Welcome to the Town of Mashpee MA
By: Hannah Fillmore-Patrick
Inspired by the missionary Richard Bourne, Pilgrims from Plymouth Colony began settling in Mashpee, MA in 1658. Before these European settlers arrived, the area belonged to Wampanoag Indians. Settlers invited converted Christan Wampanoags into their settlements, but excluded other tribe members. This complicated relationship between the Wampanoags and the settlers shaped the history and development of Mashpee.
When the colonists defeated hostile tribes in King Philip’s War, many Wampanoag and Nauset Indians from the mainland moved into “praying towns” such as Mashpee. These “praying towns” were inhabited by religious pilgrims determined to convert and assimilate Native Americans. After the war, Mashpee became the largest Indian reservation in Massachusetts.
The Wampanoag Indian Tribe enjoyed many rights, including the right to govern themselves. During colonial times, after the Revolutionary War, however, the tribe lost most of its independence and most of its land, although many tribe members continued to live in the area. In 2015, the government finally established a small reservation for the Wampanoag in Mashpee.
For many years Mashpee was disputed Indian territory. Land was often locked in legal battles between Wampanoag natives and European settlers. As a result Mashpee never developed a town center in the way other Cape towns had. This changed in the 2000’s when developers constructed the Mashpee Commons, an open-air shopping center that imitates the architecture and atmosphere of a classic New England town center.
The Commons has more than a hundred shops and restaurants, a cinema, a post office, a library, a church, and a senior center, along with offices and residences. Visitors will find shopping, good eats, and exciting events in this community space.
The beautiful South Cape Beach State Park is located in Mashpee, on the south end of the Upper Cape. This sandy beach stretches for a mile along the coast of Nantucket Sound and, from the shore, beachgoers can see the island of Martha’s Vineyard on the other side of the sound. From the beach, visitors can access a number of trails that wind through the park’s forested area.
Town Hall Address:
16 Great Neck Road North,
Mashpee, MA 02649
Phone: (508) 539-1400
Cost of Stickers:
Beach Stickers: $30 resident, $50/week non-resident
Transfer Station Stickers: $185
Shellfish License: $25 resident, $80 non-resident
Season Duration: Mid-June to Labor Day (beach)