Days & Nights
The cottages stand 18 feet apart, all with identical dimensions and design. There are two bedrooms, a living room, a bathroom, a kitchen and a glassed-in porch overlooking the water. The only way to separate them (and perhaps to remember which one to head home to after a night on the town) is by the names of the cottages. Each one is named after a different flower, an idea that was the brainchild of Amelia Days, wife of the original owner, Joseph A. Days. Determined to provide each of the cottages with a unique identity, she labeled them Zinnia, Dahlia, Peony, Tulip, Lilac, Marigold, and so on until all 23 were distinguished by a flower. Her husband then had yellow signs with black lettering made for each cottage.
The iconic image of Days’ Cottages has been used in national commercials, magazines, and television shows. In a Chevrolet commercial filmed in the mid-1980s, a tenant rushes out the door of a cottage and hops into a Camaro. The TV game show, “The Price Is Right,” once used a shot of the cottages while describing a dream vacation on Cape Cod. Vogue magazine photographed one of its models with the cottages as the backdrop in 1988.
The cottages were built in 1931, but the foundation for the business was laid nearly 20 years prior when Days purchased a strip of land along either side of what is now Shore Road in Truro. The desolate road was mostly packed-down dirt and beach sand, prompting locals to label the purchase “Days’ Folly.”
The spot remained dormant until the Depression hit when Days, who owned a construction company, saw an opportunity to put people back to work. Providing all the materials, he hired workers to build five cottages.
“He saw the chance to give employment to people, and I guess he had the money to do it,” said his grandson Joe. “I’m sure he never imagined what it would become.”
As the original cottages were being built, Days discovered that none were actually on his property. So he bought that land, and enough additional land to add four more cottages. Across the street he built two more structures, with one building serving as a rental office, seasonal grocery store and summer residence for his family. He continued purchasing land and the following year tacked on 13 cottages, bringing his “folly” to a count of 22. His 23rd and final cottage was added in the late 1930s.
You might also like:
Back in the 1920s, a couple of decades prior to the invention of the hang glider, Wellfleet and Truro had…Read More
Penney’s MAC leased land in South Wellfleet from the Cook family, where David and Laurie Sexton currently own and run…Read More