290 Commercial Street

Former First National Bank of Provincetown | Puzzle Me This

With its second-story pilasters supporting a proudly monumental pediment, 290 Commercial Street certainly looks at first glance like something more than your ordinary retail building. (Never mind the current hot-pink paint job.) Indeed it was: the First National Bank of Provincetown. The original structure, whose extent can be discerned from the bracketed portion of the side eaves, was constructed in 1854. Eugene O’Neill was among the bank’s customers, and his signature card survives. In 1921, the first floor of the structure was extended across the front lawn and up to the sidewalk line. The upper two floors were extended later. The bank remained here until 1950, when it opened its new headquarters at 170 Commercial Street.

John G. Edwards, who owns and lives in the building today, says in the comment below that the building was sold to the family of Judge Welsh, which also owned No. 294 and No. 296 at the time; then to Abe James, whose shop was “famous for straw bags and other tourist items hanging from the brick columns outside the store.” Edwards opened Pier Cargo in 1971 and ran it for 31 years, until 2001, when he leased the retail space to Puzzle Me This.

[Updated 2012-01-09]









3 thoughts on “290 Commercial Street

  1. I’m pretty sure this was built in 1854. See the small book “One Hundred Years of Growing With provincetown”.

  2. Denise is correct. The Bank was built in 1854. One of the first commercial banks in the U.S. Board of directors’ names are all over town as street names.

    It was extended forward in 1921; first floor only. The upper two floors were added later. In 1950, the bank moved to a new structure where the Centenary Church was torn down. The building was sold to yhe Judge Welch family, who also owned 294 Commercial and 296 Commercial at that time.

    It was sold to Abe James, who ran a summer-only shop until 1970; famous for straw bags and other tourist items hanging from the brick columns outside the store. In 1971, we opened Pier Cargo, which I ran from 1971 to 2001. In 2001, I rented the store to Puzzle Me This. I still live in the upper two floors.

  3. The address 292 Commercial Street at one time had a small building. It is now a driveway between 290 Commercial Street and 294 Commercial Street.

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