Delft Haven II Condominium (Unit 3).
You might call this cottage the birthplace of the annual White Party, as it was owned from 1980 to 1990 by Kenneth J. Kruse, a mathematics teacher, and Dr. Donald E. Cote, a dentist, of Boston. The party was begun on the Labor Day weekend of 1981 to help boost spirits battered by recent news of a rare cancer, Kaposi’s sarcoma, that seemed to target gay men. Nothing was known yet about the underlying immune deficiency syndrome, except that it was deadly. AIDS did not yet even have a name. “The ‘gay cancer’ had begun to change lives and a sense of looming doom filled the hearts of many,” Kruse recalled. “In an effort to change the atmosphere that afternoon I went back to Cottage No. 3 that my now spouse and I had bought the previous year. I made a huge batch of margaritas, set up the croquet set in the quadrangle and made a crude costume out of a white bathroom sink skirt and convinced everyone on the beach get up and party.
“It worked! Everyone’s mood changed and we had a great time. When it was over, Don and I decided to start the ‘Two ‘til Tea’ tradition of a croquet and cocktail party every Labor Day Saturday.’” In time, this became the famous White Party. [A much fuller history of the White Party, and a gallery of 88 photos from the 1980s to the 2010s, will be found in the main Delft Haven article.]
Kenneth J. Kruse, co-host of the first event that would become the White Party. By his courtesy.
Dr. Donald E. Cote, center, co-host with Kruse, his partner. Courtesy of Kenneth J. Kruse.
Cottage 3 (Unit 3) has one side to Commercial Street, on the south side of the compound. Originally a freestanding building, it has since been linked to Unit 4 through a common area ornamented by a shallow colonnade. The two together form a bracket that encloses the south half of the central lawn at Delft Haven, creating a kind of shingled quadrangle. As originally apportioned, the 518-square-foot cottage had two bedrooms, a living room with fireplace, a kitchen, and a bathroom. When Peter L. Boyle and John J. Boyle made Delft Haven a condominium in 1977, the first buyer of Cottage 3 was a Newton resident, David A. Webster, who paid $42,500. The Webster House Condominium at 176 Commercial Street is his namesake.
He sold the unit in 1980 for $49,000 to Kruse and Cote, who parted with it a decade later for $155,000. That buyer, a Boston resident, sold it to a resident of Fairfield, Conn., in 1997 for $240,000. He realized $459,000 in the sale of Unit 3 to a Washington couple in 2002. They sold it in turn for $789,000 in 2016 to a resident of Boston.
The new owner, as it happens, studied math in high school under Kenneth Kruse.
Photographs by Bill Barr.
Photographs by Bill Barr.
Cottage 3 in 2011. Photograph by David W. Dunlap.
A panoramic photo from 2014 shows Cottage 3, at right, in relation to the rest of the compound. That’s Cottage 6 in the distance. Dunlap.
¶ Last updated on 16 December 2020.
7 Commercial Street on the Town Map.
Also at 7 Commercial Street:
Thumbnail image: Photo, 2008, by David W. Dunlap.