443-445 Commercial Street

 
Kiley Court Gallery

Eighty years ago or so, in the early 1930s, this was where Peter Hunt hung his shingle, before he became nationally renowned for his Peasant Village artisans’ complex on Kiley Court, beginning at 432 Commercial. Among the “recently acquired antiques” Hunt advertised in July 1932 were a small ship’s figurehead for $125, a Nailsea glass flask for $35, and a pink lustre teapot for $20.

Irving Sametz and his wife, Rachel Ashley Sametz, of Westport, Conn., ran the place in the 1950s as the Ashley Shop, selling art, crafts, toys and gifts, as well as Peter Hunt Christmas cards.

It is now the Kiley Court Gallery, which was founded in 1991 and is run by Barbara Tucker Cardinal. Her maternal grandfather was Benjamin Sonnenberg, who is often credited (if that’s the right word) with being the father of public relations. Sonnenberg kept a fabled townhouse on Gramercy Park in Manhattan and didn’t too badly for himself here in town, either, at 566 Commercial Street. Cardinal’s husband, Robert Cardinal, is a painter with a studio in North Truro. He, too, shows at Kiley Court. The gallery briefly had a West End annex, in the old First National Savings Bank building at 170 Commercial.


 

 

 

 


3 thoughts on “443-445 Commercial Street

  1. I lived on the top floor of 443-445 more than 35 years ago when I first moved to Provincetown. It amazed me that I ended up in that building. In the ’40s and ’50s, I spent my summers in the apartment behind the gallery, then called the Christmas Shop.

    My father, Joe Pelkey, worked for Peter [Hunt] every summer, running the shop. The four of us and a dog lived in a one-room studio behind the shop. We were next door to Duncan’s Sandal Shop. At some point in their creation, they were set out on the bulkhead. I believe Norman Mailer lived in that third floor apartment before me.

  2. [ In the late 70s, 443-445 was owned by soap opera actor Ray McDonnell. He appeared on All My Children from 1970 to 2011. His daughter Sarah appears on the cover of Joel Meyerowitz book Redheads. As Alice comments above it was her summer childhood residence. She resumed residence in 1979,moving from the Berkshires, renting the top floor from MacDonnell and remained there for several years before purchasing 69 Commercial in 1982. I lived with her here for a while. ]
    She said recently of her childhood ” I am not sure when Joe met Peter but they were both flamboyant and enjoyed each others company. Joe worked for him running the Christmas Shop, 1st floor front of 443, every Summer from the late 40’s…47? Behind the shop was a large one room apartment with a big bow window that looked out on the bay. We all lived in that room. I got to have a deep narrow closet as my bedroom. Peter and his Mother lived in the middle apartment and on the top floor was a very attractive couple. I think the guy was named Barry Baruch. His wife, who Joe had an affair with was named Frieda Diamond. Mary called her Frieda Rhinestone…but they were friends of sorts. Frieda was a tall willowy woman, quite stylish. I think Barry had the $.”
    In the early 80s two wonderfully handsome fellows from New York ran a gallery in the front and lived in the back as Alice describes, where Kiley Court Gallery is now. Their names were Sam and Calvin. I can’t remember their surnames or the name of the gallery. I guess they were just too distracting, plus they were very nice guys. Maybe someone else knows of them. This was a wonderful neighborhood to be in my first years in Provincetown.

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