8 Commercial Street

8 Commercial Street, Tennessee Williams shack, by David W. Dunlap (2008).

8 Commercial Street, Tennessee Williams shack, by David W. Dunlap (2008).

Rich in associations but hard to see from the road, No. 8 was once home to the abstract painter Karl Knaths, whom The New York Times called “a musician in color”; his wife, Helene; and her sister, Agnes Weinrich, who cofounded the New York Society of Women Artists. Knaths arrived in town in 1919 and stayed because it was cheap and quiet. He died in 1971, saying that the fishing town he knew had disappeared. Since 1988, the house has been owned by Alix Ritchie, the founding publisher of The Provincetown Banner, and her partner, Marty Davis, an artist and designer. Out of sight and off limits to the public is the shack in which Tennessee Williams spent time in 1944 while finishing The Glass Menagerie. Besides the play, he also wrote his name on a door and a wall here.

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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