Local documentary series highlights history of Cape Cod

Protect Our Past Documentary Preserves Visual History

FALMOUTH, Mass. (WLNE) — On a mission to “Protect Our Past,” a local group of historians has launched a documentary aimed at educating future generations through media.

“Understanding the present and future is about understanding where you came from,” said co-producer of the documentary series “Love Letter to Cape Cod Dennis Williams. “If you wipe out where you came from, you don’t know where you’re going.”

ABC 6 News went alongside the documentary team to tour Highfield Hall in Falmouth, Massachusetts. The historic hidden gem, an elaborate home with sweeping gardens and even a performing arts theatre on its grounds, was built by the Beebe family in 1878.

The heirs to the mercantile fortune of James Beebe built the home originally as a summer retreat in the once-quaint Cape Cod town, its lavish gardens designed by renowned Boston architect Carl Fehmer. The property was maintained by the family until the passing of the final heir in 1932, and continued to be sold through a series of owners until being given to a non-profit in 1972.

In the early 2000s, the dilapidated property that had been neglected for many years was scheduled for demolition before residents of Falmouth organized, advocating for the historic site’s preservation. Today, it is the home to Highfield Theatre and tours of the recently restored Hall.

“Highfield Hall is an amazing example of preservation of a very important historic property that will continue to educate generations,” said Ellen Briggs, president and founder of Protect Our Past.

Yet, Highfield is only one of many captivating Cape Cod spots featured in the upcoming documentary. The group has also been collecting footage from the Captain Freeman House in Brewster, The Wing House in Sandwich, and Captain’s Row in Harwich to name a few.

“It’s not just a Cape Cod story, it’s an American story. We need to do more to protect our history,” said Williams. “There are still places standing in this area that are from the 1600s. We’re talking a hundred years before this country was even founded.”

The Love Letter to Cape Cod documentary will air on July 9 at Marsh Farm in Yarmouth Port.

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