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.

CCNS Back Shore | Dune Shack 4


(Professors Row)

Jake Loring, the operator of Loring’s Taxi, and Dominic Avila, a carpenter, built this cottage as a Back Shore resort in 1935. It was acquired in 1953 by David William Adams, a professor at Western Michigan University, and Marcia (Cargill) Adams. Subject to a stipulation of settlement with the government, it can be occupied by the family until 2014. More pictures and history »

Cape Cod National Seashore | Back Shore

Mission Bell (Shack No. 5)

Mission Bell, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

Mission Bell, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

Mission Bell is the popular name for this cottage on Professors Row, though the bell — a useful navigational landmark out in the dunes — was salvaged in 1955 not from a mission but from a one-room schoolhouse in Michigan. The shack was built by Dom Avila and Jake Loring in 1936 and bought in 1953 by Mildred Champlin and her husband, Nathaniel, a professor at Wayne State University in Detroit and a lecturer at the Cranbrook Academy of Art. Unlike most shoreline buildings, it has managed to stay in one place over the years; as has the Champlin family, which has continuously occupied the cottage for six decades, now under a stipulation of settlement with the government running for the lifetime of the Champlins’ children. It’s the shack closest to the wreck of H.M.S. Somerset.


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 5


Mission Bell (Professors Row)

“Mission Bell” is the popular name for this cottage, although the bell in question — a useful navigational landmark out in the dunes — was salvaged in 1955 not from a mission but from a one-room schoolhouse in Michigan. It’s the shack closest to the Somerset wreck. More pictures and history »

CCNS Back Shore | Dune Shack 6


Malicoat Cottage

The Malicoat cottage — the only one of the 18 that is still privately owned — aligns exactly with the family’s property at 312-320 Bradford Street, which once ran all the way to the Atlantic. The artist Philip Cecil Malicoat (1908-1981) built his first shack in 1948 or 1949 on what he believed to be the oceanside extension of his parcel. More pictures and history »

Cape Cod National Seashore | Back Shore

Malicoat shack (No. 6)

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

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

The only privately-owned shack in the district aligns with the Malicoat family’s property at 312-320 Bradford, tracing a “great lot” that once ran from town to ocean. The artist Philip Malicoat built his first shack in 1948 or 1949 on what he believed, by extension of the “great lot,” to be his land. The shack burned down in the ’50s. Before rebuilding, Malicoat discovered in a survey that the first shack had stood outside his property lines. He took care to situate the second properly. The cottage passed to the sculptor Conrad Malicoat, and his wife, the artist and ceramist Anne Lord. The family still uses the cottage and welcomes new Fine Arts Work Center fellows here. The Malicoats staved off condemnation for the National Seashore in part because “they provided a legal deed that held up in court,” said Bill Burke, a Seashore official.


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.

Cape Cod National Seashore | Back Shore

Euphoria (Shack No. 7)

Euphoria, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

Euphoria, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

Hazel Hawthorne Werner, by Marian Roth (1991).

Hazel Hawthorne Werner, by Marian Roth (1991).

Euphoria is the larger of two shacks that belonged to the writer and preservationist Hazel Hawthorne Werner — if the adjective “larger” can be applied to a 16-by-12-foot structure. It was built around 1930, apparently by the coast guardsman Louis “Spucky” Silva. Werner, the author of The Salt House, was drawn to the dunes by a vision she’d had of “a place by the ocean, where you could take a blanket and sleep on the beach and there was nobody around.” She acquired Euphoria in the early 1940s. The writer Cynthia Huntington and her husband, the artist Bert Yarborough, rented Euphoria for three summers, an experience she described in her own Salt House, a collection of essays published in 1999. Euphoria is maintained and managed by the Peaked Hill Trust.


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 7


Euphoria

“Euphoria” is the larger of the two shacks that belonged to the writer and preservationist Hazel Hawthorne Werner (1901-2000) — if the adjective “larger” can be fairly applied to a 16-by-12-foot structure. It was built around 1930, apparently by the coast guardsman Frank “Spucky” Silva, who also built Thalassa (Shack 14). More pictures and history »

Cape Cod National Seashore | Back Shore

Margo-Gelb shack (No. 8)

Margo-Gelb shack, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

Margo-Gelb shack, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

"Uncle Boris's Dune Shack," by Raymond Elman (2013).

