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Truro Town

Truro Town Hall is located at 24 Town Hall Road, Truro MA 02666; phone: 508-349-7004.

Beginnings [1]

The area was first settled in 1700 by the Pamet Proprietors who had organized about 1689. Truro was incorporated in 1709.

At Eastham, schools of blackfish stranded on the sand flats provided an early source of income. Soon Truro men took to boats, and, armed with harpoons, helped to initiate the whaling industry. Edicts in 1711 and 1713 forbidding the exhaustion of the sparse timber in the process of extracting line from shell beds left by Indians, restricting the grazing of cattle, and requiring the planting of beach grass, indicate early concern for the harbors, which began to silt up just at a time when the decline of shore fishing made larger boats necessary. The year 1850 marked the peak of expansion with a population of 2,051 and a fleet of 111 vessels. From then on, marine disasters, with attendant property loss and business failure, sealed Truro's industrial fate.

The close of the Civil War, to which Truro contributed the services of over 200 men, marked a further decline. Offshore weirs superseded the whalers and codfish boats, cheaper sources of supply abroad ruined a thriving salt business, and farming without extensive fertilization was unprofitable.

With its harbors obliterated and its population dwindled to 541 persons, Truro attracted a colony of writers who found its quiet simplicity and freedom from crows a congenial environment for creative work into the 1930s.

  1. Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration for Massachusetts, Massachusetts: A Guide to Its Places and People, American Guide Series, The Riverside Press, Cambridge, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1937.
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