Welcome to Dennis
Settled in 1639 by John Crowe, Antony Thatcher and Thomas Howes as part of Yarmouth, Dennis officially separated from its neighbor and incorporated as a town in 1793. Named after the resident minister, Reverend Josiah Dennis, the new municipality continued its agricultural focus, but seafaring soon became a major industry in the town. The Shiverick Shipyard, located near the mouth of Sesuit Creek, was famous as the only shipyard on the Cape to produce large clipper ships, while many smaller shipyards were making fishing vessels or merchant ships that transported goods and materials via the Bass River. Dennis was a prodigious salt manufacturer and by 1803 there were 24 different salt works operating in town. Cranberry growing also flourished in Dennis, and the town once boasted a busy railroad depot and shipping wharves.
Dennis is home to the Cape Playhouse, founded in 1927, it is one of the oldest professional summer theaters in America. Sixteen enticing beaches are situated on Nantucket Sound to the south and Cape Cod Bay to the north. Prefer freshwater? Numerous ponds and lakes, including Scargo Lake, a deep fresh-water kettle pond, are carved into the landscape. Dennis has many nature trails, golf courses, shopping areas, restaurants, and scenic historic districts, as well as a convenient central location on the Cape.
Dennis is home to the Cape Cod Museum of Art, which hosts year-round exhibitions, events, and classes and features the work of the Cape’s finest artists. The nearby Cape Playhouse opened in 1927 and actors such as Basil Rathbone, Henry Fonda and Bette Davis made their acting debuts there. The seasonal theater shares grounds with the newly renovated Cape Cinema, which screens independent films and Hollywood releases all year long and features a ceiling mural by renowned artist Rockwell Kent.
The Dennis Historical Society offers tours of the 1736 Josiah Dennis Manse, the saltbox home of the man for whom the town was named, and the Jericho Historical Center and the 1801 Captain Baker House and Barn. Liberty Hall, which stands at the center of a well-preserved 19th century crossroads, has been a stagecoach stop, dry goods store, millinery outlet, post office, supper hall, and a venue for lectures, dances, and plays. Dennis has a selection of historic cemeteries and libraries and is home to the circa 1855 Bass River Light, which is now part of the Lighthouse Inn in West Dennis.
Public school students in Dennis are served by the DennisYarmouth Regional School District, which it shares with neighboring Yarmouth. The Ezra H. Baker Innovation School teaches Dennis elementary students. Nathaniel H. Wixon Innovation School is for fourth and fifth graders from both Dennis and Yarmouth while Mattacheese Middle School, located in Yarmouth, serves sixth and seventh grades from both towns. High school students attend Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School in Yarmouth, home to the Dolphins, whose athletic teams are often highly ranked in the state.
The town’s 22.3 square miles stretch from Cape Cod Bay in the north to Nantucket Sound in the south. The Bass River forms the western border with Yarmouth, while to the east lies Harwich on the south side of town and Brewster on the north. With nearly eight percent of its acreage being water, the town has a wealth of ponds and lakes, as well as numerous sand beaches on both the bay and the sound. The town is divided into five villages: Dennis, Dennis Port, East Dennis, South Dennis and West Dennis.
Points of Interest:
Borsari Gallery, Cape Cinema Cape Cod Museum of Art, Cape Playhouse, Chapin Memorial Beach, Cold Storage Beach, Corporation Beach, Dennis Highlands Golf Course, Dennis Pines Golf Course, Eden Hand Arts, Indian Lands Conservation Area, Josiah Dennis Manse, Mayflower Beach, Scargo Lake and Tower, Sesuit Harbor, West Dennis Beach.