National Park Service Formally Lists the Dune Shacks of Peaked Hill Bars Historic District on the National Register

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Date: March 19, 2012
Contact: William Burke, Park Historian, 508255-3421 ext 14

Cape Cod National Seashore Superintendent George Price has announced that the National Park Service formally listed the Dune Shacks of the Peaked Hill Bars Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places on March 15, 2012. The listing is a culmination of two years of intensive research and collaboration with community members intimately connected with the dune shacks.

To complete the nomination, the National Park Service employed historical architects and historians from PAL, Inc. The 60-page nomination documents the numerous facets of the 1,950 acre district that make it significant: dune shack architecture; associations with art and literature; the life of Harry Kemp; potential archeological resources; and the complex strands of maritime history, recreation, and the efforts of long-time dune shack dwellers who lovingly crafted homes amidst the shifting sands of the backshore of Truro and Provincetown. Superintendent Price remarked that, "Listing the dune shack district is the culmination of an extraordinary process not commonly seen in the National Register world - we relied on a combination of the researchers from PAL, Inc., National Park scholars and staff of the Massachusetts Historical Commission who reviewed numerous drafts, and substantial input from current and past dune shack dwellers and advocates who had the passion and knowledge to share about the district. Their contributions make the nomination a superb baseline document from which to draw from when moving forward with our preservation and use plan for the district, which is nearing completion.

"The National Register is the nation's official list of buildings, districts, sites, structures, and objects important in American history, culture, architecture, or archeology. The Dune Shacks of Peaked Hill Bars Historic District, located within Cape Cod National Seashore, was found eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989, but lacked formal listing until now. Eighteen of the nineteen dune shacks are owned by the National Park Service (NPS) and are currently occupied by different groups and individuals under a variety of administrative instruments, such as leases, permits, and agreements. The National Park Service, with invaluable assistance from a subcommittee of the Cape Cod National Seashore Advisory Commission, is nearing completion of an Environmental Assessment (EA). The EA will establish a Dune Shack Historic District Preservation and Use Plan that will provide clear direction and consistency for NPS managers, dune shack dwellers, users, and advocates.

Electronic copies of the National Register listing will be made available in the coming weeks on the park

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Last updated: February 26, 2015

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