251-253 Commercial Street

Shalom’s Gift Shop

One of the most important surviving 19th-century commercial properties, this long, two-story structure — built before 1858 — was known at one time as the Wharf Head Building, as it was owned by A. Young and stood at the head of Young’s Wharf (later Charley Cook’s Wharf). It was the location of the town’s first telegraph office and the Nautilus Club met for a time on the second floor.

By 1889, it housed a jewelry shop and a bakery, operated in turn by N. H. Drie and Joshua A. T. Small. The business was at one time known as Joshua Small’s Bakery and at another as the Provincetown Bakery. As Burch’s Bakery it endured well into the 20th century. (“To Fellows and Friends Afar and Abroad,” The Advocate, 3 November 1960.) In 1960, Sam Shalom purchased the property. The Advocate soon reported that he was tearing out the old bakery, presumably to make way for a linen shop. (“To Fellows and Friends Afar and Abroad,” The Advocate, 3 November 1960.)

Gone, completely, is the huge oven which was rarely extinguished during the long tenure of the late Charlie Burch, who was baker for the town, turning out many thousands of pies and countless cookies and rolls.

More than a half-century later, Shalom’s is still in business, now as a T-shirt and souvenir shop. Title to the property has been held since 2003 by Louise Shalom. The family also owns the adjacent building at Nos. 255-257. Together, Tom Boland wrote, they serve as “unaltered examples of early ‘head of the wharf’ buildings in Provincetown. Although the wharf is now gone, they do well to create an idea of the town’s maritime history.”








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