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Woods Hole is a census-designated place (CDP) in the town of Falmouthmarker in Barnstable Countymarker, Massachusettsmarker, United Statesmarker. It lies at the extreme southwest corner of Cape Codmarker, near Martha's Vineyardmarker and the Elizabeth Islands. The population was 925 at the 2000 census.

It is the site of several famous marine science institutions, including Woods Hole Oceanographic Institutionmarker, the Marine Biological Laboratorymarker, the Woods Hole Research Center, NOAA's Northeast Fisheries Science Center (which started the Woods Hole scientific community in 1871), a USGS coastal and marine geology center, and the home campus of the Sea Education Association. It is also the site of United States Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England (formerly USCG Group Woods Hole) , the Nobska Lightmarker lighthouse, and the terminus of the Steamship Authority ferry route between Cape Cod and the island of Martha's Vineyardmarker.


Historically, Woods Hole included one of the few good harbors (along with Hyannis) on the southern side of Cape Cod (i.e. Great Harbor, contained by Penzance Point) and became a center for whaling, shipping, and fishing, prior to its dominance today by tourism and marine research. At the end of the nineteenth century, Woods Hole was the home of the Pacific Guano Company, which produced fertilizer from bird dung imported from islands in the Pacific Ocean, the Caribbean, and the coast of South Carolina. After the firm went bankrupt in 1889, Long Neck– the peninsula on which their factory was located– was renamed Penzance Point and was developed with Shingle-Style summer homes for bankers and lawyers from New York and Boston. Notable property owners on Penzance Point at the beginning of the twentieth century included Seward Prosser of New York's Bankers Trust Company; Francis Bartow, a partner in J. P. Morgan and Company; Joseph Lee, a partner in Lee, Higginson & Co.; and Franklin A. Park, an executive of Singer Sewing Machine. Other notable businessmen established homes on Gansett Point, Nobska Point, and at Quissett Harbor, further from the village center.

The term "Woods Hole" refers to a passage for ships between Vineyard Sound and Buzzards Baymarker known for its extremely strong current, approaching four knots [17918].
The Knob is a local landmark: a rocky outcropping that overlooks Buzzards Bay and Quisset Harbor, a part of the privately owned Salt Pond bird sanctuaries.

Connection to the Islands

Ferries operated by the Steamship Authority run regularly between Woods Hole and Martha's Vineyard. In the past ferries also ran between Woods Hole and Nantucket, but these have been discontinued in recent decades.

Falmouth Road Race

The annual Falmouth Road Race brings thousands of runners to Woods Hole in August each year. The route of the seven-mile race starts outside the front door of the Captain Kidd, a tavern, and follows the shore of Vineyard Sound through Falmouth to the British Beer Company, another tavern, in Falmouth Heights.


Woods Hole is the home of the Children's School of Science, Inc. Founded in 1913, this institution (locally known as "CSS" and "Science School") provides science classes for students between 8 and 15 years old that focus on scientific investigation by observation. Students regularly visit ecosystems around the village to study the organisms in their natural environments. The Children's School of Science draws upon the talent brought to the village by the research institutions but also educates the children of both scientists and locals.Some mention of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institutionmarker is made in the 1975 blockbuster film Jaws as having been the center of research for the fictional character Matt Hooper. Hooper is described as a marine biologist, focusing on the study of sharks. Coincidentally, a Great White Shark was spotted some years later at Woods Hole in September 2004.

Significance to maritime navigation

Woods Hole, the town, is located at Woods Hole the strait, which separates Cape Codmarker from the Elizabeth Islands (specifically, Uncatena Islandmarker and Nonamesset Islandmarker). It is one of four straits allowing maritime passage between Buzzards Baymarker and the Vineyard Sound. The others are Canapitsit Channel, Quick's Holemarker and Robinson's Hole.


Woods Hole is located at (41.526730, -70.663184).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 10.0 km² (3.9 mi²). 5.6 km² (2.2 mi²) of it is land and 4.5 km² (1.7 mi²) of it (44.33%) is water.

Much of Woods Hole [17919]centers around the enclosed harbor of Eel Pond. A drawbridge at the mouth of the harbor allows boats to enter and exit the harbor according to a fixed schedule.

The local lighthouse at Nobska Point is operated by the USCG, and the accompanying house is the home of the commander of the USCG base at Little Harbor.


As of the census of 2000, there were 925 people, 459 households, and 212 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 165.3/km² (427.9/mi²). There were 942 housing units at an average density of 168.4/km² (435.8/mi²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 94.70% White, 1.62% African American, 0.54% Native American, 1.84% Asian, 0.22% from other races, and 1.08% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.97% of the population.

There were 459 households out of which 14.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.7% were married couples living together, 5.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 53.6% were non-families. 40.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.94 and the average family size was 2.58.

In the CDP the population was spread out with 13.5% under the age of 18, 7.1% from 18 to 24, 25.7% from 25 to 44, 26.4% from 45 to 64, and 27.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 48 years. For every 100 females, there are 94.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.7 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $47,604, and the median income for a family was $57,969. Males had a median income of $31,964 versus $31,875 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $30,752. None of the families and 5.3% of the population were living below the poverty line, including no under 18 and 6.4% of those over 64.

Notable residents

Notable current and former residents of Woods Hole include:

See also


  1. [1]
  2. Grimes, William. "Sheldon J. Segal, Who Developed Contraceptives, Dies at 83", The New York Times, October 20, 2009. Accessed October 22, 2009.

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