Forget Town Hall. The locus of power in town was once here, at the Walter Welsh Council of the Knights of Columbus. Their emergence was in part a response to cross burnings staged against Roman Catholics in the 1920s by the local Ku Klux Klan; an episode so unhappily emblematic of the rift between Yankees and Portuguese — and so likely to offend living descendants — that it is still discussed in lowered voices. The council was organized in 1923 by Judge Walter Welsh and others. The Portuguese became a potent force. Critical to this was the St. Peter’s Club, the political arm of the Knights, whose members dominated local elections beginning in 1925. Storefront tenants have included Stormy Harbor Café, Himalayan Handicrafts, Shor, Ball, Cape Cod Gourmet, Hocus Pocus, and the Julie Tremblay 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.