FALMOUTH, a municipal borough and seaport in southwestern England, in the county of Cornwall, is 30 miles (48 km) east of Lands End, the southwestern tip of England. It lies on the western shore of the estuary of the Fal River. The old town, with its docks and harbor, is north of a ridge of high ground that projects eastward into the estuary, terminating in Pendennis Point. Modern Falmouth, which has become a year-round resort because of its excellent climate and sandy beaches, is south of the ridge.
On Pendennis Point is one of the two castles built by Henry VIII to guard the roadstead. The other is at St. Mawes, just to the northeast. The roadstead is formed by the confluence of the Fal vvith five other streams.
Falmouth has important dockyards for ship repairs, which can handle vessels of considerable size. A museum and an observatory are in the town.
FALMOUTH, a town in southeastern Massachusetts, in Barnstable county, is on the southwestern tip of Cape Cod. It is a summer resort, with truck farming and cranberry culture.
In the part of town called Woods Hole are the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the Marine Biological Laboratory, and a U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service station. The public library has an exhibit honoring Katharine Lee Bates, author and educator, who was born in Falmouth, that includes a handwritten copy of her poem America the Beautiful.
The town was settled by Quakers about 1660 and incorporated in 1686 under the Indian name Suckanesset. The name Falmouth appears first in 1694, for Falmouth, England, home port of Bartholomew Gosnold, who explored the Cape Cod shore in 1602.
The town is governed by a town meeting and a board of selectmen.