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Cape Cod The Packet Lines

Before the coming of the railroad to Cape Cod almost all touch with the outside world was made by means of sailing packet lines. From almost every village of the inside shore of the Cape one or more of these lines were run.

Passengers and goods were carried by them to and from Boston. These lines were also run between Boston and Chatham but the usual way was to notify the villages on the outside of the Cape of the time of the arrival and departure of these vessels. This was done by putting up signals on some high place that could be seen by those living in these villages.

The packet business was a profitable one. Those who made the most money sailed the best vessels. Speed and comfort for the passengers were prime factors and a good deal of rivalry existed among the owners, sailors and agents of these vessels.

One by one, as the iron tracks of the railroad reached down the Cape, these sailing packets were withdrawn. Provincetown was the last place in the country to have water communication daily with Boston. There was a daily steamer that ran between the two places but it finally went out of business when travel by rail and automobile became easier. Today the only passenger service by water between Boston and Provincetown runs during the summer months, mostly for tourist travel.

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Cape Cod
Posted by Cape Cod - (website) on 02/24/06
Categories: History
Keywords: history, maritime, packet lines, coastal trade, sailing


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