Building Provincetown presents Provincetown’s rich social and cultural history through its built environment, doubling as an architectural guide arranged street by street, in alphabetical order. This website is under construction. (Provincetown Magazine published a terrific profile, by Steve Desroches, in 2013.)

A book is coming in the latter half of 2014. You can follow its progress on Building Provincetown, The Book.

A great way to visit this site is to Browse by Street. You can also search for names, words and buildings in the search box above. (It also appears at the bottom of every entry.) Notices of the latest entries are posted regularly on Facebook. The Cape Cod National Seashore has its own section in the Cs. A dagger ( † ) at an entry means the structure no longer stands.

It’s not possible to contact everyone whose properties I’m describing, so I rely on public records and on data that are already on the web. I understand that some residents may not wish certain details to appear here, and I will gladly accommodate requests to delete personal information. You can reach me directly at: david [dot] w [dot] dunlap [at] gmail [dot] com

Posted in Welcome


5 Alden Street

Alden 005 

Our journey down Alden Street begins with the Adams family, which has owned this building since 1966. The core of the house was constructed before the Civil War. Like many — if not most — houses in Provincetown, it has since grown by accretion. It was the home of one J. Silva in 1910, according to a street atlas from that time, when a “J. Silva” could have been one of about 20 in town; perhaps Jocking (a corruption of Joaquin?) or Joseph.

Emidio Santos owned the property in the 1950s. Mary Joseph Santos sold the house in 1966 to Howard D. Adams (b ±1931), a fish handler, and his wife, Bertha Louise (Avelino) Adams (b 1938). She was still living there in 2012, with their son Ernest J. Adams (b 1958), a retired maintenance worker.

Historic District Survey, main house • Historic District Survey, former workshop-studio • Assessor’s Online Database ¶ Posted 2012-10-24

7 Alden Street

Constructed before the Civil War, this was owned in the early 20th century by F. Fashia. John A. Edwards owned it in the mid-1950s. Georgianna V. Edwards sold it in 1958 to Anthony R. Leonard (b ±1931), a fisherman, and his wife, Marie F. Leonard (b ±1933). Leonard fished for his stepfather, Capt. Ferdinand R. “Fred” Salvador, of 151 Bradford Street, who operated and skippered — with his brother, Louis A. Salvador — the Shirley & Roland, Stella and C. R. & M. More history»

9 Alden Street

There are a couple of these “Potemkin village” houses in town, with fully developed front facades that are only one bay deep, and a smaller ell structure in the back. (10 Pleasant Street is another such example.) More history»

10 Alden Street

Sometime between 1850 and 1880, this house was originally constructed. Capt. J. Silva owned it in the early 20th century. Anthony V. Perry and his wife owned it in the mid-50s. It was the home in the early 1980s of Domingo M. Joseph (b 1919), Antone P. Joseph (b 1925) and Irene Joseph (b 1928). It’s now a two-unit condominium. More history»

11 Alden Street

A figure of the revered Infant Jesus of Prague stood until recently under the front window of this home, which appears at first to have been built after World War II but occupies a site on which there has long been a house. (That leaves me to wonder whether this is simply a heavily remodeled building.) It belonged to A. Santos in the early 20th century. From the 1950s through the early 1980s, it was the home of Anthony L. Menangas (b 1920), a fisherman, and his wife, Florence A. Menangas (b 1923). In fact, a “Menangas” sign still hangs on the house, suggesting strongly that the current owner, Floran Rozzelle, is a member of the family. • Historic District SurveyAssessor’s Online Database ¶ Updated 2012-10-24

12 Alden Street

Painted a vivid red in the early 21st century, this house was constructed between the 1850s and 1880s. It was owned by L. Soares in 1910. By 1918, it housed Antoine and Annie (Santos) Costa. In 1926, it was purchased by Louis R. Oliver (b ±1890), a laborer, and his wife, Mary V. Oliver (b 1898). One of Mother Avellar’s twin sons from 437-439 Commercial Street, Gerald E. Avellar (b 1895), was living here in the early 1960s with his wife, Eva Avellar (b ±1899). Mary Oliver was still here in the early 80s, as were her daughter [?], Thelma D. Oliver (b 1931), a clerk; her brother, Antone T. Costa (b 1909), a retured clerk; and his wife [?], Dorothy E. Costa (b 1912). More pictures and history»

