Union Square |Thanassi Gallery | Vasso’s Jewelry
The main house at 234 Commercial Street was once the residence of Dr. Clarence P. and Clio (Hull) Curley. He also owned the garage at 225 Commercial. It was built around 1870 in the Second Empire style, while the two-story pavilion in the rear yard was built around 1980. What is missing now is the small Greek Revival store that used to stand in the front yard. The structure was moved to 289 Branford Street, where it stands now. The Union Square complex suffered serious damage in 1976 from a fire set by an arsonist.
It was being used as a storehouse. “The whole thing was filled with candles,” Moe Van Dereck, the fire chief, later recalled. “When it got going, it was such a fire. The danger was catching the church on fire.” (Quoted in The Banner.)
Over the years, 234 Commercial has had many tenants, among them: a branch of Austin of Wellfleet, “the Outer Cape Florist,” managed by George Frechette (1930s); Dr. Thomas F. Perry (1940s); Barrett’s, “mouth-watering home-made fudge” (1960s); Gary Milek and Robert Olmstead, wood carvers, whom Susan Leonard may be remembering when she thinks of the Easter Island-inspired tiki pendants that used to be carved here (1960s); the Cape Rock Shop, “not affiliated with any other rock shop in Provincetown” (1960s); the Jolly Roger gift shop (1960s); Far Out (1960s, presumably); Bear Facts (1980s); the artist Richard Pepitone; the Cortile Gallery, which has since moved next door to 230 Commercial Street; and the Galería Cubana, which has since moved to 357 Commercial Street.
The property has been owned since 2003 by Maria Kuliopulos. Current tenants include the Thanassi Gallery, which shows the work of Thanassi Kuliopulos, as well as some of the beter known Provincetown artists; and Vasso’s Jewelry, which carries the work of Vasso Trellis and others.