CCNS Back Shore | Dune Shacks

 

A man may stand there and put all Provincetown behind him. Along the Back Shore — or Back Side or Great Shore or Great Back Shore or Great Beach — settlement meets sea, and the built environment is humbled. The Pilgrim Monument looks distant, almost inconsequential. There is no place for human-engineered grandeur against the mighty Atlantic Ocean and the treacherous Peaked Hill Bars. Instead, snugness, modesty, and adaptability are rewarded. Structures perform the most elementary services of salvation and shelter. Visiting the dune shacks »

Cape Cod National Seashore | Back Shore

C-Scape (Shack No. 1)

C-Scape, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

C-Scape, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

C-Scape, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

C-Scape, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

The Dune Shacks of Peaked Hill Bars Historic District were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012, after a 23-year struggle by preservationists against the once-intransigent National Park Service. Fifteen of the 19 shacks are within town limits. The westernmost is C-Scape, or Shack 1 in the numbering convention of Robert J. Wolfe’s seminal report, Dwelling in the Dunes. The shack was begun in 1937 by Albert Noones, of Cape End Motors, and his brother, Edward Noones. It was owned until 1979 by the painter Jean Cohen, who had studied with Leo Manso. The artists John Grillo, Jan Müller, and Marcia Marcus also used it. The last full-time occupant was the psychologist Larry McCready. It was moved to its present location in 1978. It’s been managed since 1996 by the nonprofit Provincetown Community Compact, run by Jay Critchley and Tom Boland, and made available to artists and writers.


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.

CCNS Back Shore | Dune Shack 1


C-Scape

C-Scape is the best known of the shacks. It’s fairly easy to reach; it was well documented in the 2009 picture book, Dune Shack Summer, by Suzanne Lewis; and it’s open for occupancy to a limited number of writers and artists, through the nonprofit Provincetown Community Compact, run by Jay Critchley and Tom Boland, which has managed the shack since 1996 under agreement with the Park Service. More pictures and history »

Cape Cod National Seashore | Back Shore

Leo’s Place (Shack No. 2)

Leo's Place, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

Leo’s Place, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

The Noones brothers, Albert and Edward, and Edward “Jake” Loring, the operator of Loring’s Taxi, are credited with this shack, begun in the latter 1930s as a place for fishing and socializing. Howard Lewis, an upholsterer, bought it in 1952 or 1953. Leo Fleurant lived here year-round from 1963 until his death — in the shack — in 1984. Ten years later, the Park Service leased the shack jointly for 20 years to Emily Beebe and Evelyn Simon, under a program developed by a dune shack subcommittee for preserving three shacks that had been deteriorating through neglect.


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.

CCNS Back Shore | Dune Shack 2


Leo’s Place

The Noones brothers and Edward “Jake” Loring are credited with this shack, begun in the latter 1930s as a place for fishing and socializing. Howard Lewis, an upholsterer, bought it in 1952 or 1953. Leo Fleurant lived here year-round from 1963 until his death — in the shack — in 1984. In 1994, the Park service leased the shack jointly to Emily Beebe and Evelyn Simon, who continued to refer to it as “Leo’s Place.” It can be seen clearly from the Province Lands Visitors Center. More pictures »

Cape Cod National Seashore | Back Shore

Adams shacks (Nos. 3 and 4)

Adams shack, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

Adams shack, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

Adams guest shack, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

Adams guest shack, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

Jake Loring and Dominic Avila, a carpenter, built this cottage as a Back Shore resort in 1935. It was acquired in 1953 by Marcia (Cargill) Adams and her husband, David, a professor at Western Michigan University who was also painted wildflowers. It’s been occupied by the family subject to a stipulation of settlement with the government. There are close bonds between the Adamses and the Champlins next door. Their cottages were known collectively as Professors Row. This shack was also used by Patricia and Francis Villemain, of the University of Toledo, who called it Saddle-Up. The Adams enclave includes a smaller shack, built in 1935 and moved in 1992, that has housed guests of the family.


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.