Old Provincetown at its best, 8 Mechanic is rich in history and eccentricity. Georgianna Rodgers, who married E. Ambrose Webster, grew up here. The property was purchased in 1919 by Manuel and Sadie Mae (Newcomb) Patrick, and is still in family hands. It’s been occupied since 1981 by Avis Johnson, one of Sadie’s great-granddaughters. Johnson has known great sorrow. Her daughter, Chelsea Earnest, died in 1993 at 13, and is memorialized by the playground at 1 Bradford. Her son, Eben, died here in 2008, and her partner, Sean McCarthy, died here four years later. But Avis has filled her yard and windows with toys and tchotchkes, creating funny tableaux. In an era of manicured topiary behind unwelcoming fences, her tatterdemalion sculpture park is a delight. P.S.: Not all the creatures in her realm are inanimate, either.
More than 2,000 buildings and vessels are searchable on buildingprovincetown.com. The Building Provincetown book is available for purchase ($20) at Town Hall, Office of the Town Clerk, 260 Commercial Street, Provincetown 02657.