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Discover Cape Cod's captivating history, art, and culture
at the Chatham Historical Society's expanded and upgraded
Atwood House Museum.

Coming Up Soon

April 19, Sunday 2 PM
Sunday Lectures At The Atwood
Governing Chatham in the 1970s and 1980s
Location: Atwood House Museum

April 26, Sunday 2 PM
Sunday Lectures At The Atwood
The Work of Chatham’s Coast Guard Today
Location: Atwood House Museum

May 10, Sunday 2 PM
Sunday Lectures At The Atwood
Cape Cod Life-saving Stations
Location: Atwood House Museum


The Chatham Historical Society will resume its Sunday lecture series on April 19th with a talk by Bill Litchfield and Tim Pennypacker on their experiences as Chatham selectmen. They served at a time when the Board of Selectmen was composed of three full timers, who – rumor has it – came in every morning, opened the mail and then stuck around to deal with issues large and small.

Among the youngest selectmen ever to be elected, both men have had a lifetime of service to Chatham. Over the years, they have gained a unique perspective of Chatham’s most recent history. Litchfield was a selectmen from 1980 through 1986, and chairman for his last two years in office. He also served as speaker of the Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates from 1889-1991 and has been Chatham town moderator from 1988 to the present. He currently has a law office in Chatham. Tim Pennypacker started his work career as a summer “cop” and then served 10 years as a year-around policeman until 1976, when he was first elected to the Board of Selectmen. He was on the Board from 1975 to 1978, and was re-elected in 1982, serving as chairman in 1987. He is presently a town constable and a justice of the peace.

The lecture series will continue on April 26th. Senior Chief Robert Goley, Officer in Charge of the Chatham Coast Guard Station, will bring the public up to date on the present workings of the local station. This lecture is one of a series given by the Chatham Historical Society about life-saving on the Cape from the earliest efforts to the present. Later in the summer a special program will concern the rescue of both the barge Wadena and the Pendleton. The Historical Society is delighted to present programs which honor those who have served Chatham so well.

On May 10th,Richard Ryder will give a talk on “Cape Cod Life-Saving Stations”. Ryder will discuss the history of the Cape Cod Life Saving Stations and show pictures of the 13 stations which once sprinkled the shoreline from Monomoy Point to Provincetown and provided a haven for ships in trouble. Established in 1872, the United States Life Saving Service served the Cape until 1915 when it was incorporated into the newly formed Coast Guard.

Richard Ryder, a 10th generation Chatham native and a grandson of a life-saving service surfman, is an expert in the history of life saving on the Cape. He is the author of the book “Sea Sentinel” about the Old Harbor Life Saving Station, which was on North Beach in Chatham before it was moved to Race Point beach in Provincetown. He is a retired Navy officer, and operations manager and coxswain of the Motor Lifeboat CG36500.

This lecture is one of a series given by the Chatham Historical Society about life-saving on the Cape from the earliest efforts to the present.

The Society’s Sunday lectures will continue through the year. See the full schedule on the Calendar of Events page. All lectures are open to the public, free of charge.


The Atwood House Museum is grateful for the support of

The Chatham Cultural Council,

The Chatham Fund of the Cape Cod Foundation,

The Arts Foundation of Cape Cod

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