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This page contains an overview and links for Orleans government, finances, libraries, natural resources, recreation, real estate, and schools as well as miscellaneous links.


Photos courtesy of Philip Greenspun
and the Town of Orleans


Orleans, incorporated in 1797, lies on the outer Cape between Cape Cod Bay on the west and Pleasant Bay and the Atlantic on the east. The town has beautiful beaches and views of Pleasant Bay that rival the best seaside views in the world. Orleans has a small town feel while being the commercial center of the outer Cape.

In 1642 the first permanent settlement was established by Nicholas Snow and his family. Settlers purchased rights to the town from Mattaguason, sachem of the Manamoyick Indians. The Colonial economy was built on agriculture, especially corn, rye and wheat, plus the growing of hay and vegetables. In the 18th century commercial fishing and shellfishing supplemented local incomes, and residents worked on herring boats and hunted whales.

By the 19th century, residents serviced coastal packets from Boston, and several windmills created power resources in the town, and many residents relied on cod and mackerel fishing to earn a living. Life long residents recall that in those days the very old and the very young farmed, while all the able-bodied men fished. Fishing in Orleans declined as competition from larger boats and larger ports grew, but the town had established a commercial importance on the Cape as a market center for other communities.

Small businesses like the Mayo Duck Farm that produced 50,000 ducklings in 1918 were welcomed by the town, but the major modern change in Orleans was spurred by the impact of summer development. This resort home development, which accelerated between 1915 and 1940 and still continues, has had the greatest effect on the town and in turn has supported increasing commercial development along Route 6. (Narrative in part courtesy of the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development.)

Orleans Government   
Demographic, Economic, and Government Profile
Helpful Telephone Numbers
  Links and Information from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
  Official Orleans home page


State Report of Orleans' Finances

Employment and Wages

Orleans Public Library Information
  Search Cape Cod Libraries
Natural Resources   
Tide Charts
  Cape Cod National Seashore Species List
  Cape Cod National Seashore
  Orleans Weather Report from the Weather Underground
  Cape Cod Water Web Site
  Parks and Beaches
  List of Cape Cod Golf Courses

Real Estate   

Barnstable County Registry of Deeds
  Cape Cod Commission
  Valuation (Real Estate) certification statistics (PDF document)


Nauset School and District Profiles

  Orleans School and District Profiles
  Charter School Profile - Cape Cod Lighthouse


Orleans Information from the Cape Cod Times

Business Links from
Orleans Chamber of Commerce
  Complete Transportation Information
  A Cape Cod Sketchbook Revisited
  The Parsonage bed and breakfast
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