Some historical information: Visiting this area is like stepping back in time to the birth of our nation. In 1602 British navigator, Bartholomew Gosnoldís fishing success inspired him to give Cape Cod itís name. Pilgrims arrived to the northern tip of the Cape in 1620, where they found the harbors more protected, and the soil farmable. Here they started the Plymouth colony. You can visit Plimouth Village. The Wampanoag People have lived in southeastern New England for over 12,000 years. the Wampanoag Homesite explores the story of one 17th-century Wampanoag man, Hobbamock, as well as traditional Wampanoag culture and history. Also you can see how the colonist lived, and what skills were needed to survive in the new land.

Long ago, the Indians used to canoe from Plymouth through the waterway of the Great Herring Pond, and continued through the pond in back of the present motel, and down where the ď Herring RunĒ weir is now situated and into the river (Cape Cod Canal) paddling across to the Aptuxcet Trading Post (1627). This is where the colonist and the Wampanoag Indians bartered, using wampum, made from quahog shells. This area is very important to the Native Americans. Also located there is a relic salt operation. Just past the motel, is the Indian Burial Hill. It is the final resting place of many Wampanoag Indians, and is the oldest burial grounds in the region. The area was closed in 1810, after King Saul was put to rest. A bronze plaque dedicated this to the Native American population. In 1620 there were 30,000 Wampanoag Indians living on this wooded peninsula. The white settlers also built an Indian meeting house, who taught them the white manís religion.

In 1623 Miles. Standish recognized that a waterway connecting Buzzards Bay and Cape Cod Bay would facilitate trade between Plimoth Colony, native American Indians and the Dutch merchants sailing from New York. Although such an undertaking was far beyond the means of the small colony, the proposal by Standish gave birth to the idea of building the Canal. During the Revolutionary War, George Washington saw a need for a Canal to give greater security to the American fleet against its enemies. Upon General Washington's orders, Thomas Machin, an Engineer with the Continental Army, investigated the feasibility of a Canal in 1776. His report, recommending that a Canal be built, survives as the first known Cape Cod Canal survey.

Many other surveys followed through the century, but the task seemed too monumental. Meanwhile in the 1880ís, shipwrecks on outer banks of the Cape occurred one every two weeks. In 1909, a wealthy financier August Belmont began the Cape Cod Canal project. The U.S. Government took over the canal during WW!, and bought it in 1928 for 11 1/2 million dollars. On July 29, 1914, the Cape Cold Canal was officially open. The Cape Cod Canal measures 480 feet across, and is the widest sea-level canal in the world. It is lined with scenic overlooks and trails on both sides. It is maintained by the Army Corp. of Engineers. There are two large bridges on the Canal. The Bourne and Sagamore Bridge are each 2 Ĺ miles from each other. The Herring Run Motel sits in-between these two scenic bridges. The two rivers, the Scusset river and the Mamomet river, had to be joined together to form what is now the canal.

The Bourndale Herring (Alewives) have come here to spawn for centuries. (Please see information on the Herring Run, and Cape activities).

After the canal destroyed the natural run into Herring Pond, local engineers created this artificial watercourse so that herring could enter at spawning time. Access from Route 6, about a mile south of the Sagamore bridge.

Ocean-dwellers most of their lives, each year, they return to the freshwater systems in which they were born to spawn-a wonderful signal of Spring on the Cape. Arriving in April and early May, vast schools make the cross from the ocean into freshwater ponds and brooks via herring runs. Along these natural and artificial courses, you'll see dark pools of fish awaiting their turn to cross-over, then, amid the mighty rush of the water, flashes of silver as the herring leap the "ladders" that assist them in the final leg of their journey.

After spawning, the female alewife lays up to 100,000 eggs, then the adults set off for the return journey to the ocean. Meanwhile, after drifting for two to three days, the eggs finally sink and stick to rock and debris, then hatch two to three days later. By autumn, the young follow the adults' path to sea to become part of the return journey the following year.

Herring Run Motel at Buzzards Bay - 825 Scenic Highway, Buzzards Bay, MA 02532
Telephone 508.888.0084 - Email

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