347 Commercial Street

Bill Evaul Studios and Gallery

The building was constructed in the middle decades of the 19th century and was shown as a paint shop in 1858. In the early 20th century, the property was owned by Jeremiah Atwood Rich (d 1932), who conducted the J. A. Rich grocery store for 50 years. (“Funeral Is Held For Mrs. M. J. Rich,” The Advocate, 17 June 1937.)

Hong Ting Wong (b ±1898), the artist and restaurateur responsible for the Cape Cod Tea Garden, at 327 Commercial Street, and Wong’s Restaurant, at 334 Commercial Street, also operated Wong’s Cozy Den Coffee Shop in this building in the late 1930s, serving fried chicken, chicken chop suey and chicken chow mein.

The Silver Stream Chinese Hand Laundry operated at the same time from this address, charging 15 cents to launder and starch a man’s shirt. This was also the home, until his death, of William Nickerson Rogers (1907-1963), who served as the police chief of Provincetown from 1945 to 1960.

Beginning in 1945, this was home to Hand Industries, later known as the Rilleau Sandal Shop, a business begun in 1940 begun by Roger Rilleau (1909-1977) at 322 Commercial Street. Peggy Rilleau, his wife, also played a significant role as business partner.

Shortly after the store opened, The Advocate said glowingly that Rilleau, an “unusually talented wood sculptor,” was “already well-booked with orders for the hand-made sandals for which he is noted. He is planning to make other leather products — belts, pouches, purses, dog leashes and the like. Later he will add hand-weaving and pottery, and will also fashion masques of sheet lead. He plans to establish an all-year ’round hand-craft enterprise in Provincetown.” (“Craftsman Opens Unique Shop Here,” The Advocate, 12 July 1945.) The sandal shop ended up at 5 Allerton Street before Kim Rilleau, Roger’s son, moved the business to Woodstock, Vt. in 1997.

Tennessee Williams, by Bill Evaul.The retail space has been occupied by Thunder Road and Freak Street. Through 2011, it was Lola Love, the discount clothing arm of Ronald “Ronny” Hazel’s Shop Therapy retail complex, which was then across Commercial Street, at Nos. 344-346.

In June 2012, William “Bill” Evaul opened his studios and gallery here. “It is the home of the ‘Provincetown Print,’ or white-line woodcut,” he wrote in a comment in 2013. “I maintain a working studio where I demonstrate the woodcut technique that was invented in Provincetown in 1915. The gallery is open year-round.” ¶ Updated 2013-10-06

4 thoughts on “347 Commercial Street

  1. Since June 2012 through the present, 347 Commercial Street has been occupied by Bill Evaul Studios and Gallery. It is the home of the “Provincetown Print,” or white-line woodcut. I maintain a working studio where I demonstrate the woodcut technique that was invented in Provincetown in 1915. The gallery is open year-round.

    • Thank you for this update, Mr. Evaul. As you might have suspected, I wrote the entry before your studio and gallery opened, in December 2011. I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to catch up.

      • No worries. Your project is immense — I’m impressed with how much you have accomplished already. I’ll be searching my archives for other information and photos that may interest you. Thanks for your great work.

  2. I continue to be in awe of this tremendous undertaking and wonderful results of this great project!! Thank you!!
    In the 40’s and 50’s I my sister Robin and brother Kim lived on snd off in the room
    In the back of our parents leather shop. It was an exciting time- the shop like an artists salon in many was as customers sit around and socialize, often captivated by our fathers story telling abilities. It could take months for their sandals to be finished!!

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