Josephine (Couch) Del Deo, the town’s most influential preservationist, was a leader with Ross Moffett in the fight during the 50s and 60s to create a national seashore. She was still fighting, in 2010, to ensure that the shack she shared with her husband, Salvatore Del Deo, an artist and one-time restaurateur (Ciro & Sal’s and Sal’s Place), would be on the National Register of Historic Places, despite the fact that it dates to 1976. The original shack was built 30 years earlier for Jeanne “Frenchie” Chanel; chanteuse, naïf, “mystic, spiritualist, part bird, part creature of the unknown instincts man has lost,” as Del Deo wrote.
The Del Deos have used the site since 1953 by arrangement first with Chanel and then, after her death in 1983, with her daughter, Adrienne Schnell. After shifting sands had all but buried the original tarpaper-and-dirt-floor shack, the Del Deos built anew on top of it.