This past week we visited Cape Cod to carry out our research and mapping of the eleven different sites for our mid-century modern residential project. The eleven sites are located in Eastham and Wellfleet, Massachusetts, so we spread out our visits to the houses over the entire week. The trip began with an early morning on Sunday June 12th, and we drove a packed red minivan all the way to the Cape from Boston. We stayed for the entire week at the station at Coast Guard Beach, which, as you might guess, used to be the living quarters and station for the US Coast Guard. We were right next to the beach, which we learned from park historian William Burke is a top-ten beach in the US. We additionally had marvelous weather our entire stay, so we really had very little to complain about in general.
We began our research and documentation immediately upon arrival as we visited the Kugel-Gips House, Weidlinger House, and Hatch House. As I mentioned in my last blog post, each of the houses we visited is a mid-century modern house that is of the European-influenced modern style. The National Park Service acquired the houses, which were designed and constructed within the 1950s and 1960s by prominent architects. The goal for visiting each site is to develop a Cultural Landscape Report (CLR) for each of the eleven residential sites within Cape Cod. We will compose our reports into one entire document that will provide a guide for the treatment and management of the cultural landscape, document the physical history of the landscape, and identify significant defining landscape characteristics. At each site, we mapped and documented the following: Spatial Organization, Topography, Natural Systems and Features, Land Use, Cultural Traditions, Circulation, Cluster Arrangement; Buildings, Structures, and Utilities; Constructed Water Features, Vegetation, Views and Vistas, and Small-scale Features. We divvied up each of the tasks among us five interns, and I documented the Buildings and Structures and Circulation at each site along with Jenna Gupta.
On Monday, we visited a total of five houses – Deane House, Conover House, Wilkinson House, Tisza House, and Sirna House. On Tuesday and Wednesday, we visited the Kohlberg House, Kuhn House, and Whitlock House. As we visited each site, I noticed that each member of the group got better at documenting and mapping his/her respective feature(s). We developed a rhythm at how best to measure and document all these different features. Making the measurements and documentation, however, could be challenging at times as we had to avoid poison ivy, mosquitos, and ticks. Our trip leaders – Margie, Chris, and Elliot – always made sure we were taking proper precautions, and we had daily tick checks. This was especially important for the last house we visited, Whitlock House, because we did pruning and trimming of the landscape ourselves. Vegetation has grown to surround the house over the many years, and we did some trimming of the vegetation overhanging the driveway.
This upcoming week, we will be breaking down all the data we have collected: site maps, archive documents, notes, historical and newly-captured photographs, and videos. This work will be quite difficult, but I recognize that the work will be made easier as it gets sorted out and organized. Although I will be the primary intern continuing to work on the Cape Cod project, it will be quite helpful to have the other interns being able to help out with their respective notes and documents. I am especially looking forward to producing AutoCAD measurements for the Kuhn House facades and to creating site maps for each of the houses. I know that there will be some quick day trips in July and August to go back up to the Cape to do additional research and pull documents, so I am looking forward to that!
Jumping in front of the entrance sign for the Cape Cod National Seashore headquarters. Especially note Angelina’s and Elliot’s perfectly-timed jump rope hop.