The idea of constructing a canal to connect Buzzards Bay and Cape Cod Bay was considered as early as 1632 by Miles Standish of Plymouth Colony. Although the canal was not to be built for centuries, the idea of the Cape Cod Canal was born.
George Washington gave credence to this idea during the Revolutionary War when he saw a need for a canal to offer greater security to America. A report was ordered and Thomas Machin, an Engineer with the Continental Army, investigated the possibility of building the Canal in 1776. This is the first documented Cape Cod Canal survey.
In 1904, August Perry Belmont purchased the Boston, Cape Cod and New York Canal Company which owned the charter for the construction of the Canal. He reorganized the company and, after enlisting a renowned Civil Engineer, William Barclay Parson, broke ground on June 22, 1909. The Buzzards Bay Railroad Bridge was completed in 1910, followed by the Bourne Bridge in 1911 and the Sagamore Bridge in 1912. On July 29, 1914, the Cape Cod Canal opened as a privately owned waterway.
In 1918, President Woodrow Wilson ordered that the canal be sold to Federal Railroad Administration as a measure of defense. In March of 1928, the Canal was sold for $11,500,000. The Canal underwent great improvements and today is a toll free waterway, measuring 480 feet wide, 32 feet deep and 17.4 miles long.
The Recreation Hotline is (508) 759-5991 for fishing information, weather reports and special programs. For additional information on the programs offered at the Cape Cod Canal Region, please call (508) 759-4431.