Preservation of the cranberry bogs of Cape Cod as rural historic landscapes
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Type of Work132 p.
ProgramMA in Historic Preservation
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SubjectsHistoric agricultural landscapes -- Massachusetts -- Cape Cod.
Cranberries -- Massachusetts -- Cape Cod.
Historic farms -- Massachusetts -- Cape Cod.
Historic preservation -- Theses
This thesis examined the endangered cranberry bogs of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, to determine how this unique form of American agriculture can be preserved. It found many obstacles to continued cranberry farming on Cape Cod, but it also found that the nineteenth century bogs, once a pillar of the economy, have historic and scenic qualities that make them a regional and local cultural resource. It determined that most Cape cranberry bogs meet the standards for listing on the National Register of Historic Places as Rural Historic Landscapes and that recognition would insure that their historic and agricultural values are factored into government decisions affecting them. The thesis reviews the natural and historic context in which Cape Cod, became the birthplace of cranberry cultivation and then saw its small, contoured bogs struggle to compete with large-scale production elsewhere. It outlines the environmental laws and perceptions that began to undermine cranberry farming in the 1970s as population skyrocketed and the Cape began urbanizing. It also examines the impact of government purchases of bogs for open space. Approximately 1,100 acres of working cranberry bogs were identified for the study through town assessors’ records, aerial photographs and site visits. Standards used by the National Register were applied to sixty-three bogs to determine whether they continue to convey historic integrity. The study recommends that fifty-five cranberry bogs be listed in a regional Multiple Property nomination to the National Register of separate but related rural historic sites and districts.