524 Commercial Street

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

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

This was the birthplace in 1874 of Rear Adm. Donald Baxter MacMillan, who lived as an adult at No. 473, not far away. When he was 9 years old, his father, Capt. Neil MacMillan, and the entire crew of the schooner Abbie Brown perished in a gale off Newfoundland. That left Sarah Gardner MacMillan with five children to care for alone. Already in frail health, she died when “Donny Baxter” was 12. For a time, the boy was cared for by other seafaring families in town, but was finally sent to Freeport, Me., to live with an older sister. This may also have been where Marlon Brando stayed when he came to town to read for the part of Stanley Kowalski. At least, that’s what Grace Rutherford, who lived here, always insisted to Bill Evaul.

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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