220 Commercial Street

220 Commercial Street as Harry Williard's Shoe Hospital (ca 1930), from the Provincetown History Preservation Project.

220 Commercial Street as Harry Williard’s Shoe Hospital (ca 1930), from the Provincetown History Preservation Project.

Wa garden at 220 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2012).

Wa garden at 220 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2012).

The Oldest Shop, built in 1799 and razed in 1966, can be thought of as Provincetown’s Penn Station; its demolition helped galvanize landmarks preservation. “There are still more than a few to be saved though they are fast disappearing,” The Advocate warned at the time. Over the years, tenants included Harry Williard’s Shoe Hospital; The Advocate, beginning in 1941; and the Etcetera Shop, owned by Judith Tobey and Roslyn Garfield, which opened in 1955 and was renamed Shirts Etcetera. Kurt and Irma Ruckstuhl — who ran the Old Village Store, Emporium, and Corner Gift Shop — operated Candlemakers here. The replacement building is home to the Q Store and, until 2015, Wa, which had a sweet little garden of Asian art (pictured).

Update | July 2015: Wa has been replaced by MAP, which moved here from 141 Commercial.


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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s