229R Commercial Street

229R Commercial Street, Lancy's Wharf, by David W. Dunlap (2011).

229R Commercial Street, Lancy’s Wharf, by David W. Dunlap (2011).

Howard Mitcham, by Joel Grozier.

Howard Mitcham, by Joel Grozier.

Though it is a wreck, Benjamin Lancy’s Wharf, built around 1850, is recognizable as the major pier it once was. It even had a role in a 1947 movie, Daisy Kenyon. Joan Crawford and Henry Fonda filmed a scene on it (or at least a rear projection of it). Lancy’s house, No. 230, is in line with the pile field. At the head of the wharf is the former Old Reliable Fish House — the province of Howard Mitcham, perhaps the town’s most colorful chef and, in the ’70s, its best known. He had no use for culinary airs. He was a passionate advocate of seafood and of Portuguese cooking, and did much to keep these staples on the town menu when other restaurateurs started catering to summer people seeking more cosmopolitan fare. His Provincetown Seafood Cookbook of 1975 is an absorbing history that can be consumed even if you plan to get nowhere near a shucking or filleting knife.

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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