Onset - Now and Then

By Upper Cape Realty | Dec 30, 2015
Upper Cape Realty - Serving your neighborhood for over 50 years

Waterfront Community in the Town of Wareham — Onset is an historic Victorian waterfront community in the Town of Wareham Massachusetts on the shores of Buzzards Bay. Built in the 1800s as a self-sufficient resort community most of the original storefronts and cottages remain, allowing it to retain the Victorian charm of the era.

Its location on Buzzards Bay offers pristine beaches, excellent kayaking, biking, fishing and boating opportunities and beautiful vistas every where you look. The water is within a short walk from everywhere in the Village.

Only 45 miles from Boston and Providence, it's an easy drive that bypasses the heavy traffic associated with crossing the Sagamore and Bourne bridges. But for visitors who also want to visit the sites on the Main Cape, it's only 2 miles from the Cape Cod Canal and its lovely bike trails.

Onset is a thriving summer resort with a downtown village shopping area, restaurants, inns, cafes, ice cream shops, antiques, and summer rental cottages.

The beach draws thousands of visitors every day during the summer who enjoy the Victorian charm and low key atmosphere of the area. There is something for everyone here -whether you are looking for a romantic getaway, an old-fashioned family vacation, or you enjoy fishing, boating, taking a canal cruise or bike/hike the many trails.

 

History

 

From it's early days Onset has attracted summer inhabitants. First as a summer fishing ground for Native Americans, then as a summer respite for religious spiritualists.

In 1848 it started to flourish as a summer resort when trains arrived from Boston to carry industrial goods to market, thus introducing Bostonians and other urban dwellers to Onset.

Cottage and hotels were built and as more transportation options grew, so did the population. Tourists arrived daily by train, sailboat, and steamers.

Onset was once a major terminus for the old side wheeler steamboat ferries. The route included New Bedford, Woods Hole, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. Hotels in operation at that time were the Oak Crest and Anchor Inn on Onset Ave (featured in the movie "Kennedy's of Massachusetts" and still around today), restaurants, theaters, and the Casino where the likes of Tommy Dorsey, Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington played. The bathing pavilion had the capacity to rent 1,000 woolen suits to bathers, comfortable dressing rooms and large Turkish towels.

Onset really started to flourish in 1848 when trains arrived from Boston to carry industrial goods to market, thus introducing Bostonians to Onset. Cottages were built, hotels constructed; and as the tourist population grew, the tourists arrived daily by train, sailboat, and steamers. Onset was once a major terminus for the old side wheeler steamboat ferries. The route included New Bedford, Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.

Tourists enjoyed hotels (the Oak Crest and Anchor Inn on Onset Avenue were the filming sites for the movie, "Kennedys of Massachusetts"), restaurants, theaters, stores, shops, trolley cars, and a casino where people danced to the likes of Tommy Dorsey, Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington. The bathing pavilion had the capacity to give 1,000 bathers woolen suits (word has it tourists rented the suits), comfortable dressing rooms and large Turkish towels.

Around 1930, with the advent of the automobile and highways opening up the Cape Cod areas, tourists began bypassing Onset. An urban revitalization coupled with the crowded Cape Cod areas and traffic congestion are causing people to rediscover Onset.

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The information was compiled from many online sources - a few are listed below:

http://freepages.history.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~howardlake/amusement27/onsetma.html

http://pb.travelhost.com/assets/eMag/coastalmass/previous-issues/071915/index.html#/34/

http://www.jyc.org/Cruising/JYC2011AnnualCruiseWebVersion.pdf

http://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/ocean-spray-cranberry-canners-onset-cape-cod-ma

http://www.islandtimeofhollywood.com/3.html

http://www.nemasketkayak.com/nemasket_history.html

THANK YOU ANDREA SMITH for researching the information for links. NO plagiarism intended, just re-posting some interesting history about the area that was found online - the error was not adding the links where the information was found.

Comments (20)
Posted by: justin beiber | Dec 30, 2015 16:47

 

Is there a war brewing between Upper Cape Realty and Berkshire Hathaway?

The above post hints that it is more than just a maybe.

Upper Cape Realty's story is far more interesting than anything Berkshire Hathaway has posted in Biz Briefs.

But that's just my opinion.



