160 Commercial Street

 
Grozier-Cabral House
With its elaborate octagonal lantern top and ample front yard, the Grozier House is one of the largest and most distinctive homes in town. It was built around 1830 by Capt. John Atkins to command a view of the back shore. When the captain’s wife saw her husband’s vessel on the horizon, she would place a lantern in the tower to let everyone know of its approach. In the late 1800s, it was occupied by William A. Atkins (d 1897), identified as the wealthiest man in town, who had made his fortune from whaling.

The property is best known as the Grozier House, named for Edwin and Alice Grozier, who occupied it in the early 20th century (when it was denominated 157 Commercial Street), having bought it from the Atkins family. The Groziers were majority stockholders in The Boston Post. Though the paper is long since gone, many towns around Massachusetts — including Provincetown — continue to award The Boston Post Cane to the oldest citizen. It was one of the canniest newspaper publicity schemes ever devised. It was certainly the caniest.

The Groziers assembled numerous properties around their home, including the Central Wharf, into an area known as Grozier Park, which was “outfitted with park benches, walks and cast-iron urns with flowers.” Edwin Grozier died in 1924, his wife in 1943. They are buried in what may be the most elegant mausoleum in the Town Cemetery.

By all rights, the property should today be known as the Cabral House, after Reginald W. “Reggie” Cabral (d 1996), the son of a Portuguese fisherman who became a local legend as the owner and proprietor of the Atlantic House, and as an art collector, philanthropist and town historian. He and his wife Meara moved into the house in 1963 and almost immediately illuminated that huge rooftop lantern, telling The Advocate that “nothing can stop them from keeping the dome lighted.”

In the 1960s, on the waterfront property that had been Grozier Park, Cabral developed the Boatslip Resort, 161 Commercial Street. A protracted legal battle between his daughters, Jennifer Cabral and April Cabral Pitzner, ended in a settlement in 2007 under which Jennifer took possession of the house. (Pru Sowers, “House Full of History Comes Back to Life,” The Banner, 14 June 2007.)


 

 

 

 

 


7 thoughts on “160 Commercial Street

  1. My whaling research has uncovered a few more details about this magnificent house. It was built by Captain Joseph Atkins (1766-1851), who built Central Wharf opposite the house c. 1839. The house passed to Joseph’s son, William A. Atkins (1818-1897) who, indeed, made his fortune in whaling as a principal in the Central Wharf Company. William A. Atkins married (for the second time) to Jane Freeman Grozier (1819-1886). Her brother, Captain Joshua Freeman Grozier (1825-1883), was the father of Edwin Atkins Grozier, owner of the Boston Post who, interestingly, was born at sea in 1859 aboard his father’s clipper ship.

  2. We had a lot of good times. I think of the Cabral sisters. The rock we listened to was fresh.

  3. Ms Avalas freshman Spanish class
    Ptown High.under the shadow of the pilgrim monument

  4. As a guest of Kathryn Feguson Menangas. In high school andafter, i spent inredibly good times. Her father was an author at athens OH college,moved to 138 Commercial Street, fabulous, 3 doors dwn from Reggie Cabrals, hung with David Nicholson at the boatslip, STAYED at the B.,166, went to Ciro & Sals and the Mayflower Restaurant. The Turner brothers from the candy co. we dove for coins off the wharf. The most hansdome portugese fishermans sons. All nice guys. And we surfed all the beaches. It didnt get any better, but we hadour hearts broken. Moj Ransom

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