This colorful history, focusing on the towns of Wellfleet and Truro, Massachusetts, near the tip of Cape Cod, expands our knowledge of some important figures in American modernism, introduces two architects of consequence, and shows the influence of American vernacular architecture on some sophisticated European modernists. This part of the Cape, a windswept spit of land with shifting sands on the open ocean, protected beaches along the bay, and poor soil for farming, was inhabited mainly by fishermen for most of its history. Until the 1950s, it was accessible only by unpaved roads and a backwoods railroad. Although a summer colony of artists and writers developed in nearby Provincetown at the beginning of the...

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