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But because of complications involving the location of the house — it was built within the boundaries of the Cape Cod National Seashore — the house and the land were eventually acquired by the National Park Service for $80,000. For nearly a decade, the house has sat unoccupied and decaying.
Last spring, after several years of negotiation, the Park Service signed off on a long-term lease of the house to the Cape Cod Modern House Trust, a nonprofit organization Mr. McMahon helped form two years ago to preserve significant Modernist architecture on the outer Cape. This house is one of more than 80 Modernist houses on the eastern Cape built by a group of leading European architects that included Marcel Breuer, Serge Chermayeff and Olav Hammarstrom, and by Americans like Nathaniel Saltonstall, Oliver Morton, Jack Hall and Mr. Zehnder. In their heyday, from the 1940s to the early 1970s, the homes were occupied by artists, writers, musicians and academics.