945 Commercial Street

Oceanside Condominiums

O.K., so here we are, nearly at the end of Commercial Street. No more surprises, right? Wrong. Listen, pal, how many times have I got to tell you? Provincetown never runs out of surprises. So what’s the big deal with this condo complex; the one that — no offense meant — resembles Army barracks, at least from the outside?

Over the years, it’s been a regular trophy case of top sports figures, like Leonard J. “Len” Elmore (b 1952), a commentator and analyst who’s appeared on ESPN, CBS and ABC; a former New York Knick, New Jersey Net, Milwaukee Buck, Kansas City King and Indiana Pacer; honored as one of the 50 greatest basketball players in Atlantic Coast Conference history. (Did I mention that he’s a lawyer, too, with a degree from Harvard?)

And like Gerald M. “Cheesy” Cheevers (b 1940), a goalie who was “the backbone of the offensively talented Boston Bruins that won the Stanley Cup in 1970 and 1972,” says his Hockey Hall of Fame biography (he was inducted in 1985). And John A. “Pie” McKenzie (b 1937), who also played two Stanley Cup championship seasons for the Bruins. And Lawrence W. Pleau (b 1947), who played for Team USA at the 1968 Winter Olympics and coached the Hartford Whalers at the beginning and end of the 1980s.

Dale Ann Clark, who filled me in on this history in 2010, said that Oceanside — constructed in 1975 — was the first Provincetown condominium to be built as such, rather than being converted. “The Oceanside buildings were originally made of ‘barnboard,’ which began to separate and cause major leaking in the units,” she said, “so later on, the Nickerson family changed all 10 buildings to cedar shingles.” If its dense and austere style brings the Bay Colony condos at 690 Commercial to mind, this is no coincidence. Clark told me they were built by the same developer.


 

 

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