5 Standish Street

5 Standish Street, Provincetown (2011), by David W. Dunlap. 
Victoria House

Len Paoletti, a former owner, shared his story with me in 2013. He purchased what was then called the Guest House in August 1972 from Patricia Morton and quickly renamed it Victoria House. “I thought the house was Victorian, thus the name. But it was a misnomer as the house is definitely not Victorian.

“What I bought was mess of a house. On the exterior, paint was peeling and flaking everywhere except where it had been blow-torched off. There, it was charred. The interior was just as bad: hallway floors and stairs painted a marine orange; walls, a dull blue-gray. Mrs. Morton told me that the orange was to impart a warm welcoming glow and the blue-gray a cooling effect for hot summer days. I spent my first winter repainting most of the interior. The derelict white exterior was painted by local fishermen in exchange for free lodging. But daffodil-yellow paint did not last long in that salty climate on that windblown street. So I am, unfortunately, the one responsible for the vinyl clad exterior.

“I was told that the house had once been owned by the Provincetown sheriff and that it had had a beautiful curving porch that wrapped around most of the front and along the right side. Mrs. Morton had had the porches removed. The Edwards family owned the house next door, as well as the Governor Bradford on the corner. They were great neighbors — friendly, outgoing, always pleasant.

“It was during Mrs. Morton’s tenure that Tony Costa, the infamous serial killer, stayed at the house, in what is now Room 4. [Antone Charles Costa was convicted in 1970 of two of the four murders of young women for which he is believed responsible; those of Patricia H. Walsh and Mary Ann Wysocki.] The house for a brief period was often pointed out to tourists as the site where the murderer lived. [Walsh and Wysocki stayed at the house in January 1969. That was where they met Costa. Kurt Vonnegut Jr. discussed the case in Life magazine, 25 July 1969.]

“Mrs. Morton moved to New Hampshire, where I heard she opened another guest house and subsequently died about 10 years later.

“At the time I purchased the house, it was all shared baths. But with the onslaught of AIDS, tourists were reluctant to share a bath, so I installed private baths on the first floor. That was in the winter of 1984-85. Then in May of 1985, I sold it to purchase Elephant Walk Inn,” 156 Bradford Street.

Rest of the entry to be written.

3 thoughts on “5 Standish Street

  1. Five Standish Street was owned and occupied by Jake and Peg Loring and their invalid son in the ’40s and ’50s — and possibly a fair amount earlier, as well as later. Jake was a deputy sheriff of Barnstable County. He also operated Loring’s Taxi service. I was an employee of his in the late ’40s, when I was 16. They were good friends of my family and attended my graduation from college in 1953.

  2. Hello from England. I briefly researched for news on what had become of this property after stumbling across a TV program about Tony Costa. Patricia H. Walsh and Mary Ann Wysocki were described as weekending in 5 Standish Street (no mention of Costa staying there) before they disappeared. I wondered whether the little boarding house would be destroyed by the association. I’m glad this was not the case. Just discovered that Costa served only four years. Murderpedia has his name linked to eight disappeared women. There was a picture of a pretty shabby No. 5 from 1969. DWD did a good job bringing it back to life.

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