9 Ryder Street Extension

9 Ryder Street Extension, Provincetown (2010), by David W. Dunlap. 
9 Ryder Street Extension, Provincetown (2008), by David W. Dunlap.Fishermen’s Wharf (also, Cabral’s Wharf) | Provincetown Marina | Cape Cod Oil’s Gas Dock | 9 Ryder Seaside Dining

It was at the wharves that women parted from their husbands. It was to the wharves that they returned trembling when a fishing vessel, gone too long, returned with its flag at half mast — if it returned at all. The women of Provincetown, who also faced the sea, were often overlooked when men accounted for the heroism of the fishery. So perhaps some cosmic leveling explains the fact that the women received their waterfront tribute, They Also Faced the Sea, by Norma Holt (d 2013) and Ewa Nogiec, a decade before the unveiling of the Provincetown Fishermen’s Memorial project. The installation certainly catches most visitors’ eyes, as it can be seen prominently on arrival and departure from MacMillan Wharf. But it is not Fishermen’s Wharf only distinction.

9 Ryder Street Extension, Provincetown (ND), by Ross Moffett. Courtesy of the Provincetown History Preservation Project (Moffett Collection).The original pier shed of Sklaroff’s Wharf, forerunner of Fishermen’s Wharf. [Link] 

To begin with, it is the oldest of the big three remaining piers, having originally been constructed in 1917-1918 by S. Sklaroff & Sons of Philadelphia, a company that specialized in smoked fish. For that reason, it was known at first as Sklaroff’s Wharf.

9 Ryder Street Extension, Provincetown (1920). Scrapbooks of Althea Boxell: Book 9, Page 186. Courtesy of the Provincetown History Preservation Project (Dowd Collection).Sklaroff’s Wharf stretched 1,380 feet into the harbor. At the end was a large pier shed whose first floor was used for receiving and cleaning fish, which were then packed on the second floor. Further along the pier was a storehouse of roughly equal dimension. Closer to shore was a smaller fish house. The Sklaroff family’s business on Cape Cod was run by William Sklaroff (±1885-1967), who lived here with his wife Bertha (d 1964); later assisted by Morton Adler, who was married to the Sklaroffs’ daughter Miriam. “He gave employment to many townspeople, particularly older men who could no longer go fishing,” The Provincetown Advocate said of Sklaroff in 1964. Some of the company’s products, shown here in a 1920 advertisement, may sound a bit unfamiliar. Bismarck herring is simply pickled herring, a rollmop is a rolled fillet. The Sklaroffs sold the wharf in 1943, together with the nearby Harbor Lunch building (279-281 Commercial Street). The buyers were the John Nagle Company of Boston and the Atlantic Coast Fisheries Corporation.

While the pier was still under the Sklaroffs’ ownership, in 1936, their wharf was renamed Monument Dock when it became the terminal for the Cape Cod Steamship Company’s Boston ferry service on the Steel Pier, after a channel was dredged alongside the wharf deep enough to accommodate such a large vessel. The pier aligns almost perfectly with the Pilgrim Monument, About 1,400 passengers arrived from Boston on Sunday, 26 July 1936, when the Steel Pier made her inaugural landing.

Cape Cod Fisheries owned the pier for a period, followed in 1955 by the Monument Fish Company, headed by Anthony E. Silva (d 1968), Edward Salvador and Lawrence A. Taves (±1905-1966), who also owned the Monument Drive-In, a restaurant and snack bar on what was by then known as Monument Wharf. Silva’s wife, Christine M. (Souza) Silva (1913-2008), was the bookkeeper for this and several other businesses she owned with her husband, including Christine’s Luncheonette, 269-271 Commercial Street.

A blizzard with 80-mile-an-hour winds on 4 March 1960 attacked with such ferocity that it pushed the entire two-story storehouse into the water. A contemporary account in The Advocate gives some sense of the value of fishing gear: damages from the building were estimated at $75,000 ($600,000 adjusted), while the loss of a single seine net cost an estimated $40,000 ($315,000).

