Saving Modern HIstoric Homes

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Date(s) - October 13, 2018
1:00 pm

Cape Cod Musuem of Art


Peter McMahon, Director of the Cape Cod Modern House Trust

Cape Cod Museum of Art

October 13, 2018 at 1:00 PM

$15.00, Free for Members of the CCMoA Guild

Reception follows the Talk


Peter McMahon, Director of the Cape Cod Modern House Trust (CCMHT), will talk about the Cape’s unique role in the historic international modern architecture movement and their plans to restore exceptional homes that were designed to integrate man with nature.

“CCMHT is about to embark on the restoration of its forth historic modern house –The Kohlberg House,” said McMahon.  “Once restored our homes become platforms for new creative work. When completed, this house will be made available to supporters for weekly stays, for tours and as a location for our annual artist/scholar residencies.”

The house, which is now eligible for the National Registry of Historic Places, was the home of Lawrence Kohlberg the prominent Harvard professor who pioneered a theory of the moral development of children.  He did much of his writing in the house surrounded by many other prominent thinkers and academics who lived nearby, many of them in modern houses built around the same time.

About the Modern Architecture Movement on Cape Cod:

Starting in the late 1930s, the Outer Cape attracted Bauhaus luminaries and prime movers of modern architecture who believed in the power of design to improve the human condition.  They applied these principles to their homes in the secluded pinewoods of Wellfleet, Truro and Provincetown.

The architects included Marcel Breuer, Serge Chermayeff, Olav Hammarstrom and engineer Paul Weidlinger, who built houses for themselves, friends and clients.  They attracted a vibrant community of summer renters and house guests, including Walter Gropius, the Saarinen family and Florence and Hans Knoll, Gyogy Kepes and Saul Steinberg.

Some of these houses were eventually abandoned and are now owned by the Park Service.  In 2007, Peter McMahon founded The Cape Cod Modern House Trust to archive, restore and celebrate the Outer Cape’s outstanding modern architecture and the creative culture that surrounded it. Since then CCMHT has restored several of these homes.

Beginning in October, they will be restoring The Kohlberg House, built in 1960 by local designer/builder Luther Crowell.  It sits on top of a very high dune looking out to the Atlantic near Newcomb Hollow Beach in Wellfleet. It’s been empty for approximately 18 years and is in an advanced state of decay.  Restoration is expected to begin in October and finish by July 2019.

Other homes restored by CCMHT include the Kugel Kips House, the Hatch House and the Weidlinger House.

Attached are images of several homes.



About Peter McMahon

McMahon is co-author, along with Christine Cipriani, of Cape Cod Modern: Mid-Century Architecture and Community on the Outer Cape, (2014, Metropolis Books) winner of the Historic New England Book Prize, 2015.  PM Design, his design practice in South Wellfleet, MA, focuses on sustainable, modern architecture and restoration of mid-20th century buildings.


About Cape Cod Museum of Art

Founded by artists in 1981, CCMoA is the home of Cape Cod art.  It preserves the work of the Cape’s finest artists and celebrates the distinctive artistic identity of the Cape & Islands region.  The Museum is a major hub of cultural creativity.  It educates, inspires and excites the imagination through its outstanding art collection and diverse programming while caring for its many communities.  The Museum is situated in a beautiful setting surrounded by a Sculpture Garden at the Cape Cod Center for the Arts. CCMoA has seven galleries, a Museum Shop and a film screening room. It is supported in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod.

            CCMoA is located at 60 Hope Lane, just off Route 6A, on the campus with Cape Cinema and the Cape Cod Playhouse in Dennis, MA. Hours are 10 am to 5 pm Tues through Sat and noon to 5 pm on Sunday.  The Galleries are open on ARTfull Thursdays from 5 – 8 with no admission fee.  General Admission is $9, $7 for seniors and students 19+ with school ID, $5 for students 13 to 18, and free for children 12 & under. For more information, see or call (508) 385-4477. Follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
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