Prudent Provincetown. Why have three buildings for three functions? In 1873, as a gift to the town, Nathan Freeman built an excellent Second Empire-style home for the Public Library (first floor), a Y.M.C.A. (second floor), and a photo studio used by William May Smith (third floor). The library’s most colorful steward was Abbie Cook Putnam. For having battled Eugene O’Neill, she found herself the namesake of an adulterous character who kills her own child in Desire Under the Elms. The library was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. Two years later, under Alice O’Grady Joseph, it was extensively renovated. But it soon grew cramped again. Not without controversy, the library moved in 2005 to the former Heritage Museum at 356 Commercial. Today, as the Freeman Building, No. 330 houses Provincetown Community Television (PTV) and the Provincetown Tourism Office. It is a multipurpose building again.
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.