9 Ryder Street Extension, Provincetown (1962). Scrapbooks of Althea Boxell: Book 4, Page 58. Courtesy of the Provincetown History Preservation Project (Dowd Collection).Worse was to come. On 17 January 1962, fire broke out in the main pier shed, which housed the equipment needed to hoist fish from vessels alongside. The blaze was all but impossible to fight, with water on three sides and a rickety wooden deck almost one-fifth of a mile long for fire trucks to cross. Though no one [?] was injured, the shed was a complete loss, with the notable exception of the chimney. Neither Monument Dock nor the Monument Fish Company ever recovered from this disaster.

Monument Dock was sold in 1965 to Howard R. Dykeman of Wellfleet. Dykeman sold it in turn to Robert E. Cabral (b 1926), now of 25 Pilgrim Heights Road, through the Fishermen’s Wharf Corporation, a spin-off from the Cee-Jay Corporation, headed by William P. “Captain Bill” Cabral (b ±1899), of 122 Commercial Street. Later, the ownership entity was changed to Cabral Enterprises, and Robert’s son, Vaughn R. Cabral (b 1955), came into the management.

9 Ryder Street Extension, Provincetown (2010), by David W. Dunlap.Besides giving Monument Dock its new name, Fisherman’s Wharf, Cabral rebuilt the pier itself — it is now 1,025 feet long— then constructed the distinctively angled complex of mid-pier buildings and the pier shed at the end of the wharf. In 1995, Nils “Pepe” Berg (b ±1955) — the namesake of Pepe’s Wharf — opened the Dancing Lobster restaurant in a shack at the foot of the pier that had been painted coral pink. Writing in The New York Times that summer, Molly O’Neill said, “The Dancing Lobster celebrates local ingredients, pays homage to the Latin flavors that have always permeated Provincetown cooking, and has a simple, contagious joy about it.” It was succeeded by Townsend Lobster and Seafood Market, which festooned the shack with lobster pot buoys. Townsend was succeeded in 2012 by 9 Ryder Seaside Dining, run by Fred Hemley and Francis Iacono, which serves southern Italian and Ischian dishes.

9 Ryder Street Extension, Provincetown (2008), by David W. Dunlap.There is a lot of room left over on the pier, and what to do with that space was a constant source of friction between Robert Cabral, who would have liked to use it as a commercial parking lot, and town officials, who worried — needlessly, Cabral said — about the environmental implications. Another bone of contention, from 2002 to 2008, was the enormous barge Provincia, tied along the wharf’s southwest flank. Robert and Vaughn Cabral bought the 260-foot-long vessel, once used as an office barracks by the Navy, with ambitious plans like opening a waterfront outlet of the popular Clem & Ursie’s Food Ghetto on Shank Painter Road. But the Provincia was in trouble almost from the moment of arrival, given the jurisdictional and regulatory questions that arose: was she a vessel or was it a building? In the end, unable to reach any resolution with the government, the Cabrals sold the Provincia, which was towed away to Louisiana.

9 Ryder Street Extension, Provincetown (2010), by David W. Dunlap.The Provincia drama was only a sideshow to the main event: the Cabrals’ decade-long effort to sell the pier. Their asking price in 2005 was $8 million. The Town of Provincetown offered $3.3 million, which they rejected. In 2007, the Cabrals signed an agreement of sale for $6.5 million with Chuck Lagasse. Guided by Walter Beinecke, an heir to the S&H Green Stamps fortune and the driving force behind the recreation of Nantucket as a wealthy enclave, Lagasse and his wife, Ann, had assembled the largest real estate portfolio in downtown Newburyport and embarked upon a Nantucket-style recreation. They then sold a large stake in their holdings to Steve Karp, of New England Development, who planned to expand the Cabrals’ operation into a 350-slip marina, among other steps. But after the economic free fall of mid-2008, the deal collapsed. And a $4.99 million deal with the Town of Provincetown fell apart in 2010. As of this writing, in August 2013, Fishermen’s Wharf is being offered for sale for $3.9 million through John Ciluzzi of Premier Commercial.