“Uncle Boris’s Dune Shack,” by Raymond Elman (2013).

The site of the 1872 Peaked Hill Bars station (the one occupied by Eugene O’Neill) was acquired in the 1940s by the painters Boris Margo and Jan Gelb. Margo built a new shack. It fell into the sea. Then he and his nephew, Murray Zimiles (pictured with his wife, Martha), built the shack that still stands. Beginning in 1947, Margo was the host of an annual “Full o’ the Moon” beach party to which the whole town was invited. He built a driftwood sculpture, up to 40 feet high. After the rising of the moon, the sculpture would be set ablaze as revelers danced, sang, played music, and read poems. Though Margo bequeathed the shack to Zimiles, it was taken by the government and turned over in 1995 to the Outer Cape Artist in Residence Consortium.


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.

Cape Cod National Seashore | Back Shore

Kemp-Tasha shack (No. 9)

Kemp-Tasha shack, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

Kemp-Tasha shack, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

"Poet of the Dune" (1957), courtesy of Helen and Napi Van Dereck.

“Poet of the Dune” (1957), courtesy of Helen and Napi Van Dereck.

Kemp-Tasha shack, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

Kemp-Tasha shack, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

The most modest of the shacks casts the longest shadow, as it is linked to Harry Kemp (pictured), poet and author of Love Among the Cape Enders. It started as the hen house at the Peaked Hill Bars station, was rebuilt by the coast guardsman Frank Cadose, and then owned by Frank Henderson, who rented it to Kemp in summer, beginning in 1927 or 1928. Kemp occupied it year-round from about 1946 until 1959, when Rose “Sunny” (Savage) Tasha built a cottage for him at Tasha Hill. Kemp bequeathed the shack to Sunny. It was blown apart in a storm in the ’60s, rebuilt, and used by her children — Paul, Paula, Carl, and Carla — and by their children, under a special-use permit that must be renewed annually.


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 9


Kemp-Tasha

Fittingly, the most modest of the dune shacks casts the longest shadow, for this 8-by-12-foot structure is linked to Harry Kemp (1883-1960) — the Poet of the Dunes and, as the biographer William Brevda called him, the Last Bohemian. The shack’s earliest incarnation was as the hen house at the Peaked Hill Bars station. It was rebuilt by the surfman Frank Cadose, then owned by Frank Dears Henderson of the Coast Guard, who rented it to Kemp beginning in 1927 or 1928 and eventually gave it to him rather than listen any longer to Kemp’s ceaseless complaints. By the 40s, Kemp had largely squandered what slim reputation he’d enjoyed in serious circles. He had become a caricature: an ever eccentric, often besotted, unabashedly self-promoting poet — beloved by many, but just tolerated by others. More pictures and history »

Cape Cod National Seashore | Back Shore

Malkin-Jackson shack (No. 10)

Malkin-Jackson shack, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

Malkin-Jackson shack, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

Malkin-Jackson outhouse, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

Malkin-Jackson outhouse, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

The original shack was built in 1917 by Charles Rogers, a town official. He sold it in 1926 to Alice Malkin, who was studying with Charles Hawthorne. Both the Malkin cottage and the second Peaked Hill Bars station — the ruins of which are not far away — were moved from the eroding dune cliff at about the same time and by the same mover, Jesse Meads, which may be why they wound up so close together. When Malkin died in 1943, the cottage passed to her daughter, Zara Malkin. She was married to Irving Ofsevit from 1950 until his death in 1987, after which she married Samuel Jackson. After a 1990 fire, the shack was reconstructed by volunteers working under Bill Fitts of the Peaked Hill Trust, who also crafted a terrific nautical outhouse. The Jacksons’ continued occupancy depends on a special permit, renewable annually.


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.

Cape Cod National Seashore | Back Shore

Fowler Cottage (Shack No. 11)

Fowler Cottage, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

Fowler Cottage, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

Because Laura and Stanley Fowler lived in the dunes almost year-round in this cottage, built in 1949, they had that rarity: an attached garage. Woe to any stranger — or even neighbor — who wandered too close! The Fowlers were vigilant in protecting their privacy and their environment. Josephine Del Deo called them the “generals of the dunes’ first army of defense.” Laura Fowler came to befriend Peter Clemons and Marianne Benson, founders and proprietors of the Backshore Gallery (after first trying to chase them away). In 1990, living in Florida and too frail to care for the cottage, she placed its care in their hands. The government did not regard them as the owners, however. After Fowler died in 2006, the National Park Service brought in the Provincetown Community Compact to manage the shack.