15 Alden Street

Built between 1870 and 1890, 15 Alden Street is still distinguished by the ornamental brackets supporting a hood over the front door. Charles Brown, a fisherman, owned the house in the 1910s. A fire broke out in January 1917, but Brown was able to contain it with a garden hose before the firefighters arrived. “Mice and matches are thought to have been responsible for the outbreak,” The Advocate reported. John O. Costa (b ±1887), a fisherman, and his wife, Elvira S. Costa (b ±1895) were the property owners in the 1950s. The 1981 town census showed two Portuguese natives living here: Ofelia Costa (b 1923), a chambermaid, and J. J. Marcelino (b 1924), a fisherman. The owner since 1998 has been Jose Estelino Santos Ferreira, through the Ofelia Costa Life Estate. Ofelia herself was still here in 2012. More»

16 Alden Street

Dating from around the time of the Civil War, somewhere between 1850 and 1870, this house was owned in 1910 by Joseph P. Floras, a fisherman. Another fisherman, and native of Portugal, Remigio S. Roda Sr. (±1883-1957), lived here in the 1940s and ’50s with his wife, Mary E. Roda. Their son Remigio Jr. was stationed in Paris at the time as the chief weather forecaster for Trans World Airlines. The Rodas unwittingly played a role in a 1950 kidnaping scheme, when they boarded a man named Gerald Sylvester of New York. He had arrived in town with a two-and-a-half-year-old boy whom he identified as his son — but who was not. The boy, whose name was Robert Kaplan, was receiving the “best of care” at the Rodas home when two detectives from the N.Y.P.D. came to retrieve him. More pictures and history»

17 Alden Street

In judging the age of this house, what are you going to go by? The classic gable-end form of the house, or the fairly modern window treatment? Choose the former — this was built around the time of the Civil War. J. Asavedo owned it in 1910, Caroline A. Dirsa in 1956. It is today the home of the artist Patricia R. Bruno (b 1948), who has lived in town more than three decades and once designed sets and costumes for the Provincetown Theater Company. • Historic District Survey (1) • Historic District Survey (2) • Assessor’s Online Database ¶ Posted 2012-10-26

18 Alden Street

Constructed before 1850, this was owned in 1910 by M. Dewager. From 1952 to 1970, this was the home of Jocelyn M. Lewis (b ±1913), one of the legendary ranks of Provincetown operators who kept the town connected before 1966. Lewis was the supervisor on the night of the vast Northeast blackout of 1965, when the operators at 100 Bradford were the town’s only link to the outside world. As recently as the 1980s, a retired fisherman, John Gomes (b 1886), and a retired Coast Guardsman, Edward Cook (b 1908), were living here. Khristine C. Hopkins (b 1950) and Clarence D. Beal III (b 1959) bought it from the Cook family in 1996. • Historic District SurveyAssessor’s Online Database ¶ Posted 2012-10-26

19 Alden Street

Until recent years, the Greek Revival entryway of this house seemed deformed by hard existence. And not without reason. In 1942, Antone Guereiro — a 56-year-old fisherman from Olhao, Portugal, who’d lived in town for 30 years — shipped out from this home as a crew member of a trawler dragging the Crab Ledge grounds. As the boat headed home, about 10 miles off Chatham, he was standing on the stern one moment and, in the next, he was gone. Overboard. He left a wife and three children. More pictures and history

20 Alden Street

A century ago, this building, constructed in about 1850, was the home of the fisherman John King. Philomena Santos (b 1896) owned it in 1956 and was still living here in 1981, together with Luciana C. Santos (b 1918) and Mary Louise Santos (b 1899); and the fisherman Fernando R. Gonsalves (b 1941) and Maria Gonsalves (b 1946), both of whom had come from Portugal. It is now a four-unit condo. • Historic District SurveyAssessor’s Online Database, Unit 1 • Assessor’s Online Database, Unit 2 • Assessor’s Online Database, Unit 3 • Assessor’s Online Database, Unit 4 ¶ Posted 2012-10-27

