The South Wellfleet Railroad Station and General Store

Mail, passengers, and cargo. . . all passed through this lowly little platform at the South Wellfleet Railroad Station.

Mail, passengers, and cargo. . . all passed through this lowly little platform at the South Wellfleet Railroad Station. General Store in the background. Store and railroad platform on the west side of the tracks. Platform facing east.

When Eva Paine Smith was a little girl, the railroad was constructed through Wellfleet on its way to land’s end in Provincetown (1870′s).  This new, convenient mode of transportation enabled more frequent visits to friends and cousins in other towns,  visits which had previously been accomplished by sailboat or stagecoach. But the railroad also robbed the schooner packet trade of cargo. In the summer, city visitors poured onto the breezy Cape via railroad to escape the heat and enjoy the seashore, thus establishing the new economy sustained by tourism.  The novel is set in the midst of these economic changes, which heralded the demise of the proud Cape Cod mariner tradition.Author Newcomb et alThese folks are posing in front of the open west-facing door of the general store, the afternoon sun in their eyes. The gentleman to the right with a bowler hat is a sea captain, an earned  fashion statement of distinction back in the day. Arthur Newcomb, railroad station manager, is also present.

Waiting for the train, South Wellfleet, Massachusetts        (Paine family photograph collection)

South Wellfleet RR Station Manager, Art Newcomb

South Wellfleet RR Station Manager, Art Newcomb. Note the absence of trees along the tracks, which was the general condition of the outer Cape in the 1800′s.

Ready to deliver from the South Wellfleet General Store and Rail Road Station.

Ready to deliver from the South Wellfleet General Store and Rail Road Station.

 

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