, which later became the Lloyd Ellis Market. Rogers built the house in or about 1860. (ORL.156)

106 Main Street         Eliphalet Edson/Winthrop M. Crosby House, c1855. (Greek Revival) The first owner of this house to be identified is E. Edson, who is likely Eliphalet Edson of Yarmouth. It is likely that he was the original owner. By the 1860’s, the house was owned by Thomas A. Hopkins, who owned a local marble works. Hopkins sold the house to Rueben Chapman in 1866, and in 1871 it was sold to Winthrop M. Crosby. Crosby was born in 1840 and served Orleans as a Selectman from 1882-1891. After his death, the house passed to his widow, then to his son Orville Crosby at some point after 1907. Orville was a stone cutter who made many of the gravestones in the cemetery on Tonset Road. His business was in an adjacent lot in a small building near the street, no longer in existence.  The house remained in the Crosby family until 1973. (ORL. 159)

112 Main Street         Solomon Higgins House, c1850.  It appears that this house was built for Solomon Higgins around 1850. Higgins operated and may have owned a windmill that stood above the house. (ORL.160)

113 Main Street         Orleans Baptist Church, c1850. (Greek Revival) The eastern part of this building was originally the Baptist Church that was located on School Street and moved here after 1880. It appears that it had been converted to a residence prior to being moved. While it is believed that Elizabeth Hopkins may have been the original owner at this site, the 1880 map shows a Mrs. Mayo as the owner. In the early 20th Century, the property was owned by Charles H. Snow, whose primary residence was in Boston. After his death, the property passed to his son Edgar Snow. In 1914, Snow sold the property to Frank M. Bird, and in 1932 it was sold to George and Mary Linnell. The house remained in the Linnell family until 1939. (ORL.161)

119 Main Street         Smith-Bangs House, c1865. (Greek Revival-Italianate) Jesse Smith lived in a house on this site as early as 1850, but it does not appear to be the same one that exists today. The present house stylistically dates to the 1860’s-1870’s. The current house may have been built by Hiram B. Bangs. (ORL.162)

120 Main Street         Orleans Old Town Hall, 1873. (Italianate) This building was constructed in 1873 as Orleans Town Hall, and it served as such until 1956. The building currently serves as a theater and community center operated by a non-profit organization. (ORLl.163)

124 Main Street         Solomon Crosby/B.F. Seabury House, 1818.  The James H. Arey Mill was once located on the hill behind this house and was known as “Mill Hill”. William Sherman bought this house from Hattie Vinton in 1897 for $350. B.F. Seabury bought the house from Solomon Crosby in 1873. Records do not indicate when Crosby acquired it. (ORL.164)

125 Main Street         Civil War Monument, 1880. The monument pays tribute to those men of Orleans that died in the Civil War. (ORL.909)

130 Main Street         Olive S. Rogers House, c1881.  There appears to have been a house on this property on the map of 1858 that was torn down and replaced by this one. (ORL.165)

136 Main Street         Orleans Universalist Church Parsonage, c1835. (Greek Revival) This was the parsonage of the Universalist Church which was built across the street in 1833. The Church was built by David Taylor on land that he donated. He also built this house, likely soon after the Meetinghouse was built. The Universalist Society merged with the Congregational Church in 1933 to become the Federated Church. (ORL.195)

3 River Road               Universalist Society Meetinghouse, 1834. (Greek Revival) Land for this church was given in 1833 and the building was constructed in 1834. Mr. Taylor also built the parsonage across the street (Orl.195 above) at the corner of the cemetery. In 1933, The Rev. Paul Wilkinson arranged a merger with the Congregational Church, resulting in the Federated Church. In 1971, the Orleans Historical Society acquired the building for 6the cemetery in the 1930’s. When the upkeep became too expensive, the Cemetery Association gave it to the Historical Society, which moved it to its current location on Meetinghouse property. (ORL.188)

144-154 Main Street         Orleans Cemetery, c1723.  The earliest stones in this cemetery date to 1723, about the same time that the Old Cove Cemetery in Eastham stopped being used for burials. The oldest part of the cemetery is just west of the old South Parish Meetinghouse. Five additional acres were purchased by the Orleans Cemetery Association in 1850, and nine acres were added in 1876. The cemetery is still in use and now contains twenty-five acres. (ORL.1800)

147 Main Street         Orleans Civil War Marker, 1950. This is a simple bronze tablet mounted on a large stone near the junction of Main Street and River Road. It reads “A Grateful Tribute to the Men of Orleans Who Served in the Army and Navy in the Civil War. (ORL.914)

162 Main Street         South Parish Church, 1829. (Greek Revival, Queen Anne) This church was built in 1829 to replace the earlier church of the Congregational Society that had been built in 1717. This church is a direct descendent of the church established by the first settlers of Nauset in 1644. (ORL.196)

