Flyer’s Boatyard is still thriving because it adapted to the changing nature of boating in town, from subsistence industry to vacation-time recreation. Its founder, Francis “Flyer” Santos, was in the first class to graduate from the new high school building in 1932. He was apprenticed to “Ti Manuel” Furtado, whose boatyard was on the site of Union Wharf. In World War II, Santos worked on PT boats at the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company. He bought the site of the Puritan Cold Storage freezer, at this location, in 1949. Three years later, he built his first marine railway: tracks that run far enough into the water that a boat can be floated into a large cradle on the rails and hauled ashore. The area under the dock was the site of an illicit after-hours sex scene in the ’80s, until high-powered lights were installed. The yard, now called Flyer’s Boat Rentals, is run by Flyer’s son, Francis John “Grassy” Santos, and Grassy’s son, Noah.
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.