564 Commercial Street

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

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

Though not as widely known today as they ought to be, the writers Susan Glaspell (winner of the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1931) and George Cram “Jig” Cook were the chief force behind the Provincetown Players, whose first production in 1915 was of their play, Suppressed Desires. They bought No. 564 in 1914 and engaged a singular interior designer: the celebrated painter Charles Demuth. “Jig had decided that the upstairs walls should be orange,” Linda Ben-Zvi wrote in Susan Glaspell: Her Life and Times. “Demuth agreed. ‘But the slope must be yellow,’ he insisted, referring to the special nature of the Cape Cod house, which had sharp angles in the upper story. ‘And the floor green,’ Jig added. ‘But the woodwork black.’” In the yard, Cook created a sundial atop four nude sculptures of Glaspell. It was in this house that the decision was made in 1916 to produce Bound East for Cardiff, by the young playwright Eugene O’Neill.

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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