14 Conwell Street

Conwell Gallery

Let’s just look at some of the occupations of those who lived on Conwell Street in 1995: “Mechanic.” “Bank teller.” “Nurse’s aide.” “Carpenter.” “Philosopher.” Hmmm. “Philosopher.” That would have been Lee Robinson (b 1947).

He was also a selectman, a member of the town’s Finance Committee, the operator of a parking lot on the abandoned A&P property just up the road, a studio engineer and a landscaper — “a true Provincetown original,” in the words of Irene Rabinowitz, a former town moderator and friend. Robinson’s father, Bradley Robinson (1914-1984), the co-author of Dark Companion: The Story of Matthew Henson, bought this property in 1981 from John J. Tinkham (b 1946), a postal clerk, and Margaret M. Tinkham (b 1941). Dark Companion, first published in 1947, was written with Henson, an African-American explorer who accompanied Cmdr. Robert E. Peary on his 1909 polar expedition.

Sue Harrison, the former arts editor of The Banner, recalled about Lee Robinson that he had a recording studio in his basement “where lots of aspiring Cape musicians cut their tracks.” Rabinowitz remembered that the walls of the studio were made of glass blocks salvaged from the dolphin pool of the Provincetown Marine Aquarium, 205-209 Commercial Street, the foundations of which are under the outdoor Aqua Bar and deck.

A recording studio made of glass blocks from a dolphin tank was not the end of Robinson’s inventiveness. “He landscaped the back yard with steps, terraces, rhodedendron and a grape arbor,” Rabinowitz said. “He also had a teeny elf community living under the plants on the lowest level of the terracing. He and I would sit in the grape arbor at the top of the yard and listen to the music from the Boatslip or the Pied when the wind was right.”

Richard A. Lombardi (b 1945) bought the property in 2002. He runs the Conwell Gallery from here. He devoted the 2008 season to the works of Michael Rogovsky, principally male nudes. • Assessor’s Online Database ¶ Updated 2012-11-10

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