Understated and off the aesthetic radar screen, 225 Commercial Street exemplifies the versatility of old utilitarian waterfront buildings that adapt themselves constantly — and with remarkable success — to the many tenants who pass through their timber frames. This particular structure was built around 1900, according to the Historic District Survey, and has served as a garage, a clubhouse, a florist, a gift shop, a record store, a cheese market and a restaurant; as well as a residence.
Its formal name, at least in the 1920s and 1930s, was Adams’ Garage. As part of the Colonial Station chain, Adams’ was a dealer in the products of Esso, Standard Oil of New Jersey, the corporate predecessor of Exxon. But that is not how the people of Provincetown knew this building. They called it Dr. Curley’s garage after its one-time owner, Dr. Clarence P. Curley (±1868-1953), a physician who lived close by, at 234 Commercial Street. His wife, Clio Rachel (Hull) Curley (d 1939), was active in the Nautilus Club, an influential women’s group, and served as its president. For a time in the 1930s, the room over Dr. Curley’s garage served as the Nautilus clubhouse.
By the 1960s, the ground floor of the property had been converted entirely to retail use. (The Cape Cod Garage next door was sold to the Seaman’s Savings Bank in 1963 to serve as its new headquarters, so clearly the neighborhood was coming up.) Clark’s Flower Shop, run by Clarence P. Curley Jr., shared space with the Golden Gull gift shop, run by James Majestic, in which the Curleys also had an interest. Golden Gull was still in business in the early 1980s, as a record shop: “Cape Cod’s only nostalgia record store.”
A relatively long chapter in the building’s history began in 1978 with the opening of the Provincetown Cheese Market and Deli, owned by William E. “Bill” Hoontis (±1950-2004) and his partner, Francis C. “Cliff” Cowgill II. They also ran the Clifford-William Antiques store. Hoontis and Cowgill purchased this building in 1986, but sold it three years later to Edward S. and Judith A. Polay, proprietors of the Little Store next door, at 227 Commercial Street. Sue Buerkel bought the Cheese Market in 1995 and ran it until 1999. Hoontis died in 2004. (“William E. Hoontis,” The Banner, 21 October 2004.)
The next, and fairly brief, incarnation was as the Blue Light restaurant. The building now houses Blondie’s Burgers, which opened in 2010 and is run by Paige Mansfield, identified in Provincetown Magazine as the “original Blondie.”
Rob Anderson, an editorial writer and food contributor at The Boston Globe, bought the building in 2011.
Tax Map 11-3 [PDF]