166 Main Street         Eastern Cemetery, 1836. This cemetery was established in the 1830’s after the Town’s first cemetery was filled. Many of those buried here were children who died in the small pox epidemic of the mid-1830’s. After the epidemic, others were reluctant to be buried here, and this burial ground fell into disuse when five acres were added to the old cemetery. (ORL.801)

169 Main Street         Ebenezer Rogers House, 1870.  The 1858 Map of Barnstable County shows a school on this property. Very sketchy history shows that the property was inherited by Abigail R. Hopkins from Ebenezer Rogers. (ORL.197)

170 Main Street         Joseph Mayo Blacksmith Shop, 1870.  Joseph Mayo purchased the land here in 1863 from Freeman Mayo. The 1880 map shows that Mayo had a blacksmith shop here in 1880. In 1898, the property was conveyed to Mayo’s son-in-law, who converted it to an antique shop. (ORL.198)

172 Main Street         Orrin Freeman House, 1895. (Queen Anne) This house was built in 1895 for Orrin Freeman who worked in the pants factory of Cummings and Howes. (ORL.199)

174 Main Street         Jesse Snow House, Freeman Mayo House, 1835.  This house was originally located on the site of the present Masonic Lodge, and was moved here in 1872. The original owner is believed to be Jesse Snow, a farmer who built the house in 1835.  His son, Jesse Jr. was the Captain of the salt packet Lafayette, which travelled between Rock Harbor and Boston. Another son was Calvin Snow, who worked as a tinplater. At age 18, Calvin opened a hardware and tin ware store across the street. At age 42, he moved to Chicago and worked in the emerging meat-packing industry. The firm Burke, Hutchinson, & Snow was likely the first meat-packing house in Chicago. It appears that the house remained in the Snow family until 1872 when Calvin returned from Chicago and sold it to Freeman Mayo, who moved it to its present site. (ORL.200)

175 Main Street         Captain John Hopkins House, 1850. (Greek Revival) In about 1860, this house was moved to this address by Captain John Hopkins, son of Asa Hopkins, a Captain in the Revolutionary War. The original location of the house was on the northwest corner of Meetinghouse Road and Hopkins Lane. (ORL.204)

178 Main Street         Freeman Mayo House, 1900.   Freeman Mayo (born 1812) served as Orleans Town Clerk and Town Treasurer from 1864-1889. He was also Constable and Tax Collector from 1873-1889. The house was inherited by Mary I. Mayo, Freeman’s stepdaughter. It would appear that since the house was built in 1900 that Freeman Mayo built it at a very old age. (ORL.203)

184 Main Street         Solomon Linnell House, c1870. (Greek Revival) Solomon Linnell purchased the land at this property in 1865 from Joseph Taylor and built the house around 1870. The 1880 map shows that by then, the property was owned by J. Mayo and that there was a blacksmith shop on the site. Deeds, however, do not confirm that a J. Mayo ever owned the property and that it was conveyed to Solomon Linnell’s daughter, Emma Linnell Percival. (ORL.207)

185 Main Street         Windsor Snow House, c1853. (Greek Revival) This house was built for Windsor Snow and his wife Alice shortly after he purchased the land in 1853. Snow was born in 1813 in Orleans and worked at sea. In 1872, he sold the house to Joseph Mayo, an undertaker who handled many of the bodies that washed ashore from shipwrecks. In 1910, the property was sold to Captain James H. Charles, who served for fifteen years with the United States Lifesaving Service. He served six years as a surfman, and the rest as Keeper of the Orleans Lifesaving Station. (ORL.205)

187 Main Street         Joseph Mayo House, 1850  This was the site of the East Orleans Post Office and General Store for a short period of time. Captain James Charles of the Orleans Lifesaving Station purchased the property in 1910.  (ORL.206)

190 Main Street         Mary S. Crosby House, c1890 The land on which this house was built was purchased by Mary S. Crosby from Samuel E. Mayo in 1889. It appears that a small library may have stood near this site before the house was built. Upon the death of Mary Crosby, the house passed to her son, Ernest R. Crosby, who owned the house until 1897, when it was acquired by Edwin S. Kendrick. The house was subsequently owned by members of the Snow and Higgins families. (ORL.208)

193 Main Street         Leander Crosby House, c1865 (Italianate) The land on which this house stands was purchased by Leander Crosby in 1853, but the style of the house suggests a construction date of circa 1865. Leander Crosby served as postmaster of Orleans in 1847 and from 1851-1858. He also served as a Deputy to the Massachusetts General Court in 1854. In partnership with his brother-in-law, Lewis Doane, he owned a business on the north side of the street which he sold in 1858 to Lot Higgins. (ORL.210)

