406 Commercial Street

Coldwell Banker Pat Shultz Real Estate

This building’s greatest interest is in its association with Patricia (Ratcliff) “Pat” Shultz (1929-2008), one of the great moving forces in late 20th-century Provincetown. Her firm, now a franchisee in the national Coldwell Banker system, still operates from the space where she did business in the 1970s. Though Shultz was a formidable dealer in real estate, however, she is remembered for wearing many hats — “in a very big way,” as The Banner said in its elegaic editorial.

“Together with her partner of more than 40 years and then wife (since June 2007), Lenore Ross, Pat was a major supporter of … the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, in particular, along with Outer Cape Health Services, the AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod and many others,” The Banner said. “She also led the drive to rewrite the town’s charter, and who can forget her voice — usually starting with, ‘You people’ — at Town Meeting.”

Shultz arrived in Provincetown in 1954, worked as a summer cook at Howard Johnson’s — now Michael Shay’s, 350 Bradford Street — and, for the first time in her life, “saw gay people openly accepted on the streets,” as Karen Christel Krahulik recounted in Provincetown: From Pilgrim Landing to Gay Resort (2005). “In 1959, Ross opened Provincetown’s first openly gay-owned restaurant, the Plain & Fancy [at 334 Commercial Street], and soon hired Shultz. After several profitable seasons, they bought a number of older homes each fall, renovated them during the winter, and then rented them out in the spring and summer.” From these projects emerged Patricia Shultz Associates, which included Hazel Warner. For a time in the early 1990s, No. 406 was also the home to Provincetown Positive/P.W.A. Coalition, a support group and drop-in center.

As a broker, Shultz could be imposing. When Joy McNulty was looking to buy a restaurant, for instance, Shultz steered her to the Lobster Pot at 321 Commercial Street — even though McNulty had something else in mind. “That’s your new restaurant,” Shultz said. And it was. “She sold me and everybody I know our homes,” McNulty said. “No one could live or work anywhere without Pat in those days. She was very wise and very patient with people who wanted to buy. If it was your dream, she found a way to make it happen.”

Chris McCarthy, executive director of the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, gave Shultz a lot of the credit for making possible the new building. It is not named after Shultz, however. It is named after Ross’s brother, the artist Arthur Ross. “She was a woman who always made a difference without ever needing to call attention to herself or her own actions,” Sue Harrison wrote in The Banner of 14 August 2008. “Not that she was shy. If Pat had something to say, she said it, though never with unkindness.”

The associates in the Pat Shultz office at the time of her death were Susan Davis, Bill Dougal, Meg Stewart, Jim Sheehan, Mike Minore, Joe DeMartino, Gabby Hanna, Robert Pierazek and Rebecca Matarazzi.


 

 


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