22 Alden Street

Like many of its neighbors, No. 22 dates from the period between the 1850s and 1870s. M. Sabine was the owner in 1910. Victor J. Viegas (b ±1898) and others owned it in 1956. In 1981, it was the home of Roger D. Legg (b 1948), the custodian of the town dump; Maxine R. Meads (b 1954), a secretary; Richard H. Meads (b 1948), who worked for the Water Department; and Richard B. Smith (b 1953), a fisherman. It is now a four-unit condo. • Historic District Survey (1) • Historic District Survey (2) • Assessor’s Online Database, Unit 1 • Assessor’s Online Database, Unit 2 • Assessor’s Online Database, Unit 3 • Assessor’s Online Database, Unit 4 ¶ Posted 2012-10-27

26 Alden Street

Grace Gouveia Building

When Henry David Thoreau came to town in the 1840s, he asked how many people were in the Alms House. “Oh, only one or two, infirm or idiotic,” he was told. But by 1870, the number had increased so much that this large Alms House, also known as the Town Asylum, was built. In 1956, it was transformed into a municipal nursing home called Cape End Manor, which lasted 20 years until a new facility was built at 100 Alden Street. This building was converted for use as town offices and renamed the Grace Gouveia Building in honor of Grace (Gouveia) Collinson, a poet, teacher and activist who immigrated from Portugal in 1915 at the age of 6.

More pictures and history»

28 Alden Street

In 2006, the architect Neal Kimball applied to the Historic District Commission, on behalf of the owners Mitchell Hollander and Robert Purinton, for permission to demolish an “existing, structurally compromised, one-story, non-conforming dwelling and construct a new two-story dwelling with similar design and slightly larger footprint.” The contrast between the two — and what each says about the changing face of Alden Street — could not be much greater. Like the adjacent parcel at No. 30, this property was owned for many years by members of the Lopes family; most recently Maurice H. Lopes (b ±1919). An electrician by trade, Lopes also seems to have been a restlessly inventive entrepreneur in the 1940s and ’50s. More pictures and history»

29 Alden Street

Old Provincetown’s ramshackle quality survives in the shed that’s part of the 29 Alden Street property. In the 1960s, it was the David Rothman Frame Shop and then it was taken over by George “Moe” Van Dereck Haunstrup (b 1940). He ran it as Moe’s Fancy Alden Street Workshop, where you could get your guitar fixed, buy supplies, and pick up tickets for hootenannies — organized by Moe Van Dereck. He was described by The Banner as a “builder, musician, volunteer fireman, sculptor, beachcomber and dump-picker extraordinaire.” More pictures and history

30 Alden Street

For much of the 20th century, this property was in the hands of the Facha and Lopes families. The house was originally constructed before the Civil War. Theodora and Frank R. Facha (also spelled Fasha) were living here in 1918. Frances Facha (±1863-1939), who was born on Pico in the Azores, lived here. Her daughter, Mary R. Facha, married Manuel Lopes, who had come to Provincetown from Olhao, Portugal. They married at St. Peter’s Church in 1914. Lopes spent 60 years as a fisherman, then operated the Cape End Laundry. Their son, Maurice, also lived here. It is now a five-unit condominium. • Historic District SurveyAssessor’s Online Database, Unit 1 • Assessor’s Online Database, Unit 2 • Assessor’s Online Database, Unit 3 • Assessor’s Online Database, Unit 4 • Assessor’s Online Database, Unit 5 ¶ Posted 2012-10-28

32 Alden Street

This three-unit condominium was built in 1999. • Historic District SurveyAssessor’s Online Database, Unit 1 • Assessor’s Online Database, Unit 2 • Assessor’s Online Database, Unit 3 ¶ Posted 2012-10-28

34 Alden Street

The lovely picket of cedar trees along the Alden Street boundary of Town Cemetery was the work of Joseph E. Souza Jr. (1913-2005), who was long a resident of this house, with his wife, Evelyn (Curran) Souza (1913-1998), who was descended from the restless pilgrim Stephen Hopkins. (He had already been to America and back when he sailed on the Mayflower.) Souza’s parents were Joseph P. and Mary (Carreiro) Souza. He worked as a fisherman, was employed by the Cape Cod Cold Storage and the Department of Public Works, and served as a cemetery groundskeeper, suggesting that he had an especially short commute to work. The Souzas’ son, Peter, lived at 28 Alden for a time. • Historic District Survey, main house • Historic District Survey, shed • Assessor’s Online Database ¶ Posted 2012-10-28