Stalwart throughout, five women of Provincetown faced the sea, far longer than anticipated when they were installed. The only casualty has been Almeda Segura (1895-1986), at the end of the pier shed, as seen in the first photo. Her portrait was ruined by the weather. Mrs. Segura, who lived at 351A Commercial Street, seems to bear the world’s weight in Norma Holt’s photograph. And with good reason. Her husband, Capt. Lawrence Santos Segura (±1882-1949), was in charge of the dragger Liberty Belle, which was tied up one afternoon in January 1949 at Town Wharf. One moment, Segura was talking to other fisherman on the pier. The next, his body was spotted in the water and pulled aboard the Gay Head, but too late to save him. Years later, her son, also Lawrence Segura, worked on the Linda & Warren. Mrs. Segura was the daughter of Francis and Mary White Silva of São Miguel, the Azores. She applied in 1955 to operate cottages at 351a Commercial Street.

9 Ryder Street Extension, Provincetown (2009). by David W. Dunlap.From left: Eva Silva, Mary Jason, Beatrice Cabral, Frances Raymond. 

At the far end of the pier shed is Eva Mae Silva (±1914-2002), of 8 Brown Street, who baked for the restaurant run by her husband, James M. Silva (b ±1909), near the Old Colony passenger depot. At the near end is Frances (Perry) Raymond (1905-2009), of 18 Pleasant Street, who was the chief telephone operator in Provincetown before the advent of self-dialed service in 1966 and, at the time of her death at age 104, held the Boston Post Cane as the oldest living citizen in Provincetown. Almost exactly in the middle of the shed is Mary Jason, about whom I’ll report more after I’ve figured which one of three Mary Jasons she was.

Between Mrs. Jason and Mrs. Raymond is the beatifically smiling face of Beatrice V. (Palheiro) Cabral (±1913-2003), of 10 Law Street. I don’t know what her relation is to Robert and Vaughn Cabral — if any. (The name “Cabral” in Provincetown is not unlike “Smith” almost anywhere else.) Mrs. Cabral worked as a matron at the Herring Cove Beach House and in Town Hall, and as a chambermaid at the Provincetown Inn. Her trademark greeting was, “Hello, darling.” She seems to be saying it even now.

MapAssessor’s Online Database PDF ¶ Posted 2013-08-24


9 Ryder Street Extension, Provincetown (±1936). Sklaroff Family Photographs. Courtesy of the Provincetown History Preservation Project (Municipal Collection).William Sklaroff, mid-1930s, from the collection of Joan Goldman Rosen. [Link]

 

9 Ryder Street Extension, Provincetown (±1936). Sklaroff Family Photographs.Courtesy of the Provincetown History Preservation Project (Municipal Collection).Bertha Sklaroff, mid-1930s, from the collection of Joan Goldman Rosen. [Link]

 

9 Ryder Street Extension, Provincetown (±1936). Sklaroff Family Photographs. Courtesy of the Provincetown History Preservation Project (Municipal Collection).Pier shed and cupola, mid-1930s, from the collection of Joan Goldman Rosen. [Link]

 

9 Ryder Street Extension, Provincetown (±1935). Scrapbooks of Althea Boxell: Book 7, Page 85. Courtesy of the Provincetown History Preservation Project (Dowd Collection).Dredging a channel to accommodate the Steel Pier steamship. [Link]

 

9 Ryder Street Extension, Provincetown (1939). Scrapbooks of Althea Boxell: Book 7, Page 86. Courtesy of the Provincetown History Preservation Project (Dowd Collection).The Steel Pier at Monument Dock, about 1939. [Link]

 

9 Ryder Street Extension, Provincetown (ND). Courtesy of the Provincetown History Preservation Project (Moffett Collection).Fishing vessel Revenge, by Ross Moffett. [Link]

 

9 Ryder Street Extension, Provincetown (1960). Scrapbooks of Althea Boxell: Book 9, Page 178. Courtesy of the Provincetown History Preservation Project (Dowd Collection).Unloading fish, 1960. [Link]

 

