490 Commercial Street

490 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2011).

490 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2011).

In English, jot is derived from iota — meaning the smallest bit. In Provincetown, Iota is derived from Jot — meaning Jonathan ”Jot” Small, boatbuilder extraordinaire, Arctic traveler, and, for a time in the 1930s, proprietor of a restaurant called Jot’s Galley here at 490 Commercial. “Little, compact, full of New England tang, Jot Small might well be carved of a knee of fine hardwood such as is used in the construction of vessels,” Mary Heaton Vorse wrote in Time and the Town. Jot’s Galley was followed in the 1940s by Manuel Francis “Pat” Patrick’s Iota Package Store. This is now Iota Cottage, a unit of the BayShore condominium complex, developed and now managed by Harriet Gordon and Ann Maguire.

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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