An elderly Cape Cod artist is evicted from a cabin in the dunes bequeathed to him by the owner years ago, a property he helped maintain for nearly eight decades.
Artist Salvatore Del Deo, 94, helped maintain the cabin, one of 19 along Provincetown’s northwest shore, for 77 years. It was given to him by a friend of the family and he hoped to celebrate his 95th birthday there.
But that hope could be thwarted by the National Park Service, which ordered Del Deo to vacate the cabin because an heir of the original owner had died, ending an agreement that allowed occupancy of the residence on National Seashore lands.
According to the Park Service, Del Deo does not maintain any legal claim to the cabin.
Salvatore Del Deo, 94, painter and artist who has looked after the same dune hut for 77 years. In 1983, the hut was bequeathed to him by its first owner
The National Park Service is now trying to evict Del Deo, arguing that the heir to the property is deceased and therefore the land is returned to the state.
Salvatore’s son Romolo Deo appealed the notice on his father’s behalf and was granted a 90-day extension, which is now coming to an end.
Del Deo was told he had until June 27 to remove his belongings and vacate the premises.
“I thought I would spend my last days there,” Del Deo told the Boston globe.
The Old Man is a famous painter who lived a long life in Provincetown, Massachusetts, originally as a successful restaurateur.
The parks department said it will enter the small cabin in an auction competition, where members of the public can bid for long-term leases of public land.
Romolo, an internationally renowned sculptor, said officials have so far dismissed his arguments against the Park Service assault.
The Del Deo’s possession of the cabin in the dunes is itself a story that goes back many years in the history of Provincetown.
Del Deo came to Provincetown in 1946 after studying art at the Rhode Island Institute of Design. He quickly became friends with Jeanne “Frenchie” Schnell, who had come to Provincetown via New York and Paris.
When Del Deo married his wife Josephine in 1953, Schnell gifted the newlyweds his beach cabana as a honeymoon suite. When Schnell finally passed away in 1983, she bequeathed the small structure to the care of the Del Deos, who have since paid the property taxes and maintenance costs.
In the 1960s, the Park Service took land on which the cabin sits by eminent domain but offered the owners lifetime leases. A National Park Service real estate agent advised the Del Deos that the 2016 death of Adrienne Schnell, Frenchie’s daughter and heiress, meant the occupants had to move on.
‘We’re not even allowed to bid [on the shack] right away. We don’t know when that might be possible, or under what conditions,” Romolo said.
He added that the legal structure and penalty for resisting a federal order of the type his father received is so onerous that he has no choice but to comply.
“We are not their enemy. But we are treated as their enemy. And we wish they didn’t treat us that way… like, you know, something that needs to be eradicated and replaced,” he said.
The Park Service, he added, ignored Schnell’s other living heir, a Tennessee girl, who also wants the Del Deos to remain as stewards of the property.
This week, nearly two dozen protesters arrived at the Dune Road entrance on Highway 6, holding handwritten signs.
Online, a change.org petition claiming that Mr Del Deo should be allowed to stay put has garnered more than 5,000 signatures.
The dune shack is one of 19 on the northwest shore of Provincetown that the state claimed eminent domain in the 1960s and is now trying to reclaim from its occupants
The National Park Service told Del Deo he had until June 27 to vacate the property. His son, Romolo Del Deo, tries to help his father fight the order
Romolo says his family has been touched by the outpouring of support from the community: “I’m still hoping that someone in a position of authority will basically go to anyone who walks their way through this policy,” he said. he declares.
“We will try to continue to pass the message to someone who is able to stop this travesty.”
Elder Del Deo said he was prepared to be disappointed with the eventual outcome of the situation, saying: ‘I’ve had a wonderful life. So if it has to be, it has to be… But I would like to end my life by being able to go there.
He said he hoped others in his situation would keep their properties as well, but added that he didn’t “want to be the one to be sacrificed on the altar of pleasure because someone else has more money than me”. I have no money. But I built this hut with my own hands. My son helped me and my friends helped me. And we did.