634 Commercial Street

634 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

634 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

Old Cape Cod — a true summer cottage, still owned by the family that started coming almost a century ago from Ware, Mass. Thanks to the belief of Grace (Person) Hayes that there was nothing about No. 634 that needed fixing, an astonishing vestige survived. The second floor (pictured) is a shrine to the economical ingenuity of the pre-air-conditioned past. The attic ceiling is high, allowing warmer air to rise above sleepers’ heads. Walls are barely taller than needed for doorways, permitting air to move around the large volume of space. Hayes was president of her Wellesley College class, a skilled and competitive sailor, and the author of World War I: A Compact History. I met her in 2009 as I photographed the exterior of her delightful cottage. “This is one of the last houses not to be winterized,” she told me, with evident pride.

More than 2,000 buildings and vessels are searchable on buildingprovincetown.com. The Building Provincetown book is available for purchase ($20) at Town Hall, Office of the Town Clerk, 260 Commercial Street, Provincetown 02657.

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