194 Main Street         Capt. Seth P. Doane House/Ivy Lodge, c1870 (Greek Revival) The early history of this house is sketchy, but as early as 1858 a house on this site was owned by Capt. Seth P. Doane, a well-known local ship master. It is not clear whether Seth Doane or his heirs built the existing house. The second library in town was built on this property in 1854, and its president was Isaac Doane, who may have lived in this house at one time. The house passed through several members of the Doane family, and in 1910 it was acquired by Ellen Dresser. Dresser, along with an English teacher, had a class of mentally challenged children here, connected with a school in Brookline. In 1914, Dresser sold the house to Samuel Higgins. Higgins managed the “East Store” and his wife Myra maintained the house as a boarding house. Many of the residents that she took in were local teachers. In 1946, the house was purchased by Percy Goodspeed, whose wife Millie continued to run the boarding house. (ORL.209)

195 Main Street         Capt. Truman Doane House, c1855 (Greek Revival) It appears that the land on which this house was built was purchased by Truman Doane in 1855 from his brother Lewis Doane Jr. Truman Doane was born in 1812 and became a sea captain. After returning home, he served two terms in the State Legislature and fourteen years as an Orleans Selectman. (ORL.211)

199 Main Street         Alexander Kenrick House, c1860 (Italianate) It appears that the land on which this house was built was purchased by Alexander Kenrick in 1852 from Lewis Doane. Kenrick was born in Orleans in 1816 and by 1850 was married to Kesiah D. Kenrick and working as a deputy sheriff. (ORL.212)

202 Main Street         East Orleans Congregational Church Parsonage, 1835 (Greek Revival) This house was constructed in 1835 for the newly ordained minister of the Congregational Church, Stillman Pratt. The cost of the house was $540 and the money came from the Hersey Fund. Reverend Pratt was succeeded in 1839 by Hazel Lucas, who served for two years. The Reverend Jacob White followed and was living in this house as late as 1858. The house continued as a parsonage until 1881 when Jonathan Higgins, deacon of the church, sold it to Thomas Higgins and his wife Deborah. Thomas Higgins was a cobbler who maintained his shop in the ell of the house. The house was sold several more times and is now used as an inn. (ORL.213)

204 Main Street         East Orleans Congregational Church Parsonage, c1911 (Colonial Revival) The land on which this building stands was purchased in 1911 from Sarah H. Doane by the Congregational Society of Orleans. The deed specified that the land was to be used as a parsonage that must be erected in two years. The house was used by the Congregational Society until 1980 when it was sold. (ORL.202)

209 Main Street       Jesse C. Sparrow House, c1855 (Greek Revival) This house was likely built by Joseph K. Gould, as it follows the plan of many others in town built by him. J. Sparrow Jr. is listed on the 1858 map as the owner. Sparrow was a mariner born in Orleans in 1821, son of Jessie and Sally Sparrow. In 1937, the house was purchased by Orlando and Alice Snow. Orlando was in charge of the equipment at the French Cable Station and restored it to full operation after World War ll. Alice was later key in organizing the French Cable Station Museum. (ORL.219)

216 Main Street         Freeman Doane House, c1860 (Greek Revival) It appears that the land on which this house was built was acquired by Freeman Doane in 1859. At the time, there was a store on the property occupied by Leander Crosby, and this was excluded from the sale. Freeman Doane was born in 1819 and served as Postmaster in 1948 and as a Selectman from 1866-1880. (ORL.220)

217 Main Street         William Myrick General Store, c1830  At some point after 1825, William Myrick opened this store which he sold to Freeman H. Myrick, who sold it to Lewis Doane. Doane and Leander Crosby became partners and then Doane sold his share to Crosby. In 1858, Crosby sold it to Lot Higgins, who enlarged the store by adding to the front and then moving it across the street to its present location. It appears that the East Orleans Post Office was located here for many years. (ORL.221)

217 Main Street         East Orleans Country Store Historic Marker, 1976 Historical marker placed on the East Orleans Country Store in 1976 by the Orleans Bicentennial Commission. (ORL.912)

219 Main Street         Augustus Percival House, c1860 (Greek Revival) This house was constructed by Augustus Percival in 1860 after purchasing the land from Mary F. Doane. It appears to be one of the many houses in Orleans that was constructed by Joseph K. Gould. (ORL.222)

1 Beach Road            Captain Joseph D. Taylor House, c1857 (Second Empire) This house was built by Isaac Doane and sold to Captain Joseph D. Taylor in 1868. It appears that Taylor was responsible for the construction of the mansard roof section of the house. Taylor was a student at Rock Harbor Academy and went to sea at age 17. In 1844, at age 23, he became a full-fledged sea captain and continued to work at sea until 1866. He then became a partner in Seccomb and Taylor, a Boston ship-building firm famous for its fast clipper ships. Since the 1950’s the house has been operated as an inn and restaurant. (ORL.223)