551 Commercial Street

551 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

551 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

Even newcomers know within days that Eugene O’Neill and Tennessee Williams spent time in Provincetown. I’m mystified why it’s not better known that this was also the summer home of Abe Burrows, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, lyricist and director. Guys and Dolls and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying have probably been seen by as many people as most O’Neill or Williams plays. Moreover, Burrows played an active role in local life in the 1950s and ’60s. This had been the home of Burt Paige, the proprietor with his brother William of the Paige Brothers Garage, 205-209 Commercial. Burrows and his wife, Carin, bought the property in 1958. He created a happy sensation that year by serving as M.C. and chief entertainer for the annual Provincetown Art Association ball.

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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