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Barnstable is a city, referred to as the Town of Barnstable, in the U.S. state of Massachusettsmarker and the county seat of Barnstable Countymarker. Barnstable is the largest community, both in land area and population, on Cape Codmarker. The town contains seven villages (one of which is also named Barnstable) within its boundaries. Its largest village, Hyannismarker, is the central business district of the county and home to Barnstable Municipal Airportmarker, the airline hub of Cape Cod and the Islands of Martha's Vineyardmarker and Nantucketmarker. It is also a 2007 All-America City Award winner.


The JFK Monument, Hyannis
Barnstable is named after Barnstaplemarker, Devonmarker, Englandmarker. The area was first explored by Bartholomew Gosnold in 1602. It was one of the first towns to be settled, in 1636, and was incorporated in 1639, as were the other Cape towns of Sandwich and Yarmouth. The early settlers were farmers, but soon fishing and salt works became major industries in town. By the end of the 19th century, there were some 804 ships harbored in the town. But this came to a decline with the rise of the railroad, which had arrived in 1854, and by steam salamanders, a type of train.

By the late 19th century, however, Barnstable was becoming world-renowned as the tourist destination it is to this day. Many prominent Bostonians spent their summers on the Cape shores, as did Presidents Ulysses S. Grant and Grover Cleveland. However, the most famous family to summer in the town was, and still is, the Kennedy family, who can still be found living in the Kennedy Compound in Hyannis Port. It was the summer home of President John F. Kennedy during his administration, and was likewise the home of Senator Ted Kennedy until his death.

Today, tourists come in droves to the town during the summer months. There is abundant shopping in the quaint shops of Hyannis, as well as the John F. Kennedy Museum and several other museums. The town's many beaches are popular as well.


Barnstable Harbor, as seen from Millway Beach.
Barnstable is located at (41.659158, -70.353059), about halfway along the "biceps" of the Cape Codmarker "arm." According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of , of which, of it is land and of it (21.26%) is water. It is bordered by Cape Cod Baymarker on the north, Nantucket Soundmarker on the south, Sandwichmarker and Mashpeemarker on the west and Yarmouthmarker on the east. Barnstable is approximately seventy miles southeast of Bostonmarker.

The Town of Barnstable contains seven villages:

Barnstable is a town of many facets. To the north lie the dunes of Sandy Neck along Barnstable Harbor, tipped by the Sandy Neck Lighthouse. The central part of the town is dominated by the pines and oaks around Wequaquet Lake. The south is where the bulk of the population lives, many along the beaches of Centerville and Hyannis Harbors.


Both U.S. Route 6 and Route 28 pass through the town from west to east, with Route 6 being a four-lane freeway through the town. Routes 6A, 132, 149 and a brief, 1/10 mile portion of 130 are also located in town. Route 6A follows an east-west route to the north of Route 6, on its route between Sagamore and the Orleans Rotary. Routes 132 and 149 are both entirely located within the town, and both begin at 6A and end at Rte. 28.

Freight rail service is provided by the Massachusetts Coastal Railroad. The Cape Cod Central Railroad operates seasonal tourist excursions from Hyannismarker to Sandwichmarker and Sagamoremarker, with some scheduled weekend stops at the West Barnstablemarker depot on Route 149 near Route 6A. The nearest inter-city (Amtrak) passenger rail stations are Boston's South Stationmarker and Providencemarker. The Kingston/Route 3marker and Middleborough/Lakevillemarker stations of the MBTA's commuter rail system provide the closest direct service to Boston.

The town is the site of two airports. Cape Cod Airportmarker is a smaller airfield, used primarily for private travel, and Barnstable Municipal Airportmarker at Polando Field is used for regional flights, especially between the Cape and the Islands. The nearest national and international air service can be reached at Logan International Airportmarker in Boston. Hyannis is also the site of the main ferry lines to Nantucketmarker and Martha's Vineyardmarker.


