892 Commercial Street

 
Beach Point Village Condominium

“Miss Pearl Sawyer and her brothers, Carl and Warren Sawyer, of Medford, are at their Beach Point Village for the summer.” From the 1940s through the 1960s, notices like this could be found in The Advocate every spring. The Sawyers were as dependable as the tides. And every fall, just as surely, the three siblings were reported as closing up their cottage colony at 892 Commercial and returning to Medford for the winter. The property was subsequently owned by Frank M. Tortora, who seems to have sponsored its 1983 condo conversion.

The Sawyer siblings had grown up spending their summers in Provincetown and so felt especially attached to the place. Their parents were Carl F. Sawyer and Warrentina Freeman (Lincoln) Sawyer (± 1875-1944), who was credited with having helped develop Beach Point Village. Their brother Harold, a bass viol player who broadcast on radio station WEEI in Boston, died suddenly in the studio in September 1950 moments before he was to go on air in “Carl Moore’s Beantown Varieties.”

 

Warren F. Sawyer (1904-1977) was the most prominent of the surviving trio. A 1925 graduate of the Massachusetts Normal Art School (now the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, or MassArt), Sawyer was an architect, painter, draftsman and, in his spare time, a restorer of old organs. In the 1950s, he gave much time and thought to improving the visitor’s experience of central Provincetown which — in that era — meant accommodating the automobile above all else. Sawyer’s plan for a large central parking area between Town Wharf (now MacMillan Pier) and Sklaroff’s Wharf (now Fisherman’s, or Cabral’s), published on the front page of The Advocate on 16 December 1954, looks very much like the scheme that was ultimately adapted, for better or worse.

Pearl M. Sawyer managed Beach Point Village. Like her brother Warren, she was very engaged in civic affairs. She championed better bus service, more public toilets and a greater engagement among town officials with the needs of Beach Point. No matter how connected the Sayers were to Provincetown, however, they would retire every autumn to Medford. In those days, “the season” was pretty much defined by the weather, particularly in unwinterized cabins like those at Beach Point Village. Miss Sawyer was tenacious, though, and made it her business to stay open each year “until we can see the cat’s breath.”

One of the cabins, all of 156 square feet, was on the market in 2012, through Kinlin Grover Real Estate.

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