Cape mansion and gorgeous gardens now a museum

 Highfield Hall, in Falmouth, Mass.

Highfield Hall, in Falmouth, Mass.

An electic art gallery/museum in an old summer mansion, and its gorgeous grounds, in Falmouth on Cape Cod are well worth visiting. It’s Highfield Hall & Gardens, built by the Beebe family, whose fortune was started by James Madison Beebe (1809-1875), an early dry-goods and department-store mogul in Boston. (He helped found  the late, great Jordan Marsh,  for many years Boston’s biggest department store.)

In the  ‘60s, it looked for a time as if the house, gardens and woods around the mansion would be developed, but local citizens banded together to save them.

Interestingly for a former summer place on the Cape, it’s not on the ocean. But when the two Beebe houses  -- Highfield and Tanglewood (the latter was torn down in ’77) were built on the property, the structures, on a hill, had views of Buzzards Bay because there many fewer trees around the 1,000-acre property in the late 19th Century. Indeed, much of the Falmouth area then was open ground for crops and for pasturage for cows and sheep.