501-503 Commercial Street

501-503 Commercial Street, Consolidated Weir Company cold storage, courtesy of the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum.

501-503 Commercial Street, Consolidated Weir Company cold storage, courtesy of the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum.

Unlovely, ungainly, but undeniably important, the Ice House Condominium is the only one remaining of seven industrial cold storage plants that once dwarfed the waterfront. William Atwood opened the Consolidated Weir Company in 1900 and, in 1907, built this five-story fish freezer. After the company went bankrupt in 1938, it was acquired by Atlantic Coast Fisheries. In the 1950s, it was used for ice cubes and cranberry storage. The machine shop was moved to 11 Howland. Gary and Molly Ross acquired it in 1964 with a view toward residential conversion, a contentious process that took nearly 20 years. The poignant story of a giant finback that washed up here was rendered in a 1974 children’s book, When the Whale Came to My Town, by Jim Young.

501-503 Commercial Street, Ice House Condominium, with the Schoolhouse Center, the Captain's House, and Pat de Groot's home and  studio, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

501-503 Commercial Street, Ice House Condominium, with the Schoolhouse Center, the Captain’s House, and Pat de Groot’s home and studio, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

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