The town of Sandwich, Massachusetts, like most of the surrounding area, was occupied for thousands of years by indigenous peoples before European settlers first arrived in 1637. The area that later became Sandwich was home to the Wampanoag people, and the Mashpee Wampanoag still live in the area today. Sandwich is located on Cape Cod, a hook-shaped peninsula in Massachusetts that has been a popular tourist and vacation destination since the late 19th century. It is the oldest town on Cape Cod. Its town motto is “Post tot Naufracia Portus” which translates to “after so many shipwrecks, a haven.” Like many areas in New England, Sandwich was named for a location in England, in this case the seaport town of Sandwich, Kent. Together with the town of Yarmouth, Massachusetts, it is the oldest town on Cape Cod and was officially incorporated in 1639. In 1884, the western portion of Sandwich was annexed and became the town of Bourne. The Boston & Sandwich Glass Factory was opened in Sandwich in 1825, though business there declined following the American Civil War.
As a coastal town, early industries in Sandwich included agriculture, fishing, and trading. Today, most of Sandwich’s economy is fueled by tourism. Thousands of vacationers travel to Cape Cod every summer to take advantage of the ample beaches along the 559.6 miles of coastline there. Some of the attractions located in the town of Sandwich include the Heritage Museum and Gardens, the Wing Fort House, the Sandwich Glass Museum, the Thornton Burgess Museum, Hoxie House, the Sandwich Friends Meeting House, and Shawme Lake. The Hoxie House is the oldest house on Cape Cod and the Sandwich Friends Meeting House is the oldest Quaker meeting house in North America. As an early settlement for Quakers, Sandwich is also the host of the oldest continuous Quaker Meeting in the United States. A major portion of the Otis Air National Guard Base is located within the boundaries of Sandwich. Another popular tourist destination is the Sandwich boardwalk. The boardwalk is 1,350 feet long and is considered one of the top boardwalks in the United States. The boardwalk is located downtown and leads to the Town Beach on Cape Cod Bay.
Sandwich has a total area of 44.2 square miles. Of that, 42.7 square miles is land and 1.5 square miles is water. Cape Cod Bay borders Sandwich to the north, the town of Barnstable borders it to the east, the towns of Mashpee and Farmouth are located to the south, and Bourne is located on the western border. The entrance to the Cape Cod Canal is also located in Sandwich. The canal was opened for travel in 1914. Sandwich has a warm summer, wet all year, humid continental climate and receives the most snowfall in February.