† 300 Commercial Street

One of the best-known photographs of a town in thrall to the fishery was this view, taken around 1880, showing a handsome home surrounded by fish-drying racks known as flakes. I believe this house stood on the lot of what is now the Mayflower Café, based on its description by Althea Boxell as Elisha Tilson’s house, located up Small’s Court and behind Lewis’s New York Store. To judge from a mid-1960s aerial photograph, the Tilson house was still standing, though completely hidden by the restaurant. It just may be that the Cape house on the left is the Moffett House and the hip-roofed building with a central chimney behind the Tilson house is what is now the Secret Garden Inn.

One thought on “† 300 Commercial Street

  1. The house directly behind it and similar to it architecturally is indeed the Secret Garden Inn. To the extreme left in this photo (roofline only showing) is the three-quarter Cape today (2014) known as the Moffet House guest cottage.

    You’re correct in assuming that the Mayflower Café was responsible for the demolition of the most prominent house in this stereoscopic view. This, in my opinion, was an irreplaceable loss the town. The front-most Tilson House was razed to make way for a small ranch style 1960s house which was constructed very near to the lane called Small’s Court.

    I can assure you without equivocation that the Moffett Guest House is the building visible only in its roofline to the far left facing the photo. I’ve paced it out, since I own a copy of this stereoscopic view.

    Too, from what I can tell, the wonderful three-quarter or full Cape to the right (12-over-12 sash), facing the photograph, is also long gone. The space it occupied now constitutes some of the parking area for the Secret Garden Inn; its former location now a blank, sterile asphalt parking lot.

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