195-199 Commercial Street

Pages 086-090 25

195-199 Commercial Street in 1890 (top), from “Provincetown, or Odds and Ends From the Tip End,” and in 2013 (bottom), by David W. Dunlap.

This important, astonishingly intact commercial building from 1845-46 looks largely as it did 125 years ago (top), when it was John Rich’s men’s emporium. It’s also significant as a wharf-head structure, though the Market Wharf behind it is long gone. On this site in 1945, William Hathaway built what may have been the first marine railway in town. The silversmith Ed Wiener was here in the 1940s; followed by Lamp Shades by Polly Allen; Josephine Del Deo’s Sea Weaves Shop; and the Circular Cellar, run by Frank Lee and Jim Simpson, copper-enamel artisans. Beginning in 1959, Lenore Ross ran the Plain & Fancy restaurant and Lobster Bar here. Other tenants included Richard Ecock’s Buttonwood clothing, Mazel Tov restaurant, and the No. 5 and Coffey Men men’s stores. The popular Café Heaven is here now, as is Melt, a bath product store.

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.

One thought on “195-199 Commercial Street

  1. Do you know when the condos were added to the back of the building? I’ve stayed in three or four of them over the years, starting in 1991, and I think that they’d been there for quite some time before that first visit almost 30 years ago.

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