I knew about the dune shacks but had never seen them until our hike through the Province Lands. This one was my favorite; it doesn’t appear habitable, but what do I know? There were others nearby, but this is how they’ve always looked in my imagination.
From the National Park Service: “The Dune Shacks of Peaked Hill Bars Historic District is a 1900-acre National Register district significant for its association with the historic development of art and literature in America; for its representation of a rare, fragile property type; and for its association with the poet Harry Kemp. It has long been a place of inspiration, contemplation, creativity, and solitude.”
From Fodor’s: “These small, austere structures were built by the Life Saving Service in the 19th century to house seamen. Sometime around the 1920s, long after the dune shacks ceased housing lifesaving personnel, many of the community’s creative or eccentric spirits began using them as retreats and hideaways. Probably the most famous of these was playwright Eugene O’Neill, who purchased one and spent many summers there with his wife, Agnes Boulton. O’Neill penned Anna Christie (1920) and The Hairy Ape (1921) while living in his shack, and in doing so gave the whole collection of dune shacks something of an arty cachet.”