One of the most beautiful of the seven villages in the Town of Barnstable, Centerville’s roots go back to the 17th century, when it was called "Chequaquet", meaning “pleasant harbor,” or "village by the sea" by the local Wampanoag Indians. The area of land that Chequaquet occupied was part of a much larger tract purchased in 1648 from the Wampanoags by Myles Standish for two brass kettles and some fencing.
The early 18th century settlers first built their homes around Lake Wequaquet and took advantage of its fertile soil, fresh water and fish. In the early 19th century Chequaquet experienced dramatic expansion and growth. The first post office was established in 1834 and the village’s name was changed to 'Centreville.' The village was aptly named for its central location in the Town of Barnstable; as such, it held an important position in the town, serving as a crossroads and a meeting place.
Did you know?
Centerville’s Russell Marston went to sea as a cabin boy. He eventually became a sea captain and then opened the Marston's Restaurants in Boston, employing 600 and serving 10,000 people daily.
The Centerville Historical Museum, founded in 1952, is dedicated to preserving and sharing the history of Centerville and Cape Cod. The fourteen-room museum includes an 1840 house and contains an outstanding collection of historic costumes, maritime and military artifacts, quilts, Crowell birds, 18th and 19th century decorative arts, paintings, tools, and children's toys and dolls.
The museum provides ongoing programs for all ages. The Third Grade History Program, family days, field trips, walking tours of Main Street, living history days, lectures, and an old fashioned Christmas Stroll are all part of our regular program of events that highlight the museum's collection. Open February through December.
Permanent Exhibits on Display
- Maritime gallery
- Colonial Revival kitchen
- Mid-19th century period rooms
- Glass collection including Sandwich glass
- Elmer Crowell carved birds
- Historic clothing and quilt collection
- Military artifacts, uniforms and weaponry
- 19th century school room
- Historic children's toys and vintage dolls
Watch two videos:
What’s Underneath Exhibit 2020 video link
The Waist Exhibit 2020 video link