The antique dealer Austin Dunham (d 1967) had two houses in Provincetown: this one and a much better known residence — though no one has ever been inside its rooms — that sits under glass at the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum. In 1945, Dunham donated a doll house filled with miniature furniture he had been collecting to the Research Club’s Historical Museum at 230 Commercial. When that collection moved up to the Pilgrim Monument, the doll house was given a prominent spot in the gallery. At No. 436, Dunham operated the Sea Chest antiques shop in the 1920s and 30s, and also offered rooms to let.
In the 1940s and 50s, this was the summer home of Laura E. Stegner of Philadelphia, whose garden — as cultivated by Phil Alexander — was a real showplace. During the early months of World War II, when Britain was under relentless attack, Stegner prepared rooms in the house to receive two English boys, between 4 and 9 years old, who were to arrive aboard the City of Benares steamship as part of an official program to evacuate and relocate children. Five days out of Liverpool, the City of Benares was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat. Only 13 of the 90 children aboard survived.
The artist Ciriaco Cozzi, co-founder of Ciro & Sal’s, bought this property in the 1970s. Gallery Ciro operates on the ground floor.