12 Center Street

12 Center Street, Tucker Inn, by David W. Dunlap (2014).

12 Center Street, Tucker Inn, by David W. Dunlap (2014).

Howard Burchman, who runs the Tucker Inn with his partner, Thomas Kinard, believes he may have been imprinted with the innkeeping gene. “I was conceived while my parents were running a small hotel in the Catskills,” he said. The mansard-roofed house, in the Second Empire style, was constructed in 1872. By 1910, it was home to the Bowley family, which produced George Bowley, a superintendent in the Life-Saving Service and Rear Adm. Clarence Matheson Bowley, a decorated World War II hero. Admiral Bowley sold the property in 1974. It was later run by Linda Allen and Roger Allen, as the Twelve Center Guest House.

Denise Karas and her wife Katherine L. Bishop owned the property from 1995 to 1998. “We are the ones who named it the Tucker Inn and designed the sign and the stained-glass doors,” Karas told me in 2017. “We redesigned the entire house and added bathrooms and other amenities. We were also members of the Women Innkeepers [of Provincetown] group that organized Women’s Week.” So what does “Tucker” have to do with Karas and Bishop? “We made up the name of Captain Miles B. Tucker, who advanced from a cabin boy to captain without anyone suspecting that he was a she. When ‘he’ got into ports of call, all the women from the town would descend upon the ship to welcome ‘him’ and have a lovely ‘tea dance’ in her honor!” Provincetown innkeepers probably have racier anecdotes to tell than their counterparts in other small towns. “One of our funniest ones was the day we went in to freshen a guest room and tried to push in a drawer only to have the drawer front fall off,” Karas recalled. “In our attempt to secure it, we exposed a drawer full of feather boas, masks, whips and toys.  The women who were in this room were in their 60s and looked like two nuns. Kathy kept whispering, ‘Don’t touch anything!'”

The next owners, from 1998 to 2001, were Emily Flax and Carol Lynn Neal. Burchman, a human services consultant to government and nonprofit organizations who also managed the Ranch Guestlodge, took over in 2001.

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.

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