As of the census of 2000, there were 47,821 people, 19,626 households, and 13,012 families residing in the town. The population density was . There were 25,018 housing units at an average density of . The racial makeup of the town was 91.85% White, 2.74% Black or African American, 0.59% Native American, 0.81% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.67% from other races, and 2.30% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.70% of the population. 24.2% were of Irish, 13.3% English, 9.3% Italian and 5.5% Americanmarker ancestry according to Census 2000. 92.1% spoke English, 3.4% Portuguese, 1.6% Spanish and 1.0% French as their first language.

There were 19,626 households out of which 26.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.4% were married couples living together, 10.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.7% were non-families. 27.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 2.88.

In the town the population was spread out with 22.0% under the age of 18, 5.6% from 18 to 24, 26.8% from 25 to 44, 25.5% from 45 to 64, and 20.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 91.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.9 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $46,811, and the median income for a family was $54,026. Males had a median income of $41,494 versus $30,442 for females. The per capita income for the town was $25,554. About 6.3% of families and 8.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.7% of those under age 18 and 5.9% of those age 65 or over.

Population trends

1930 7,271
1940 8,333
1950 10,480
1960 13,465
1970 19,842
1980 30,898
1990 40,949
2000 47,821
2002 48,854 (estimate)

Barnstable County Court House, in Barnstable.
Barnstable is represented in the Massachusetts House of Representatives as a part of the Second, Third and Fifth Barnstable Districts. The town is represented in the Massachusetts Senate as a part of the Plymouth and Barnstable and Cape and Islands Districts, the former including Bourne, Falmouth, Kingston, Pembroke, Plymouth, Plympton and Sandwich and the latter including the rest of Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. The town is patrolled by the Second (Yarmouth) Barracks of Troop D of the Massachusetts State Police.

On the national level, Barnstable is a part of Massachusetts's 10th congressional district, and is currently represented by Bill Delahunt. The state's senior (Class II) member of the United States Senate, re-elected in 2008, is John Kerry. Since the death of Senator Ted Kennedy in August 2009, the other Senate seat has yet to be filled.

The town is governed by the council-manager form of government, led by a town manager and town council. (This governmental structure makes it officially a city by Massachusetts law, however it is incorporated as a town) The town hall is located within the village of Hyannis, and the police station is located on Route 132, closer to the geographic center of town. There are eight fire stations, seven libraries and ten post offices located throughout the town, with the largest or central branches usually being in the downtown Hyannis area. Hyannis also is the site of the Cape Cod Hospital, which serves the central Cape region. Also, as the county seat of Barnstable County, the town is the site of the county courthouse and juvenille lockup at the old house of corrections, as well as the offices of the Cape and Islands district attorney.


Barnstable has a council–manager government. It was created when the town rewrote its charter and was moved from a selectman, town meeting form of government to a town council form of government in 1989. The first town manager, Warren Rutherford, was in office from 1990-1997. His successor, John Tinsley, was in office from 1997 to 1999, when he died from a heart attack. He was succeeded by present manager John Klimm. Recently, Klimm's contract was extended until 2012. This is going on at a time when some are considering rewriting the charter so that the town could have a mayor. Current plans aren't going far, but some are still determined to get this passed.


Barnstable has the largest public school enrollment of any city or town on Cape Cod, with over 5,000 students. The town operates an Early Learning Center for pre-kindergarten students and seven elementary schools serving various grades, including: Centerville (K-4), Cotuit (3-4), Hyannis East (K-4), Hyannis West (K-4), Marstons Mills (PK-2), Osterville (K-2), and Barnstable West Barnstable (K-4). (In practice, Marstons Mills students graduate to Cotuit, and Osterville to Osterville Bay). There is also the Marstons Mills East Horace Mann Charter School, which offers grades K-4. The Barnstable Horace Mann Charter Schoolmarker is open to fifth and sixth grade students, and all town fifth grade students attend this school. The Barnstable Middle Schoolmarker serves grades seven and eight, and is located on Route 28 behind Barnstable High Schoolmarker, which serves grades nine through twelve. Barnstable's athletic teams are nicknamed the Red Raiders (using a logo similar to that of Texas Tech Universitymarker), and their colors are red and white. Their teams are highly successful, because of the large student body from which to choose players. Notable town rivals of the Red Raiders are Sandwich and Falmouth. Barnstable has played Falmouth in football on Thanksgiving Day nearly every year since 1895, making the annual game one of the longest-standing high school football rivalries in history.