35 Alden Street

The brothers Peter J. Macara (b 1950) and Richard M. “Ricky” Macara (b 1953) — nephews of Joseph E. Macara, the founder of Land’s End Marine Supply — share this property. Richard owns the main house, which dates from around 1850, and Peter owns the garage-cottage in the rear. The garage was constructed by George P. Hann (b ±1935), who used it for his repair shop, George’s TV Service, which operated in the 1960s. More pictures and history

37 Alden Street

Stephen Simmons (b ±1902), a taxi operator, shared this mid-19th-century home for many years with his wife, Mary (b 1904), who was still living here in the early 1980s. After a half century of ownership, the Simmons family sold the house in 2002 to Hillary M. Gambrill and Norman M. Barry. • Historic District Survey, main house • Historic District Survey, shed • Assessor’s Online Database ¶ Updated 2012-10-28

100 Alden Street

Cape End Manor Care Campus (Seashore Point)

“At the manor” is where many townsfolk close out their years. The Cape End Manor Nursing Home, a 28-bed successor to the facility at 26 Alden Street, opened in 1980. In 2006, management was transferred from the town to the Deaconess Abundant Life Communities and ground was broken on the 81-apartment Seashore Point in Provincetown, for those 55 and older.

More pictures and history»

124 Alden Street

Cemetery of the Church of St. Peter the Apostle

Even before there was a church on Prince Street, there was a Roman Catholic cemetery. The land was acquired in 1869, on behalf of the Diocese of Boston, by the Rev. Cornelius O’Connor, who also laid out the grounds. When the Diocese of Providence, R.I., was separated from Boston in 1872, St. Peter’s Church — and ownership of the cemetery — came along. But in 1904, Pope Pius X created the Diocese of Fall River, which included Barnstable County, and the Bishop of Fall River continues to own these 12 acres. Reflecting the parish makeup, the headstones speak poignantly of Portuguese Provincetown.

More pictures and history»

2 Allerton Street

Built around 1800 on Commercial Street, 2 Allerton Street was moved here by the New Yorkers Eleanor Bloomfield and Ivy Ivans, who opened the residence as a guest house in the late 1910s. They became permanent residents in 1921 and wrote a home improvement booklet, A House That Is, or a Tale of the Ship’s Bell, in which they described themselves as happily independent women; one an artist, the other a homemaker. In Provincetown, Karen Christel Krahulik wrote that the couple “created a world at Land’s End that, for intimate and practical purposes, was independent of men.”

2A Allerton Street

3 Allerton Street

Behind the main house (1938) at 3 Allerton Street is a small shed that has served for years as an artist’s studio – now used in summers by the painter Bert Yarborough, a faculty member at the Fine Arts Work Center and at Colby-Sawyer College; formerly by the sculptor Paul Bowen. “It is a great little space,” Yarborough said. “But my best studio is Hatches Harbor out at the end of Herring Cove beach!” More pictures and history»

5 Allerton Street

Allerton Framing
Currently the location of Allerton Framing, this was the last home of one of the town’s most enduring craft businesses: the seven-decade, two-generation Rilleau Sandal Shop. Founded in 1940 by Roger Rilleau (1909-1977) as Hand Industries, at 322 Commercial Street, it moved next to 347 Commercial Street. Roger’s son, Kim Rilleau (b 1950), conducted the business here from 1968 to 1997. More history»

6 Anthony Street

In 1969, Resia Schor, an artist herself and the widow of the artist Ilya Schor, bought this house (c1800). The next year, she and her daughter, Mira Schor, began using it as their studio. The older woman worked in a former fish shack, making jewelry and sculpture. The younger woman painted upstairs in a small room with seashell-patterned wallpaper from the 50s. After Resia died in 2006, Mira began drawing in her mother’s studio, which “proved to be an engine for new work.” Her parents are buried in the Town Cemetery, under a somber but strikingly modernist tombstone.