9 Ryder Street Extension, Provincetown (1962), by Ross Moffett. Courtesy of the Provincetown History Preservation Project (Moffett Collection).Ross Moffett’s photo of the 1962 fire. [Link]

 

9 Ryder Street Extension, Provincetown (1962). Scrapbooks of Althea Boxell: Book 7, Page 80. Courtesy of the Provincetown History Preservation Project (Dowd Collection).Aerial view of the 1962 fire. [Link]

 

9 Ryder Street Extension, Provincetown (1980). Scrapbooks of Althea Boxell: Book 9, Page 175. Courtesy of the Provincetown History Preservation Project (Dowd Collection).Headquarters of the Provincetown Marina, 1980. [Link]

 

9 Ryder Street Extension, Provincetown (2008), by David W. Dunlap.

 

9 Ryder Street Extension, Provincetown (2008), by David W. Dunlap.Townsend Lobster and Seafood Market, 2008.

 

9 Ryder Street Extension, Provincetown (2008), by David W. Dunlap.Townsend Lobster and Seafood Market, 2008.

 

9 Ryder Street Extension, Provincetown (2008), by David W. Dunlap.Townsend Lobster and Seafood Market, 2008.

 

9 Ryder Street Extension, Provincetown (2012), by David W. Dunlap.Townsend’s successor, 9 Ryder Seaside Dining, 2012.

 

9 Ryder Street Extension, Provincetown (2010), by David W. Dunlap.Cape Cod Oil’s Gas Dock, 2010.

 

9 Ryder Street Extension, Provincetown (2011), by David W. Dunlap.Cape Cod Oil’s Gas Dock, 2010.

 

9 Ryder Street Extension, Provincetown (2009), by David W. Dunlap.Cape Cod Oil’s Gas Dock, 2009.

 

9 Ryder Street Extension, Provincetown (2009), by David W. Dunlap.

 

9 Ryder Street Extension, Provincetown (2011), by David W. Dunlap.

 

9 Ryder Street Extension, Provincetown (2008), by David W. Dunlap.The Provincia’s final year, 2008.

 

9 Ryder Street Extension, Provincetown (2011), by David W. Dunlap.

 

9 Ryder Street Extension, Provincetown (2011), by David W. Dunlap.Repair work, 2011.

 

9 Ryder Street Extension, Provincetown (2011), by David W. Dunlap.Provincetown Marina, 2011.

 

9 Ryder Street Extension, Provincetown (2009), by David W. Dunlap.Provincetown Marina, 2009.

 

9 Ryder Street Extension, Provincetown (2008), by David W. Dunlap.Provincetown Marina, 2008.

 

9 Ryder Street Extension, Provincetown (2009), by David W. Dunlap.Provincetown Marina, 2009.

 

9 Ryder Street Extension, Provincetown (2009), by David W. Dunlap.Provincetown Marina, 2009.

 

9 Ryder Street Extension, Provincetown (2009), by David W. Dunlap.

 

9 Ryder Street Extension, Provincetown (2009), by David W. Dunlap.

 

9 Ryder Street Extension, Provincetown (2011), by David W. Dunlap.They Also Faced the Sea, from MacMillan Wharf, 2011. [Link]

 

9 Ryder Street Extension, Provincetown (2010), by David W. Dunlap.Detail of Norma Holt’s portrait of Almeda Segura.

 

9 Ryder Street Extension, Provincetown (2011), by David W. Dunlap.Detail of Holt’s portrait of Eva Mae Silva. [Link to obituary]

 

9 Ryder Street Extension, Provincetown (2011), by David W. Dunlap.Detail of Holt’s portrait of Mary Jason.

 

9 Ryder Street Extension, Provincetown (2011), by David W. Dunlap.Detail of Holt’s portrait of Beatrice V. “Bea” Cabral. [Link to obituary]

 

9 Ryder Street Extension, Provincetown (2011), by David W. Dunlap.Detail of Holt’s portrait of Frances Raymond. [Link to obituary]

 

9 Ryder Street Extension, Provincetown (2011), by David W. Dunlap.

 

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