In celebration of Cape Cod Magazine’s 20th anniversary, writer Lisa Cavanaugh goes back in time to dig up fun facts from the past. Here is a look at some comparisons of life on the Cape between 1998 and today.By Lisa Cavanaugh
In 1998, you could get a taste of the world-famous chowder at Mildred’s Chowder House in Hyannis. Although Mildred’s closed more than 15 years ago, you can still find a great cup or bowl of Cape Cod’s signature soup at the Seaside Pub on Main in Hyannis, last year’s winner of the WCOD Cape Cod Chowder Festival.
The Black Crowes and Bruce Hornsby performed at the Cape Cod Melody Tent in the summer of 1998, playing hits like “She Talks to Angels” and “The Way It Is.” This summer, the Melody Tent will embrace a retro atmosphere with acts like Straight No Chaser, The Temptations, The Four Tops and The Beach Boys.
Back in ’98, the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce license marketing committee kicked off a campaign to sell specialty Cape & Islands license plates (MASS-DOT first began issuing them only two years prior.) Radio listeners heard Dan Rather, Patti Page and Charles Osgood encouraging locals and visitors to purchase the plates to benefit local Cape Cod nonprofit groups. Since then, the Cape & Islands plate, which features Eastham’s iconic Nauset Lighthouse, has become the most successful specialty plate program in the Commonwealth with more than 45,000 plates on the road.
If you wanted to dig into a good romance novel in the summer of 1998, you had three Danielle Steele bestsellers to choose from. But you would have to wait two years to start to enjoy the romances from Nantucket’s own Elin Hilderbrand. Her debut novel came out in 2000. Since then, she has written more than 20 books, including two published last year, so there’s a good chance you could be reading a brand new Hilderbrand romance this July.
Listening to music on your (soon-to-be-obsolete) Walkman in 1998 might have meant singing along to Usher or Shania Twain. This year, we expect a lot of music lovers will be streaming Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars or Cardi B on their Sonos systems at their Cape houses.
In 1998, you might have seen “Shakespeare in Love” or “Saving Private Ryan” at the Airport Cinemas in Capetown Plaza in Hyannis (which closed the next year), but not at the Chatham Orpheum Theater, which didn’t reopen until 2013. And even though most of Cape Cod’s old drive-in theaters are now gone, you can still catch movies, like 2018 upcoming releases “Incredibles 2” or “Ocean’s 8” at the Wellfleet Drive-In Theater.
In the summer of 1998, the top prospect of the Cape Cod Baseball League was pitcher Kyle Snyder of the Chatham Athletics (the name changed in 2009 to the Chatham Anglers). Snyder would go on to play professionally for the Kansas City Royals and the Boston Red Sox. This summer, look for him during Boston Red Sox-Tampa Bay Rays games: Snyder is the new pitching coach for Tampa Bay.
The number of annual births at Cape Cod Hospital has not fluctuated much in the past 20 years, but babies’ names have changed. Little ‘Ashley’ or ‘Jacob’ would have made their first trip to the beach in 1998, while this summer we should expect to hear the names Sophia or Lucas.