252 Commercial Street

252 Commercial Street, Adams Pharmacy, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

252 Commercial Street, Adams Pharmacy, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

Norman Cook Jr., courtesy of the Provincetown History Preservation Project.

Norman Cook Jr., courtesy of the Provincetown History Preservation Project.

Nancy (Salvador) Stefani at Adams General Store, by David W. Dunlap (2013).

Nancy (Salvador) Stefani at Adams General Store, by David W. Dunlap (2013).

You can’t fill a prescription at Adams General Store, but to many, this is still “Adams Pharmacy,” as it was from 1875 until 2009; the oldest business in continuous operation at one location — and a nexus of civic life. The town’s first telephone switchboard was here and so, until 2003, was a soda fountain. The Greek Revival-style main building is from around 1850. Dr. John Crocker started the pharmacy, succeeded by John Darrow Adams. He passed it to his daughter, Jennie (Adams) Cook, who passed it to her son, Norman Cook Jr., whose widow, Dorothy “Dot” Cook, sold it in 1989 to Vincent Duarte. Nancy (Salvador) Stefani is a welcome face at the counter. The whimsical mural map (pictured) is by Nancy Whorf.


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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