Before Commercial Street, houses close to the water faced the water. No. 157 still does. Local lore holds that this three-quarter Cape dates to the mid-1700s, that it is haunted, and that fugitive slaves were hidden by abolitionists in a “snug harbor” cavity in the central chimney tower (pictured). In the 1930s, this was the Hatchway boarding house. Romain Roland and his wife, Eileen, renovated it in 1978 as the French restaurant Chez Romain, fondly remembered as one of the most sophisticated in town. It was succeeded in 1984 by Snug Harbor, a Creole-Cajun bistro run by Diane Corbo and Valerie Caranno. They sold it in 1991 to Glen and Gary Martin, who reopened it as the Martin House, specializing in New England fare. It closed in 2005. The property was acquired in 2010 by Kevin O’Shea and David Bowd, who rebuilt it as a private home while keeping many historical elements.
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.