Posted by: totellthetruth | Dec 30, 2015 18:56

Advertising value not withstanding, this was a pretty interesting piece. How about some more historical pieces? i.e. Horseshoe Mill, Tremont Nail, Textile Mill(?) in East Wareham, boat building at the Narrows,



Posted by: greycat | Dec 31, 2015 16:30

Interesting but almost totally inaccurate.  Onset did not start develpoment as a village until about 1876.  The rail links and ferry boats came after that.  Onset suffered during Roosevelt's depression just like most of the country.  The war came along and Camp Edwards gave Onset an economic shot in the arm which continued until the closing of Otis Air Force Base.  Some of the "tourists" bypass Onset, but the regular summer folks arrive every year.  A very nice place to live.  Glad they didn't drag Ruth McGurk into the story!



Posted by: Andrea Smith | Dec 31, 2015 20:12

From The Onset Bay Association website’s “History” option:

 

http://www.onsetbay.org/283-2/

 

“From its early days, Onset has attracted summer inhabitants – first as a summer fishing ground for Native Americans, then as a summer respite for religious spiritualists.

 

In 1848 it started to flourish as a summer resort when trains arrived from Boston to carry industrial goods to market, thus introducing Bostonians and other urban dwellers to Onset.

 

Cottage and hotels were built, and as more transportation options grew, so did the population. Tourists arrived daily by train, sailboat, and steamers.

 

Onset was once a major terminus for the old side wheeler steamboat ferries. The route included New Bedford, Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket. Hotels in operation at that time were the Oak Crest and Anchor Inn on Onset Ave (featured in the movie Kennedys of Massachusetts and still around today), restaurants, theaters, and the Casino where the likes of Tommy Dorsey, Cab Calloway, and Duke Ellington played. The bathing pavilion had the capacity to rent 1,000 woolen suits to bathers, comfortable dressing rooms, and large Turkish towels.”

 

 

From OnsetIsland.com:

 

http://people77.com/Onset/history.asp

 

“Onset really started to flourish in 1848 when trains arrived from Boston to carry industrial goods to market, and thus introducing Bostonians to Onset. Cottages were built, hotels constructed; and as the tourist population grew, the tourists arrived daily by train, sailboat, and steamers. Onset was once a major terminus for the old side wheeler steamboat ferries. The route included New Bedford, Woods Hole, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket. Onset Village was known as Pine Point, bought by the Spiritualists in the late 1800's. It was not until they named their Association the Onset Bay Grove Association that Pine Point begins to be thought of as Onset.”



Posted by: totellthetruth | Jan 01, 2016 06:47

Wow! That little "copy-paste" feature on our computers sure makes plagiarism easy. (LOL)

It was still an interesting piece.



Posted by: Warehamlifer | Jan 01, 2016 08:13

I pledge my support to the Angus family and upper cape realty.Berkshire Hathaway on the other hand in my opinion is just out to make the second wealthiest man in the world pockets bigger.



Posted by: Zephyr | Jan 01, 2016 08:53

In any case, I enjoyed the read.



Posted by: Andrea Smith | Jan 01, 2016 15:31

Personally, I think Upper Cape has presented its "blog" contributions in a very tasteful manner, offering information that is locally applicable and in the instances of their blogs, "Holiday Home Decorating Safety" and "Keeping Your Pets Safe During the Holidays" timely, helpful and potentially lifesaving. I have especially appreciated the manner in which they present their blogs, initially listing Upper Cape Realty as the blog source, but then presenting the information in a blog format without trying to incorporate further reference to their office, office achievements, services, etc.

 

 There is advertising for Upper Cape Realty available immediately beside the blog, but I think that's an appropriate presentation. Personally I think there is a big difference between an effort to incorporate advertising into the content of a blog and advertising being presented outside the margin of the blog.

 

When I read Greycat’s comment suggesting that information in Upper Cape Realty’s blog was incorrect, I did what is natural for me, and researched the information. The two sources which I sited above appear to me to indicate Upper Cape Realty’s blog accuracy is backed up by two Onset-specific organiztions.

 

In researching the accuracy of the information which appears in the blog above, I found the information replicated either in part or in its entirety in a number of places in addition to the Onset Bay Association website, the OnsetIsland.com website and Upper Cape Realty’s blog. I did not list all of the sites because my purpose was to verify the accuracy of information, and I felt the two websites I sited were sufficient enough to do that.

