Orleans was first settled in 1693 by Pilgrims from the Plymouth Colony who were dissatisfied with the poor soil and small tracts of land granted to them. Originally the southern parish of neighboring Eastham, Orleans was officially incorporated in 1797. Orleans was named in honor of Louis Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, in recognition of France's support for the 13 colonies during the American Revolution, and because the town did not want an English name, as they had been captured twice by the British during the war.
Early history, like much of the Cape, revolved around fishing, whaling and agriculture. As the fishing industry grew, salt works sprang up in the town to help preserve the catches. However, the town's growth helped deplete the town of lumber, a situation that did not begin to be remedied until the railroad came and brought lumber from the mainland in the mid-to-late 19th century. The rail also helped bring tourism to the town. In 1898, the French Cable Company built a 3,200-mile-long (5,100 km) transatlantic cable to Orleans, which operated from the French Cable Station. The town's historical society is located in the 1834 Universalist Meeting House.
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Villages: The town consists of three villages Orleans Center, East Orleans and South Orleans.
Neighborhood: With a love of a good ocean beach, Orleans hosts both a "bay" side beach (Skaket Beach) and "ocean" side beach (Nauset Beach) and a friendly small-town in-between with all the amenities one would want,
Attractions: Rock Harbor, French Cable Station Museum, Addison Art Gallery, Academy of Performing Arts, Orleans Firebirds Baseball
Beaches: Nauset Beach, Skaket Beach
Parks & Recreation: Little Pleasant Bay, Kent's Point
Historical sites / Museums: Captain Linnell House, Orleans Historical Society
Orleans, Massachusetts 02653
Barnstable County, Lower Cape Cod