Whalebone Gate Removed from Captain Penniman House

Courtesy of the Cape Cod National Seashore.

EASTHAM – The Cape Cod National Seashore has removed the iconic whalebone gate from the Captain Edward Penniman House in Eastham.

The gate was taken down for public safety reasons as its condition was deteriorating and was in danger of falling.

Park staff will consult with conservators and educators to discuss options for stabilizing the bones or installing a new gate in the future.

Shortly after Captain Penniman built the home at Fort Hill, he installed the gate made from the jawbones of a sperm whale. It was sent to the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876 and was never returned.

A second gate was installed shortly after from the jawbones of a humpback whale. That gate was removed by the National Seashore in the 1960s when its condition worsened.

The latest gate, which was made from the jaw of a finback whale, was installed in 1969.

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