7 Anthony Street

For many years, this house (c1820) was home to the Catons. John Caton was Charles Hawthorne’s gardener and the subject of his Portrait of a Portuguese Gentleman. Almeda Caton was renowned for her braided rugs and took in washing for summer people like John Dos Passos. The property was purchased in the early ’60s by Claude Jensen, a jeweler and enameler who made almost all the historical markers in town, and Margaret Jensen, a painter who’d been coming to town since the 1940s to study with Hans Hofmann. The house passed to their son Hank Jensen, a sculptor, and Diana Maher, a painter and his partner of 20 years. Hank designed the Long Point floater plaques and his father fabricated them.

9 Arch Street

The ebullient female impersonator Arthur Blake and his business manager and lover, Irving Cohen, lived in this house (c1790), which was originally a three-quarter Cape. Blake made his Provincetown debut in 1953 at the Atlantic House. More history»

11 Arch Street

What is now the four-unit Mariners Path Condominium at 11 Arch Street was built before 1840. For much of the early 20th century, it was the home of Francisco “Frank” Corea, the owner of the dragger Dolora M. (formerly the Leona & Gabriel), and his wife, the former Maria Conceicao Chagas. More pictures and history»

21 Atkins-Mayo Road

31 Atkins-Mayo Road

Built in 1946 for Salvatore Del Deo and Josephine (Couch) Del Deo. Mrs. Del Deo was arguably the most important individual in the last half of the 20th century in the effort to preserve and pass on Provincetown’s heritage, cultural traditions and artistic patrimony. Among other achievements, she was a founder of the Provincetown Heritage Museum. More pictures and history»

56 Atkins-Mayo Road

This stout, angular box of a studio was built in 1973 for Boris Margo (1902-1995), a Ukrainian native who emigrated to the United States in 1930 and married the artist Jan Gelb (1906-1979). They spent summers in a dune shack that still bears their names. On Equal Ground said: “Margo pioneered new materials and techniques to create his biomorphic and lyrically abstract work. One of his most notable inventions was the cellocut: made by pouring a viscuous liquid (celluloid dissolved in acetone) onto a surface, it was carved into once the liquid was dry and hard.” More pictures and history»

86 Atkins-Mayo Road

The sign requests your courtesy in staying out of this compound at the end of Atkins-Mayo Road, but there is much to tantalize: the improvised artwork around the fence, the vintage yellow Volkswagen Beetle parked outside and some of the things glimpsed within — including a composition of crutches that is almost worthy of Louise Nevelson. This property was owned until 1972 by Mary Spencer Nay (1913-1993), a painter from Kentucky who studied with Boris Margo in Provincetown. In 1971, she was named distinguished professor of art education at the University of Louisville. The following year, she divested herself of several tracts of property along Atkins-Mayo Road, which were acquired by Margo, Murray Zimiles, Josephine Del Deo and John L. Frank. More pictures and history »

1 Atlantic Avenue

Formerly 3 Atlantic Avenue

The Historic District Survey says the original house was built around 1860, but the half windows that used to be tucked under the eaves suggest a greater age. The house was purchased 2003 by James E. Reardon and Arthur M. Hagopian Jr. It was offered for sale in the spring of 2012 for $1.188 million and sold in June for $1.065 million to Daniel P. McCurdy, Robert J. Anderson and John M. Huffman. The assessor changed the street number in 2012 from No. 3 to No. 1. • Historic District SurveyAssessor’s Online Database ¶ Updated 2012-12-27

3 Atlantic Avenue

3 Atlantic Avenue, Provincetown (2009), by David W. Dunlap. 
Donald J. "Dancing Cop" Thomas. From the "Donald 'The Dancin' Cop' Thomas" Facebook page.Formerly 5A Atlantic Avenue

It is hard to imagine the “Dancing Cop” coming to rest for even a moment, but this home is where Donald J. Thomas (b 1927) put his feet up at nights from 1969 to 1999, the years that found him morphing from local traffic officer to Cape Cod Celebrity; the one person in Provincetown whom day trippers would surely remember even after they’d forgotten everything else. Thomas worked Lopes Square the way Astaire worked a ballroom. Or at least the way Tony Manero worked 2001 Odyssey. His spins, swivels, pivots, thrusts and parries kept traffic moving and passersby mightily entertained. Some of his moves were recorded for posterity on this YouTube video. Take a look. Believe me, a still photo does not do Officer Thomas justice. More history


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