Day Dreaming

Cape Cod Life  /  May 2023 /

Writer: Susanna Graham-Pye

For almost a century, Days Cottages in North Truro have been the backdrop to summertime memories. Photo by Sean McVeigh Media People around here, some of whom are gone now, have told colorful stories about the blessings of being a Cape Codder during hard times: The Great Depression and World War II for example. They often speak about how this arm of land cradled abundance—fish and fowl and victory gardens—how neighbors helped neighbors. Each person, in their own way, always somehow seems to say that life during the bad times was more comfortable here, at least in a relative way. While the second half of the 1800s brought tourism to the Cape aboard the country’s growing rail system, it was the arrival of the automobile that allowed it to blossom. Cape Codders, thrifty Yankees by nature who had steered clear of building homes on storm exposed shores, now recognized the opportunity to use those empty, sandy spaces for cottages. It is estimated by some sources that by the early 1930s, Cape Cod’s tourism industry was bringing in over $25 million annually. Joseph A. Days grew up in Provincetown and went to work for the family construction company. During the 1920s, the idea of moving his home from Provincetown to the shores of North Truro hooked Days’ dreams. As good Cape Codders often did, Days planned to physically move his existing home. He cut it into pieces, and began planning—bear in mind he lived in a neck of the woods where a whole village, Long Point, was floated across the harbor when villagers decided to move to a more sheltered existence. Days’ idea earned the moniker “Days’ Folly,” for what good Cape Codder wanted to build a home on a stretch of dirt and sand to live ever after facing down…

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