† 397 Commercial Street

 
Cape Cod School of Art

An intriguing discovery on a 1919 street atlas from John G. Edwards is that the small building on the site of what is now the Ernden Fine Art Gallery was identified as the “Cap[e] Cod School of Art.” This corresponds neatly with a caption in the Scrapbooks of Althea Boxell (Book 6, Page 5): “The beginning of the Hawthorne art class. About 1900. On beach, just below Lizzie’s shop” — a reference to Lizzie Livingston’s Candy Shop at 409 Commercial Street.

An immediate, but perhaps mistaken, inference is that for a time, Hawthorne maintained a shed on the beach (where supplies could be stored?) and would give his plein air instruction nearby. This doesn’t necessarily jibe with Houghton Cranford Smith’s account of being a monitor for Hawthorne (“I would pose the model on a sandy beach or on the end of a wharf then tell Hawthorne where he could find us when he came to give us an outdoor criticism”). But it’s definitely worth pursuing.

Between the late 1930s and late 1940s, this was the • H. N. Campbell Artist’s Materials and Supplies store, • Home Bake Shop, • Harry Engel Art School, and • Misses Sew & Sew clothing store. Preston Grant “Pat” Hall (1908-1991) and his wife, Mary Cross (Maria da Cruz) Hall bought the property in 1946. Soon thereafter, they opened the Gift Box. Their deaughter, Elena Curtis Hall, still owns No. 397.


 

 

 


One thought on “† 397 Commercial Street

  1. “An immediate, but perhaps mistaken, inference is that for a time, Hawthorne maintained a shed on the beach (where supplies could be stored?) and would give his plein air instruction nearby. This doesn’t necessarily jibe with Houghton Cranford Smith’s account of being a monitor for Hawthorne (“I would pose the model on a sandy beach or on the end of a wharf then tell Hawthorne where he could find us when he came to give us an outdoor criticism”). But it’s definitely worth pursuing.”

    Nor does it contradict Houghton Cranford Smith’s account. Sal del Deo recalls that, during his time as a class monitor for Henry Hensche, the Cape School of Art made use of the building at the back of Elena Hall’s parking lot (beside the beach).

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