Most famously, this was Patrick’s News Store — or Newsstand or News Dealer — where out-of-town newspapers like The New York Times could be purchased; a commodity especially prized in the pre-Internet days by longterm visitors who wanted to keep up with events off Cape. (The actor Burgess Meredith was one such customer in 1957, during the period in which his career was crippled by the Hollywood blacklisting.) The business was founded by Joseph Patrick in the late 19th century, when it was chiefly a grocery and fruit store.
Arthur C. Patrick (±1897-1966), Joseph’s son with Matilda (Tarvis) Patrick, joined the business after serving in World War I. He lived above the store, which he managed until his death. “Everyone bought local and national newspapers at Patrick’s,” John Hardy Wright recalled in Images of America. Armand J. Benatti, who managed the store after Patrick, and his wife, Dulcie V. (Clarke) Benatti, were killed in a car crash in Yarmouth just before Christmas 1966.
Commercial tenants in recent years included the Small Temptations antique shop, Venture Athletics Outdoor Shop and P-town Pulp gift store, owned by Ron Henderson (1952-2009) and his husband, Paul Hempel. Henderson had been an AIDS activist in the Bay Area, according to an obituary in The Washington Blade. He moved to Washington in 2001 and opened a card and novelty store called Pulp, on 14th Street. In 2007, he came here and opened P-town Pulp. One of its signature items was the rubber duck, an icon of baby-boom nostalgia. After Henderson’s death, from liver cancer, Hempel kept the store going for another season and even moved it to a larger location. But he decided, in the end, that Pulp was his husband’s dream, and that he could not keep someone else’s dream alive. Hempel closed the business in 2010. (Pru Sowers, “Provincetown Novelty Shop Slated to Close Following Loss of Founder,” The Banner/Wicked Local, 5 October 2010.)
The current tenant is Drinkx Culture, established in 2010 by Licia Galinsky, which describes itself as being “devoted to the art of drinking and all its accoutrements,” with a “focus on the mid-century cocktail experience and esthetic.” That means glasses, shakers, bar sets, novelty items and drinking accessories.
On the east side of the building is a sign for Small’s Court, a private way. The current property map shows Small’s Court as being 17 feet wide and 116 feet long. The tiny street can be seen on the 1880 Barnstable County atlas, under the name of Mrs. F. Small. At its foot, on the opposite side of Commercial Street, was a small wharf owned by J. Small, Esq. (Clearly, this was once a small world.)