A Rural Paradise
An Island in Time is a personal rendering and microhistory of a beautiful, secluded place in the Cape Cod National Seashore. Arriving with my family in the early 1990s, I grew to love Bound Brook Island in northwest Wellfleet and wanted to understand and share its geological creation 16,000 years ago, its native Punonakanits, its settlers and the maritime community that flourished there for generations.
I hiked hills and ravines, forgotten roads, came upon cellar holes where houses once stood. Then, exploring this one square mile through time, I encountered sea captains, evangelists, a legendary entrepreneur, a midwife, a self-taught architect, and I uncovered tragic family stories and close connections.
Why was Bound Brook Island no longer an island? How did it get its name? Why did its thriving community of 150 inhabitants in the 1850s dwindle to none fifty years later? Why were almost all the island's houses moved to Wellfleet center?
Antique maps and photographs as well as my own maps, photographs and poems, inform this book that also includes original research from town records, county deeds, censuses, and newspapers including the abolitionist The Liberator.
An Island in Time ends in the twenty-first century, with its summer people, its artists and intellectuals and its future in a warming world.
Cover Map: Detail from Charles Blaskowitz's 1775 Cape Cod and Narragansett Bays
Courtesy of the Library of Congress
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