46 Franklin Street

46 Franklin Street, Provincetown (2010), by David W. Dunlap. 
Nautical motifs are a-dime-a-dozen in Provincetown, as they are everywhere on the Cape. But sometimes, even in Provincetown, seaside décor can be authentic, genuine and truly expressive. The wonderful tricolor lobster at No. 46 falls in the latter category, because this is the home of Alexander J. “Alex” Brown (b 1954), a lobsterman, oysterman and fisherman; and of his wife, Joady A. Brown (b 1956), a supervisor.

Joady and her husband, who began his career as an oysterman off Long Island, bought 46 Franklin in 1992 from Sherman A. Merrill Jr., who’d owned it for nearly 30 years. An early convert to aquaculture, Brown was growing clams in the flats off the Provincetown Inn until a quahog parasite known enigmatically as “X” — QPX — devastated the beds in 1996. Brown kept hold of his grant and continued lobstering aboard his boat, the 23-foot Sea Star. He was one of the earlier members in the Provincetown Fisherman’s Association, or ProFish, which was formed in 2001 in an attempt to unify the often clamorous and conflicting clan.

46 Franklin Street, Provincetown (2012), by David W. Dunlap.In 2004, he reseeded the moribund grant area with oysters, which soon “started growing like a son of a bitch,” as he told Kevin Mullaney of The Banner. (Kevin Mullaney, “Provincetown Fisherman Wades Into World of Oyster Farming,” The Banner/Wicked Local, 23 July 2012.) Not, perhaps, the most objective of judges, Brown believed in 2012 that he had developed a winning oyster with a distinctive taste imparted from the sand of the West End flats. “It’s sweet and it’s briny,” he said. “The shells are immaculate. I may scrape some barnacles off of them, but you can shake them off over a white tablecloth and you won’t see anything.” Brown does business as Victory Fisheries, selling his product through Cape Tip, at 45A Court Street. Perhaps one day a tricolor oyster shell will join — or replace — the lobster.

Susan Leonard told me that the attic story of this house used boards that had come from the old salt works, evident because of the white streaking in the wood grain.

Assessor’s Online Database ¶ Posted 2012-12-29

One thought on “46 Franklin Street

  1. We traced the land records back to when John Burgess (Borges) bought the house from Benjamin Lancy in 1888. It was owned by the Burgess family — a/k/a “Joe Blocky” — then to his grandson Sherman Merrill Jr. whom we bought the house from back in 1992.

    The house has a very colorful history, especially during Prohibition, which was listed in a book called Colorful House of Provincetown’s Past. Built in 1850

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