606 Commercial Street

606 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

606 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

No ordinary neighborhood event would have warranted inclusion in Norman Mailer’s meditation Of a Fire on the Moon. But Daniel Banko had nothing ordinary in mind in 1969 when, at the suggestion of Jack Kearney, he decided to bury a “dead” Ford sedan in his own back yard. Three hundred people attended the well-lubricated happening, led by Heaton Vorse, on the banjo, and Victor Manso, reading from Virgil in Latin. Even with a backhoe, a sedan-sized pit proved impossible to dig, so the Ford was pushed in backwards and allowed to settle. Mailer: “A child reached in through the open window and turned a switch. The windshield wipers went on in a flick. ‘My God, it’s not dead yet,’ said a voice. But as if in a throe of its last effluents, the washers began to squirt a final lymph.” The half-buried car remained until 1995, Daniel Towler said, when it was “yanked out of its grave and scrapped.”

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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