In addition to its public schools, there are also several private schools in Barnstable. There are five Christian schools, three of which are not Catholic: Bayberry Christian Academy (K-3), Faith Christian School (PK-12), and Trinity Christian Academy (PK-12). There are two Catholic schools, Saint Francis Xavier Prep (5-8) and Pope John Paul II High Schoolmarker, which opened in 2007. Barnstable is also home to the Academy of Early Learning (PK-6), Veritas Academy (K-8), and the Cape Cod Academymarker, a private K-12 school. There are also two special education schools (Southeast Alternative & Beacon Point), as well as the Sturgis Charter School, which serves high school-aged students. Additionally, high school students have the option of attending Cape Cod Regional Technical High School in Harwich free of charge.

Barnstable is also the home to Cape Cod Community Collegemarker, a two-year junior college affiliated with Suffolk Universitymarker in Boston.

References in pop culture

In a Peanuts cartoon, Linus, traumatized that Lucy has buried his blanket, states, "That's the first time in my life I ever dreamed about Hyannis Portmarker!"

The Boston song, "Rock and Roll Band," contains the line: "Dancin' in the streets of Hyannis."

In the Seinfeld episode "The Baby Shower", Elaine's friend Leslie mentions that her husband is away in Hyannis Port, to which Elaine replies "Oh my God, Hyannis Port? With the Kennedys? Who else is up there? Is Rose up there?"

In Vampire Weekend's song 'Walcott', lyrics mention "Hyannis Portmarker is the ghetto" while singing about Cape Cod.

Notable residents

Residents who have resided in town at one time or another are listed here.

Image:Andy Hallett at Flanvention 1.jpg|Andy HallettImage:Joseph Kennedy.jpg|Joseph KennedyImage:Kerouac by Palumbo.jpg|Jack KerouacImage:Ted Kennedy, official photo portrait.jpg|Edward M. KennedyImage:John F. Kennedy, White House color photo portrait.jpg|John F. KennedyImage:Joe Kennedy.jpg|Joseph P. Kennedy IIImage:Patrick J. Kennedy, official Congressional photo.JPG|Patrick J. KennedyImage:Rose kennedy.JPG|Rose Fitzgerald KennedyImage:Robert F. Kennedy 1964.jpeg|Robert F. KennedyImage:Capt. John Percival.jpg|Capt. John PercivalImage:Lemuelshaw.jpg|Lemuel ShawImage:Sargent Shriver 1962.jpg|Robert Sargent ShriverImage:Eunice-zurab.jpg|Eunice Kennedy ShriverImage:Kathleen Kennedy Townsend giving out awards, 2001, cropped.jpg|Kathleen Kennedy TownsendImage:Mercy Otis Warren.jpg|Mercy Otis Warren


See also


  1. Galvin Francis, Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (2007) Citizen Information Service, A Listing of Counties and the Cities and Towns Within BARNSTABLE
  2. Town of Barnstable (2007) Information Systems Department, Official Website of the town of Barnstable Welcome to The Town of Barnstable retrieved 10/7/2007
  3. Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Street Atlas. South Easton, MA: Arrow Maps Inc., 2004, p. 20.
  4. Massachusetts Institute for Social and Economic Research
  5. U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division
  6. Index of Legislative Representation by City and Town, from
  7. Station D-2, SP Yarmouth

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