219 Commercial Street

219 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

219 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

The Classical Revival-style Post Office was once Provincetown’s great public meeting ground. Construction began in the Great Depression (under the Hoover administration, not the New Deal). The supervising architect credited on the 1932 cornerstone, James A. Wetmore, was in charge of the Treasury Department’s building program. The Post Office moved here from cramped quarters at 255-257 Commercial. In March 1949, the town’s well-respected postmaster, William Cabral, accidentally shot and killed James “Young Jimmy Peek” Souza, a rambunctious youth whom Cabral was trying to frighten with his Army revolver. The extent of Cabral’s moral culpability pitted citizen against citizen. Though memories have softened, the Post Office still bears a scar: a dent in the steel parcel-post counter from which the bullet ricocheted toward its unintended mark.

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.

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