As you approach the Turn in Commercial Street, you may think you’re being watched. You are. The artist John Dowd has placed a bust of Shakespeare in a second-floor window, from which the bard casts his eye over the West End Rialto. The house, which dates to about 1840, was a favorite of postcard publishers, given its picturesque situation. Capt. John Taves of the dragger Lucy F. lived here with his wife, Mary (Cabral) Taves. He perished in 1940 when the boat was caught in a blizzard. Dowd, probably the town’s best known contemporary painter and the chairman of the Historic District Commission, bought the house in 1994. His passion for architecture and Cape light is evident in townscapes that impart nobility and gravity to the built environment. In “Tides of Provincetown,” a sweeping 2011 exhibition about the art colony, he was represented as artist and collector.
More than 2,000 buildings and vessels are searchable on buildingprovincetown.com. The Building Provincetown book is available for purchase ($20) at Town Hall, Office of the Town Clerk, 260 Commercial Street, Provincetown 02657.