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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Well, You've All Been Pleasant, I Guess.

I haven't gotten death threats from any pacifists over yesterday's remarks -- I think they mostly sleep in -- so I guess I have to pony up the pictures of the Wellfleet Oysterman's House described in Henry David Thoreau's Cape Cod.

That's called a "full cape." It has five bays. A bay is nomenclature for the portion of the facade allocated for each door or window. A "half cape" would have two windows and a door beside them. A "three-quarter cape" would have two windows, a door, and then another window on the other side of the door. It's a full cape with ell, as there's an addition sticking straight out the back, too.

Not a lot of the interior was original, even when these pictures were taken as part of the vestigal tail of the depression-era Historic American Building Survey. The house had been purchased shortly before then by a somewhat notable person, Joseph Jay Deiss. I assume it's still there but can't find any current pictures of it on the intertunnel.

The house itself is interesting, especially to a person as consumed with anachronism as I am, so tomorrow maybe I'll point out ten things about this house that more or less will disappear in our lifetimes. The ghost of the Wellfleet Oysterman will rattle around in there forever.

12 comments:

Anwyn said...

Please do point out the ten things. I'm fascinated.

Someday in the future I want to work with somebody who knows what they're doing to design and have built my own house. I love new convenience but have a hankering for historical feel.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Haven't clotheslines already gone the way of the dinosaur?

Except in professional wrestling.

Anonymous said...

Reginald
I have made the first picture my wallpaper.
It looks familiar. I may have seen a more recent photo of it in a book I have. I'll let you know if find it.

Janet said...

*snickers* I wasn't pleasant at all, but I got to read the post anyway...

SippicanCottage said...

Of course you're pleasant You're from Canada. The worst serial killer in the history of Canada actually never killed anybody; just made prank phone calls and apologized before hanging up.

Janet said...

LOL! SC, I so wish that were true. Unfortunately there are some genuinely nasty Canadians.

Speaking of prank calls, do you know how hard it is to scold your teenage son for making them when you're splitting a gut laughing? Seriously, sometimes the people getting the prank calls would thank him when they caught on, because they were so amused.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Do I get partial credit for the clothesline observation?

SippicanCottage said...

Ruth Anne- That was very interesting, actually. The clothesline is making a small resurgence lately I think, after falling so far out of favor.

As I understand it, it originally lost its appeal because the air used to be filled with lots of particulate pollution and just plain dirt, and people's laundry would come in dry and dirty. As soon as people could machine dry their clothes they did. I'm told laundry in places like Pittsburgh where coal was burned would literally turn grey outside. People who think pollution is a growing rather than diminishing problem must be younger than me.

But of all the things I pointed out in the pictures, maybe your observation should be the first and most profound thing on the list to sort of disappear.

Anonymous said...

What a pleasant surprise. I just found out my grandfather once owned the "Oysterman's Cottage" and sold it to Mr. Joseph J. Deiss in 1951. My grandfather started Powdrell & Alexander 1n 1919 in Danielson, Ct. He and Casey Stengel were minor shareholders in the old Boston Braves. As Casey would say -"You can look it up!!"

"of Boston, 1927
moved to Wellfleet 1928
owned the "Wellfleet Oysterman" house on Williams Pond, which was sold to Jay Deiss of Westport, Conn. in Jun 1951, and adjacent land to Richard Sigerson of New York. (PA, 19 Apr 1951, p1)"

http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=oldmankew&id=I15724

Bill Powdrell

SippicanCottage said...

Hi Bill- It's a small world, and a big Internet. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Joe Cooper said...

Noted your images of "Old Oysterman's Cottage" in Wellfleet owned by Joseph Jay Deiss, and, now, his daughter. I knew "Jay"as most friends called him for over forty years, and wherever he and his lovely wife, Catherine lived they made a loving, warm and welcoming home. However, of all his abodes, which included locations in Washington, DC, Greenwich Village, NYC, Positano, Italy, and Gainesville, Fla, I believe his fondness for the Wellfleet cottage was without equal. Jay, was indeed, a gentleman, a scholar, an intellectual, and an ideal American of his generation.

SippicanCottage said...

Hi Joe- Thanks for reading and commenting. Mr. Deiss sounds like an interesting fellow. I'd like to read his book about the King of Sicily.