This station when it was in operation was the American termination point for a telegraph cable that came directly to Orleans from France. It was called "Le Direct" the direct cable. It was installed in 1898 and was almost 3200 miles long.
Brest France to Orleans MA
The first French Cable was installed in 1869 and landed in Duxbury Ma. It had been routed through St Pierre Island near Newfoundland. Duxbury was a very busy shipping area and not suitable as a place for submarine cable. A lot of damage occurred from fishing and shipping operations.
A new French Cable was laid in 1879 to North Eastham at Nauset Light and a two story station was built there. North Eastham was an isolated area and difficult to reach in bad weather. The current building in Orleans was built in 1891. The equipment and men were moved to the new building in the same year.
Orleans Cable Station under construction in 1891
It remained in operation until 1959 except for a few years (1940 to 1952) during WWII when it was closed for security reasons.
The station was purchased in 1972 from France by a committee of 10 prominent Orleans citizens who raised the money and guaranteed a loan with their own personal assets. They then proceeded to raise money and eliminated the debt. It was opened to the public in July 1972.
Links to other sites:Youtube French Cable Station Museum Public Service Announcement
Youtube French Cable Station Museum Brief History
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Cape Cod Times Article 2010
Youtube French Cable Station Museum TV
Cape Cod Times feature article in 1999
History of the Atlantic Cable The French Cable Station Museum
Orleans Historical Society Orleans, MA
Chamber of Commerce Orleans, MA