With a pier stretching a quarter mile into the sea, the Coast Guard’s Station Provincetown is a most imposing federal presence. It opened in 1979, replacing and consolidating seven boat stations that had originated with the Life-Saving Service, precursor of the Coast Guard. Its area of operation embraces 1,200 square miles of bay and ocean, plus the Long Point, Race Point, Wood End, and Highland Lights. Station Provincetown is said to have been the first federal building to use solar power. It is on the site of the Cape Cod Cold Storage Company fish-freezing plant and Freeman’s Wharf, whose pile field parallels the pier. The plant, built in 1912, dominated West End life for decades. At mid-century, it was the main freezer of the Atlantic Coast Fisheries Corporation.
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.