83 Commercial Street

West End Racing Club
The West End Racing Club sounds like a place whose members dress in commodores’ outfits, but it is in fact a nonprofit organization begun at Flyer’s Beach in 1950 that teaches children to swim and sail. Their shoreline clubhouse at 83 Commercial Street was finished and dedicated in 1957 on “the same ground where once stood the old Wharf Theater.” This building was to house summer activities and provide a wintertime storage area for the boats.

Here is a bit of history from its Web site: “Begun in 1950 as a loosely organized gang of kids congregating at ‘Flyer’s beach’, it soon became apparent to a number of parents that more boats and a proper club house were needed. Francis Santos, Larry Richmond, Richard Santos, Frank Rogers, Joe Andrews, Fillmore Miller and Will Hurlburt joined together to solidify a common goal: to give kids in Provincetown an opportunity to learn how to sail and enrich their lives with nautical knowledge and experience. During the winters several of these handy fathers built small boats called Weasels from kits and the fleet began to grow. Calling on the generosity of local artists, paintings, drawings and sculptures were donated and raffles were held raising enough money to buy the waterfront property where the club is today. As the kids grew, so did the fleet — with the addition of five Blue Jays built by Larry Richmond, Dick Santos and Lloyd Atwood.”














2 thoughts on “83 Commercial Street

  1. I am always amazed to see that the “artwork” at the club still exists after all these years.

    I painted the signal flags on the rafter, and the doors — gulls and buoys — on a rainy day back in 1972. I also painted a large compass rose on the floor but it didn’t last long given our always wet, salty and sandy feet.

    As anyone can see, the paintings are proof of what my Dad used to like to call the “myth” of the artistic gene. My grandfather would have wondered where it all went wrong.

    By the way, the flags on the rafter spell out: Welcome to the WERC.

    Our Skipper back in those days was Tommy Dahill (see 51 Commercial Street). The WERC was (and still is) a wonderful place for all the kids and remains a tribute to Flyer and the other gentlemen who made the harbor accessible to us all.

    • What a great story of provenance, Amy. Readers who do not otherwise know may be interested to learn that the grandfather to whom you refer was the great painter John Whorf.

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