The rich history of Chatham comes alive in this home… See for yourself!
Because here’s the twist: While a few of the details are true, and a couple of things even happened, most of the Pleasant Bay Overlook’s story is made up, an elaboration based upon fragments from Patrick Ahearn’s script for the project. This slant on design hinges on a concept that he calls “implied history,” rather than one of real-life events. Surely many Thomas Nickersons have lived on the Cape, and maybe someone in the family ran an oyster company at some point. Outlying buildings like the shellfishing shack and the boat shed are nearly ubiquitous, and many families do connect their structures under one roof. Says Ahearn, “It’s a fairly complicated design approach—to satisfy the history of the town and the goals of the clients.” Thus, because of the attention to detail, both in Ahearn’s script (which this tale only resembles) and in the actual architectural design, the compound reads as a work of historical fiction. Because of its non-fictional setting within a 1970s subdivision, it needed to plausibly answer questions. As Ahearn explains: “When you pull into the motor court, you have the feeling this was the original land in the neighborhood, the original house, and that the owners sold off the surrounding property. It’s new history. There’s a sensibility that the storyline is believable.”
In fact, the area called Nickerson’s Neck was first developed during WWI, when the U.S. Navy commissioned an air base here. A massive hanger housed dirigibles and airplanes; at its busiest, in 1918, the base was home to 600 men and has the distinction of serving as a key refueling point for the first airplane to cross the Atlantic, in 1919. The base closed in 1922, and by 1938, the final structures would be dismantled. A golf course and neighboring homes sprung up, in some cases upon the actual foundations of the airbase. Then, in the 1970s, further housing development took root, including a rather nondescript home with a large garage overlooking Pleasant Bay, replete with typical design characteristics of its time such as aluminum sliding glass doors.
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