John Francis, owner of Francis’s Flats and Sunbeam Cottage at No. 577 helped creative souls, Eugene O’Neill and Agnes Boulton included, by renting to them cheaply. Ceiling beams in the flat they occupied in 1919 are inscribed — perhaps in O’Neill’s hand — with lines evidently derived from the theosophist Mabel Collins:
Before the eyes can see, they must be incapable of tears!
Before the ear can hear, it must have lost it’s sensitiveness!
Before the voice can speak, it must have lost the power to wound!
Before the soul can fly, it’s wings must be washed in the blood of the heart!
The building was later called Garbage Gables, perhaps because of the refuse left by long weekends of partying. It was extensively renovated in the ‘70s. Bob Tieger was the architect.
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.