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13 December 2018

Kohlberg House Restoration in Progress

Work is going well on the restoration of the Kohlberg House (1960) and the Cape Cod Modern House Trust expects to have everything finished in June.

In October the Cape Cod Modern House Trust signed an agreement with the Cape Cod National Seashore (CCNS) to lease and restore the Kohlberg House, which has been vacant and deteriorating since the early 2000s. This will be the forth historic modern house restoration initiated and executed by the Cape Cod Modern House Trust (CCMHT). Previously to the Kohlberg House, the CCMHT also restored the Weidlinger House in Wellfleet, that you find on our map as a house that can be rented for the holiday. A lecture by Peter McMahon, Executive Director and Founder of the CCMHT about Abandoned Modern Homes on Cape Cod was held at the Iconic Houses Conference 2018 expert meeting and can be watched in our report of the expert meeting. Once completed the Kohlberg House will be made available for tours, as a location for their annual artist/scholar residencies and to supporters for weekly stays. See their calendar for open weeks.

The houses’ spectacular site, overlooking the Atlantic from atop a high bluff, has also exposed it to steady punishment from Winter Nor’easters, and as a result, almost everything in the interior was rotted, and had to be removed. The same was true for doors, windows, siding, deck, roofing, plumbing and electrical. Luckily the roof structure itself was in pretty good shape.

So far they have re-framed, sheathed and roofed the house, with new doors and windows to be installed soon. Interior work will begin in earnest after the New Year. There is a smaller A frame on the property, which the Kohlberg family built for the teenage children. Thankfully this was in much better shape and has now been re-roofed.

Luther Crowell, a local design/builder who descended from a long line of Cape Cod ship captains such as Elkanah Crowell of Dennis, built the house in 1960. Though self-taught, Crowell borrowed many ideas from Wellfleet’s better-known modern designers eventually making his own version of Tech-built, pre-fab houses. The house is now eligible for the National Registry of Historic Places.

Lawrence Kohlberg was a prominent Harvard professor who pioneered a theory of the moral development of children, which is still taught to aspiring teachers today, and he did much of his writing in the house, surrounded by his family and other prominent thinkers and academics who lived near by in modern houses built close to the same time.

Source text and images: Cape Cod Modern House Trust

Posted 13 December 2018