† 221-223 Commercial Street

Charles Nickerson Wharf

This exceptional photograph was taken some time between 1870 (when King Hiram’s Lodge was built) and 1877 (when the first Town Hall, on the hilltop in the distance) burned down. It shows the flake yard — smack dab in the heart of town — at the head of the Charles Nickerson Wharf; filled with rank after rank of cod-drying racks, known as fish flakes. In his three-part series on the wharves of Provincetown, Irving S. Rogers said that the 400-foot Nickerson wharf was “quite important as an unloading and flaking wharf for the codfishing vessels.” (“Puffs and Pot Shots,” The Advocate, 16 October 1941.) This yard would later be the apron in front of the Cape Cod Garage. It is where the Seamen’s Bank stands now. If King Hiram’s Lodge doesn’t look quite right to you, it may be because it was formerly three stories tall.

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