The History Behind Scargo Tower in Dennis

It provides some of the best views of Cape Cod today, but Scargo Tower in Dennis has quite a history of its own. In fact, it’s hardly the first tower that’s stood at the site, but the current one is the longest lasting.

Originally built as a tourist observatory by the Tobey family in the 1800s, the old wooden tower on Scargo Hill was reportedly constructed as a way to draw in tourists to the Nobscussett hotel. At the time, the hotel was also owned by the Tobey family.

While the hotel made it to the early 1930s, the original Scargo Tower didn’t last nearly as long. A strong storm destroyed it just two years after it went up.

When a new tower was constructed of wood in the same spot, it too didn’t last. This time, the tower caught on fire and burned around the turn-of-the-century. 

Flashforward just one year, and a new, cobblestone tower opened up on the same site. It’s the same tower that stands today on the mid-Cape’s highest hill and serves as a memorial of sorts to the Tobey family.

A plaque dedicated in their honor is located above the tower’s entrance. Some reports suggest ancestors of the Tobey family first settled in the Dennis area as early as the late 1600s.

The 30-foot tower provides views as far west as Plymouth, and as far north as Provincetown. It’s said you can also see Sagamore Bridge from the top of Scargo Tower. 

About five years ago, the tower was closed for maintenance, but has since reopened. Visiting hours are determined by the Town of Dennis, which owns and operates the tower today.

When you visit, know that the climb to the top is about 40 steps. You’ll find Scargo Tower off Scargo Hill Road in Dennis, which is to the south of Scargo Lake.

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