Dunbar House History

The site now occupied by the Dunbar House, on a hill overlooking Shawme Pond, a fresh water spring and a grist mill was a favored one from the time the first European settlers moved onto the Cape in the 1630s.

 

John Dillingham, one of the founding fathers of the town, built the first house here in 1650 but by 1740 his descendants had moved the whole house down the street (still standing at 71 Main Street) and built a much grander house in its place.

During these 250 plus years, the Dunbar House has been in the ownership of only six families. The Dillinghams owned the house until the 1860s and appear on many of the gravestones in the old town burial ground. In the 1860s the Chapouils bought the house.

 

Anthony Chapouil worked for many years as an accountant at the Boston & Sandwich Glass works until it ceased operations at the turn of the century, and his brother was grandfather to Sandwich’s famous children’s author, Thornton Burgess. During the infamous Portland Nor’Easter of 1898, the house had to be evacuated because the steeple next door was leaning at precarious angles and threatened to impale the house.

 

In the 1920s, Colonel Henry Dunbar bought the house so he could be close to his supervision of the widening of the Cape Cod Canal. They added the carriage house, a billiard room, tennis court and planted wonderful landscaped rose gardens. During these years Mrs. Dunbar established the tradition of hosting teas in the beautiful rose gardens.

 

The town of Sandwich bought the property in 1974, and the house was returned to private ownership when it was bought by the Bells in the early 1990s. In the spring of 2000, Jim and Paula Hegarty of Milton, Massachusetts moved into the Dunbar House and embarked on a project to restore the home to its colonial grandeur.

In 2020, Kathryn Wolstenholme took over the renovated Dunbar Tea Room & Wine Bar. With her many years of experience in the industry along with her love of Afternoon Tea, she works hard to maintain the traditions of Mrs. Dunbar by providing a comforting atmosphere in the Tea Room. Kathryn was born and raised on Cape Cod, went through the Bourne school systems and graduated Bourne High School in 2010. Kathryn began working in the hospitality industry at the age of 14. The majority of her summers were spent working at a 1929 historic Inn on Shelter Island. After graduating from Adrian college, Kathryn focused her career in event planning. She worked in many different restaurants, inns, and golf courses in a variety of different management positions where she gained a wealth of knowledge and experience. In 2018, Kathryn graduated with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Johnson & Wales University, with a concentration in hospitality. Since then Kathryn continues to expand her knowledge by taking course to eventually become a tea and wine sommelier. 

Executive Chef Patrick Hurley joined the Dunbar House team in August of 2020. Also raised on Cape Cod, chef spent his childhood summers immersed in the natural offering and local seafood. After a few years in the industry, Patrick took a journey across the nation to work for the prestigious Ivy Hotel in San Diego, California which sent him on a path for fine dining. Chef Hurley, a graduate from The Culinary Institute of America in New York. After graduation Chef was offered a position with a farm to table concept at Stoneacre Pantry which landed Chef Hurley a position to cook at the famous James Beard House in New York City. Most recently, Chef Hurley was working under Chef owner Brian Houlihan to run hist five restaurants; Bia Bistro in Cohasset, Tinker's Son in Norwell, Trident Galley & Raw Bar in Scituate, Galley Kitchen & Bar in Scituate & The Parrot in Hull. Chef Hurley brings his experience and knowledge to make our tea room & wine bar unlike any other. On top of lunch service and weekly specials, once a month, Chef prepares a three to five course wine dinner that are not to be missed! 

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