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.

Cape Cod National Seashore | Back Shore

Grail (Shack No. 12)

Grail, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

Grail, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

Grace Bessay was a fierce preservationist. Her venue was federal court, where she battled the government for years over its condemnation of the Grail, among the most distinctive of the shacks. It was built in the 1920s by Raymond Brown, a coast guardsman and carpenter. The property came to Bessay in 1981 from Andrew Fuller, with whom she had shared it since 1969, when it was purchased from Dorothy Fearing. In court, Bessay survived a challenge to her assertion of adverse possession, but she couldn’t persuade the judges that her shack was a bona-fide dwelling. On pain of immediate eviction, she signed a 25-year use and occupancy agreement in 1991, including her friends Peter Clemons and Marianne Benson in her stipulation. After her death in 1996, they were recognized as the Grail’s legitimate residents.


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 13


Frenchie’s Shack

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. More pictures and history »

Cape Cod National Seashore | Back Shore

Frenchie’s Shack (No. 13)

Salvatore and Josephine Del Deo in Frenchie's Shack, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

Salvatore and Josephine Del Deo in Frenchie’s Shack, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

Josephine Del Deo (ca 1986), by her courtesy.

Josephine Del Deo (ca 1986), by her courtesy.

Near the original site of the 1914 Peaked Hill Bars station, a dune shack was built in 1941 or 1942 for Jeanne “Frenchie” Chanel. Since 1953, the caretakers of the shack have been the painter Sal Del Deo and his wife, Josephine, who was a leader with Ross Moffett of the fight during the ’50s and ’60s to create the Cape Cod National Seashore. When shifting sands had all but buried the original tarpaper-and-dirt-floor shack in 1976, the current structure was built on top of it. The Del Deos have shared use of the site by arrangement first with Chanel and then, after her death in 1983, with her daughter, Adrienne Schnell.


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 14


Thalassa

“Thalassa” (θαλασσα) is the primal spirit of the sea and the name Hazel Hawthorne Werner gave to the smaller of her dune cottages. It was built in 1931 by the surfmen, and brothers, Louis and Frank “Spucky” Silva, who salvaged its windows from Eugene O’Neill’s life-saving station, gave it a front porch (now gone) and called it “Seagoin’.” More pictures and history »

Cape Cod National Seashore | Back Shore

Thalassa (Shack No. 14)

Thalassa, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

Thalassa, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

Thalassa, when it was Seagoin' (1930), courtesy of Susan Leonard.

Thalassa, when it was Seagoin’ (1930), courtesy of Susan Leonard.

Thalassa (θαλασσα) is the primal spirit of the sea and the name Hazel Hawthorne Werner gave to the smaller of her dune cottages. It was built in 1930 by the coast guardsmen, and brothers, Louis “Spucky” Silva and Frank Silva, who salvaged its windows from Eugene O’Neill’s life-saving station, its timbers from the beach, gave it a front porch, and called it Seagoin’ (top). They sold it to Werner in 1936. Her guests included E. E. Cummings, Norman Mailer, and Edmund Wilson. It was here in 1996 that David Forest Thompson was first captivated by shack life. He published a book of his paintings, Dune Shacks. Other artists and writers who have stayed here are Tabitha Vevers; her husband, Daniel Ranalli; and Allen Young. Thalassa has been managed since 2000 by the Peaked Hill Trust.


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.

Cape Cod National Seashore | Back Shore

Braaten-Schuster shack (No. 15)

Braaten-Schuster shack and Pilgrim Monument, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

Braaten-Schuster shack and Pilgrim Monument, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

Outside Braaten-Schuster shack, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

Outside Braaten-Schuster shack, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

The naturalist C. Lawrence Schuster may be the lone year-round human resident of the dunes. His shack was built and first used by the coast guardsmen John Cook and Joseph Medeiros. It was acquired in 1934 by Eunice Eddy Braaten, a relation of Mary Baker Eddy, and her husband Theodore. Their son, David, was a feature writer at The Washington Star. The Navy leased the shack on the eve of World War II and refitted it for support of the submarine service. Schuster began using it in the early 1980s and remains here under a special use permit. The crest of the roof used to be crowned by an old Adirondack chair. Could there have been a more perfect visual expression of the dune shack life?


