Preservation & Planning On The Seashore

Another week at the Olmsted Center has flown by. Last week, I had the opportunity to join my fellow interns and Olmsted Center staff in a trip to Cape Cod’s National Seashore.

Lodging: View From Coast Guard Station Cupola

Our team traveled to the Cape to conduct research and create site documentation of eleven modernist homes in Wellfleet and Eastham, MA. The team arrived in Wellfleet on Sunday afternoon and hit the ground running with our first site visit. An associate of Peter McMahon, Anabelle with Cape Code Modern House Trust, was kind enough to give us a tour of the top three restored modernist homes on the seashore. CCMHT was founded in 2007 and is a nonprofit organization that specializes in the restoration of culturally significant modern homes owned by the National Park Service on Cape Cod


Weidlinger House

The Kugel/Gips House (1970) by Charles Zehnder, Hatch Cottage (1961) by Jack Hall, and the Weidlinger House (1953) by Paul Weidlinger were beautifully renovated and restored by Cape Cod Modern House Trust. Anabelle set the tone of the trip for us by describing the historic significance and context of the three homes. After receiving a better sense of the history of the three sites, our team analyzed the landscape characteristics of the site. We focused on circulation, vegetation, buildings and structures, views, topography, and small scale features.


Kugel/Gips House


Weidlinger House


Hatch Cottage

The circulation of each of the three modern houses we visited was unique in their access to the water. While Kugel/Gips had a path in the back of the home to the pond, Weidlinger had a path from the front yard underneath the home to the pond. Lastly, the Hatch Cottage had a desired line to the beach, as well as two other informal paths in the surrounding vegetation.


Path to Water at Weidlinger House


Circulation path to beach (Hatch Cottage)

After documenting the current conditions of the modern houses, we contacted NPS experts to attain additional resources and documentation. We hoped to collect this data in order to use it as a tool in understanding and analyzing the modernist homes. Lauren McKean, NPS Park Planner, provided us with historical maps of all of the eleven modernist homes in Wellfleet and Eastham.


Documenting Maps at Park Headquarters
Historical Map – Cape Cod National Seashore

We also had the pleasure of meeting Mark Adams, GIS Specialist and Coastal Geology Technician for NPS. We discussed some of Mark’s current projects and research in GIS. We also met an SCA intern named Corey Dickinson who is assisting Mark this summer in GIS mapping of the Cape Cod National Seashore. Corey and Mark were able to provide us with valuable GIS data layers that depicted current species and vegetation existing in proximity to our sites.

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