230 Commercial Street

230 Commercial Street (ca 1923), courtesy of the Provincetown History Preservation Project.

230 Commercial Street (ca 1923), courtesy of the Provincetown History Preservation Project.

Opposite Lancy’s Wharf is a Second Empire-style mansion built in 1874 for Benjamin Lancy, a merchant and ship owner. (He is said to have kept his dead mother in her bedroom for three months in 1896 rather than try to bury her in winter.) After he died in 1923, the building was acquired by the Research Club for use as the Historical Museum, to which Rear Adm. Donald MacMillan contributed many Arctic artifacts. In 1961, the collection was moved uphill as the Provincetown Museum at the Pilgrim Monument. Howard Gruber opened the restaurant Front Street, a fixture on the social scene, in 1973. He died of AIDS in 1993. It is now owned and run by Donna Aliperti. Current tenants of the commercial annex include Sol Optics and the Cortile Gallery.


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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