7 Cottage Street

7 Cottage Street, Norse Wall House, by David W. Dunlap (2008).

7 Cottage Street, Norse Wall House, by David W. Dunlap (2008).

The Norse Wall House was run for years by Ruth Rogers, who co-owned the Gifford House. No one has seen the Norse wall since 1853, when excavation began here. “At the depth of five feet a wall of masonry was found about three feet in height,” Herman A. Jennings wrote in Provincetown or, Odds and Ends From the Tip End. “The theory has been advanced by scientific men that this was the camping-place of Old Thorwald.” That would be Thorvald Ericsson, who set out around 1004 to explore Vinland (America). His ship was driven ashore to a cape he called Kjalarnes, identified as Cape Cod by a Danish archaeologist in 1837. It’s not surprising that the discovery of the wall at caused excitement. If Provincetown could claim a visit by Thorvald six centuries before the Mayflower, who would care where the Pilgrims landed? Those arrivistes!


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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