 

However in light of the plagiarism comment above and in the interest of indicating that replication of the information either in part or in its entirety is not uncommon, I offer the following additional links:

 

http://freepages.history.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~howardlake/amusement27/onsetma.html

 

http://pb.travelhost.com/assets/eMag/coastalmass/previous-issues/071915/index.html#/34/

 

http://www.jyc.org/Cruising/JYC2011AnnualCruiseWebVersion.pdf

 

http://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/ocean-spray-cranberry-canners-onset-cape-cod-ma

 

http://www.islandtimeofhollywood.com/3.html

 

http://www.nemasketkayak.com/nemasket_history.html

 



Posted by: OnsetForLife | Jan 03, 2016 09:24

None of this matters,  Onset is not the wonderful place it once was.  Tourist are being scared away with lack of parking, anti smoking laws, no trash cans on the beach, they have to walk across the street from the beach to use a bathroom, drug addicts and drunks hanging out in the center of town.   The list goes on and on.   So, when you advertise Upper Cape Realty,  Make sure you talk about how Onset "really is" these days.

 



Posted by: Spherebreaker | Jan 03, 2016 21:29

If we had today's Planning Board back then, Onset would not exist. They would still be bickering over the lot size. Todays Nimbys would have also ended any development and would have already had the Town building, maintaining,plowing and subsidizing their private parking spaces before it was recently done for them



Posted by: greycat | Jan 04, 2016 12:38

Repeating wrong information does not make it right unless your are peddling propaganda.

In1848, the railroad arrived in WAREHAM, on it's way to SANDWICH.  As late as 1874 there were no scheduled stops for Onset on the Old Colony Line.

Onset was the private property of Benjamin Gibbs until the Onset Bay Grove Association bought about 150 acres of land which composes most of the village ans shorefornts of Onset in 1877.  Almost immediately after the purchase, a steamboat wharf was constructed where STASH's pizza now sits. 

Onset Junction was the railroad connection, with a depot at the end of Main Avenue in Riverside, with a small condensing steam locomotive running through Riverside to the center of the village.  The locomotive was called a "dummy" locomotive, hence the name for Dummy Bridge.

Once Onset Avenue was created, linking Onset village to East Wareham, the New Bedford and Onset Street Railway laid track along the roadside,and, since it was very close to the old Colony track in East Wareham, the  depot at the end of Main Avenue in Riverside was loaded onto flatcars and moved to where it sits now at Depot Auto.

The DUDE Train, as it was called would drop passengers off in East wareham, where the would get the "streetcar"to Onset.  Asnd old friend used to tell me, the dudes would arrive Friday night with 5 dollars and a clean white shirt and change neither one when they left Subday night for Boston.

All happeneing after 1877 not 1848.  Ruth McGurk was murdered in 1946.



Posted by: Spherebreaker | Jan 04, 2016 13:42

What happened to Ruth McGurk and has there been any other murders in Onset since?



Posted by: Andrea Smith | Jan 04, 2016 15:31

Greycat - have you considered sharing the information that you posted in your comment with the Onset Bay Association?



Posted by: justin beiber | Jan 04, 2016 16:20

 

I disagree with Onset for Life's doomsday scenario.

Yes, penny pinching tourists may have abandoned Onset once they learned that the town began charging a fee to park here.

But from what I observed last summer, plenty of folks visited us on a daily basis and frequented our beaches and restaurants.

Most important, they appeared to have no issue with paying the town's nominal parking fee.

As for the statement that drug addicts and drunks are hanging out in the center of town, I can only surmise that this is a reference to the folks who loiter outside the Cash Market.

One of them is a homeless man.

He's actually very nice if you ever give him the time of day, which I doubt you will.

Some of the other loiterers are questionable, I grant you.

I used to avoid going to the Cash Market because of this very issue. 

But let's face it. That store is far more convenient than trekking all the way over to Cranberry Highway.

So now I go there all the time.

And whenever I see undesirables mulling around in front of their shop, I remind the owners that it's bad for business.

Invariably, they go outside and shoo them away.

As for inconvenient toilets, lack of trash cans and anti-smoking laws, there are many therapists in town available to help you with those issues.



Posted by: Whm4now | Jan 04, 2016 18:03

Hey, a trained therapist could deal with the multiple personalities and how they continually talk to each other on this site.  It's rather funny.



Posted by: OnsetForLife | Jan 05, 2016 09:21

Justin is delusional



Posted by: justin beiber | Jan 05, 2016 14:54

 

Hah!



Posted by: Hairy Buttz | Jan 13, 2016 22:25

WHM4NOW funny you should mention that...hmmmm a spheresomebody said the exact same thing. How uncanny...The things that make you go hmmmmm LOL :)



Posted by: Hairy Buttz | Jan 13, 2016 22:28

...



Posted by: Hairy Buttz | Jan 15, 2016 11:15

Any good churches in Onset, where the holyspirit leads the service? Exciting fellowship in the area??



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