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Five more years: Del Deo family has new lease for Provincetown dune shack

The Del Deo family will be able to use this dune shack for five more years under a new agreement.
Dan Tritle
The Del Deo family will be able to use this dune shack for five more years under a new agreement.

A five-year agreement will allow the Del Deo family to continue to use the Provincetown dune shack they have cared for since 1946.

The agreement was reached just before the weekend under pressure of a possible federal government shutdown.

Sculptor and painter Romolo Del Deo, the son of the 96-year-old artist Salvatore Del Deo, tells CAI the agreement also came just days before the Del Deo family hoped to continue their tradition of observing the birthday of his mother, the late artist and activist Josephine Del Deo, at the shack known as Frenchie’s Shack.

“It showed an actual human face that one doesn't often see from the federal government, and really I can't say enough kind things about the people involved,” Del Deo said.

The Del Deos and several other shack caretakers were evicted as the National Park Service implemented a new policy that allowed competitive biding for use of the dune shacks. The longtime users contended the policy disregarded the many decades of care some had put into the culturally significant shacks.

“It also is an important self-sustaining community that's been there for over a hundred years and the list of people who have gone through it is a who's who of American arts and culture,” Del Deo said.

Del Deo said an agreement was reached once the right people representing his family and the Department of the Interior began talking to one another.

It’s possible the agreement will set a precedent for others facing eviction from the shacks they have occupied and cared for over generations.

“I don’t know authoritatively whether or not the positive turn of events reflects a chance of policy, but my father and I, we're both very hopeful that the moving amount of consideration and effort that the Department of the Interior put into finding a resolution with us reflects a growing interest in the dune dwelling community on the part of the Department of the Interior,” Del Deo said.






John Basile is the local host of All Things Considered weekday afternoons and a reporter.