Barnstable, MA

Barnstable, MA

John Phelan, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Barnstable, Massachusetts is the largest community both in terms of area and in population on Cape Cod, a hook shaped peninsula located in Massachusetts that is a popular vacation destination each summer. Its official title is the Town of Barnstable, and it is one of thirteen municipalities in the state of Massachusetts that have been granted city forms of government. According to the 2020 census, Barnstable had a population of 48,916 and it is the county seat of Barnstable County. The Town of Barnstable consists of several villages within its limits. These villages include the village of Barnstable, Centerville, Cotuit, Marstons Mills, Osterville, and Hyannis. Hyannis is Barnstable’s largest village and includes Barnstable County’s business district, the ferry used to reach Nantucket Island, and the Barnstable Municipal Airport.

Barnstable is located about 70 miles from the Massachusetts state capital of Boston and is bordered by Cape Cod Bay to the north, Nantucket Sound to the south, the towns of Sandwich and Mashpee to the west and the town of Yarmouth to the east.

Barnstable was initially settled by European colonists in 1638, making it one of the oldest towns in the Plymouth colony. Nearby Sandwich, Massachusetts, which is located further south on Cape Cod, was settled one year earlier. The Town of Barnstable was officially incorporated in 1693 on the same day that the towns of Sandwich and Yarmouth were also incorporated. Given its location on the coast, agriculture, fishing, and salt works all became major industries of the area. Barnstable and the rest of Cape Cod began distinguishing itself as a popular tourist destination as early as the end of the 19th century. Today, thousands of vacationers visit the town every summer to enjoy its ample beaches, historic locations, and maritime atmosphere. One of the most notable points of interest is the Kennedy Compound located in the village of Hyannis inside Barnstable. The Compound, which consists of three buildings, is still the home of members of the Kennedy family and was the base from which John F. Kennedy ran his successful 1960 presidential campaign. He later used the Compound as his summer White House.

The Town of Barnstable has a total area of 76.47 square miles. Of that, 59.93 square miles is land and 16.54 square feet is water. With a population of 48,916 residents, 91.85% were White, 2.74% were Black or African American, 2.30% identified as mixed or multi-racial, 1.70% were Hispanic or Latino, 1.67% identified as other races, 0.81% were Asian, 0.59% were Native American, and 0.04% were Pacific Islander. At the time of the 2000 census the median income was $46,811 and the median income for a family was $54,026. Barnstable has a humid continental climate.

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