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 | Somerset Wreck

 

In 1778, Peaked Hill Bars bested a dreaded symbol of British imperial power: H.M.S. Somerset, the 64-gun ship-of-the-line that had terrorized the people of Boston and Charlestown, figuring in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “Paul Revere’s Ride” as “A phantom ship, with each mast and spar / Across the moon like a prison-bar, / And a huge black hulk, that was magnified / By its own reflection in the tide.” More pictures and history»

Cape Cod National Seashore | Back Shore

Somerset wreck

Steven Pendery at the Somerset wreck, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

Steven Pendery at the Somerset wreck, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

In 1778, the formidable Peaked Hill Bars bested a dreaded symbol of British imperial power: H.M.S. Somerset, the 64-gun ship-of-the-line that had terrorized the people of Boston and Charlestown, figuring in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s Paul Revere’s Ride as “A phantom ship, with each mast and spar / Across the moon like a prison-bar, / And a huge black hulk, that was magnified / By its own reflection in the tide.” The skeletal hull has occasionally been revealed since it went aground during the Revolutionary War. Its emergence in April 2010 gave the National Park Service a chance to commission a three-dimensional rendering from laser scans and to pinpoint the wreckage through satellite navigation. I happened to come upon the scene by great good luck as Steven Pendery and his colleagues fought the advancing seas and sands for this precious glimpse.


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 | First Peaked Hill Bars Station

 

In the mid-19th century, this unsheltered stretch was peppered with rude huts, built by the Massachusetts Humane Society, where shipwreck survivors might ride out the storm. But most crew members marooned on the sand bars couldn’t even get as far as the beach, perishing instead as their vessels were torn apart beneath them. So the government took a more proactive role, begininng in the 1870s, through the U.S. Life-Saving Service. More history

Cape Cod National Seashore | Back Shore

Peaked Hill Bars stations

Former Peaked Hill Bars Coast Guard Station, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

Former Peaked Hill Bars Coast Guard Station, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

Peaked Hill Bars Coast Guard Station (1917), courtesy of the Provincetown History Preservation Project.

Peaked Hill Bars Coast Guard Station (1917), courtesy of the Provincetown History Preservation Project.

Near the site now occupied by the Margo-Gelb Shack, the U.S. Life-Saving Service built the Peaked Hill Bars Life-Saving Station in 1872. After it was decommissioned in 1914, Sam Lewisohn, a leading art collector in New York, acquired it for Mabel Dodge, an art patron whose Greenwich Village home was an important salon. She spent time here with the painter Maurice Sterne, whom she later married. James O’Neill bought the station in 1919 as a wedding present for his son, Eugene, and daughter-in-law, Agnes Boulton. In six summers here, O’Neill wrote Anna Christie, The Emperor Jones, and The Hairy Ape. The critic Edmund Wilson and the writer Hazel Hawthorne Werner took turns renting it from 1927 through 1930, when Eugene O’Neill deeded it to his son. Months later, in January 1931, the steadily eroding dune cliff undermined the station. It dropped over the edge at a crazy angle and floated out to sea.

Peaked Hill Bars Life-Saving Station (1906), courtesy of the Provincetown History Preservation Project.

Peaked Hill Bars Life-Saving Station (1906), courtesy of the Provincetown History Preservation Project.

The second Peaked Hill Bars station (top right) was built in 1914, roughly on the site of Frenchie’s Shack. Within a year, the Life-Saving Service merged with the Revenue Cutter Service to form the Coast Guard. By the time the station opened, forces were rendering it obsolete: engines replaced sails, communications improved, and the Cape Cod Canal opened, diverting traffic from the Back Shore. The station itself was moved about 300 yards inland in 1930 to protect it from the fate of its predecessor. It was decommissioned in 1937 but reactivated briefly during World War II. It burned down in 1958. The concrete base is still in place, forming a poignant memorial to the surfmen.


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 | Second Peaked Hill Bars Station

 

The second Station Peaked Hill Bars was constructed in 1914, roughly a quarter mile east of the first station, as a replacement. Within a year, the Life-Saving Service merged with the Revenue Cutter Service to form the new U.S. Coast Guard. With its off-center lookout tower, this building resembled the Old Harbor Life-Saving Station. More pictures and history