† 1 High Pole Hill Road

Town Hall, depicted on the front door of the Town Hall safe, Provincetown (2008), by David W. Dunlap. 
1 High Pole Hill Road, Provincetown (±1854). Scrapbooks of Althea Boxell: Book 1, Page 113. Courtesy of the Provincetown History Preservation Project (Dowd Collection).First Town Hall

Elevated high above the little village it served, the Town Hall of 1854 was clad in the very architecture of democracy — Greek Revival — though in its nobility, it could just as easily have been mistaken for a house of worship. With a pinnacle that could be seen far out to sea and a tower clock available for the citizenry to consult, Town Hall also served as a utilitarian landmark. What a splendid symbol of municipal government! And what a dumb idea for a public building: constructed of hard pine and situated well out of reach of any fire apparatus. You know what happens next, and on 16 February 1877, it did. Town Hall burned down, taking with it many of the records that would have made historical research so much more fruitful. Having paid $350 for High Pole Hill, the town was not about to walk away from its investment, though it would take another 30 years for the proper replacement to be found. ¶ Posted 2013-01-25

3 thoughts on “† 1 High Pole Hill Road

  1. Since this is my area of expertise, I suggest the old Town Hall building (stylistically a transitional edifice from the Federal to the Greek Revival), is probably more in the timeframe of 1825-1830 than the stated date of “1854”. But that time this style in a coastal Massachusetts town would have been extremely obsolete.

    That would be a very late date for such a neo-classic structure of such obvious singularity of design and purpose. I wonder at the source of the date, 1854?

    Further, I think there’s no reason to second guess those Yankees who built as to their level of intelligence. “Dumb idea” is beneath the commentary at this blog, in my opinion. Indeed there are many more “dumb ideas’ given the rampant attack on the historic architectural fabric being waged presently on your fine town.

    Many things were lost to fire in that time. The standard building material of the day would have been hard pine. I’d simply be pleased a photograph of that stellar edifice survives.

    You certainly can’t second guess the mindset and mind-workings of those of the Jacksonian era in old Provincetown two hundred years ago. That would be a fool’s errand.

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