5 Cudworth Street

5 Cudworth Street, by David W. Dunlap (2011).

5 Cudworth Street, by David W. Dunlap (2011).

I mean this as a compliment: this is one of the oddest buildings in town. The older portion was reputedly a carriage house for the nearby Gifford House, said Ruth Gilbert, a leading real-estate broker. By the 1970s, it had become a funky summer cottage. Then it was transformed with a do-it-yourself, two-story addition by Paul Schneider, a co-founder of Spiritus Pizza, whose artwork can be seen in Bubala’s by the Bay. Most of the living room’s south-facing facade was covered in translucent plexiglass, behind which was a gallery of water-filled plastic cylinders that Gilbert likened to Sonotube concrete forms. The water was supposed to absorb heat on sunny days and radiate it at other times. “All it did, in actuality, was grow algae in the tubes,” said Gilbert, who owned the property from 1985 to 1994. But, she added fondly, “The house always had a great vibe.” It still does. If only plexiglass walls could talk. (Or retain heat.)

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.

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