52 Commercial Street

52 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2008).

52 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2008).

"Portrait of John Gaspa," by John Whorf. Courtesy of the Provincetown Art Association and Museum.

“Portrait of John Gaspa,” by John Whorf. Courtesy of the Provincetown Art Association and Museum.

John Whorf, courtesy of the Provincetown History Preservation Project.

John Whorf, courtesy of the Provincetown History Preservation Project.

A delightful splash of pink, this 1850s house is known as La Principessa. Here John Whorf, a water-colorist whom The Advocate called the “jewel in the crown of many noted Provincetown artists,” rode out the hurricane of 1944. In his youth, he spent summers at 519 Commercial, studying as a teenager with Charles Hawthorne. Handsome and worldly, Whorf was a consummate town insider with an off-Cape reputation. In 1939, the Metropolitan Museum of Art acquired his Southern Ocean. Whorf died in 1959. A long-awaited monograph, John Whorf Rediscovered, by his son John Whorf and his granddaughter Amy Whorf McGuiggan, was published in 2014.


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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