Charles Darby arrived in Provincetown by motorcycle in the 1930s, as Amy Whorf McGuiggan tells the story. In short time, he became a year-rounder, an exhibiting painter and a beloved member of the Beachcombers. Drafted in 1942, he was a radio operator with the 77th Troop Carrier Squadron. On 17 October 1944, returning from a supply mission, his plane crashed into a hillside in southern England. The crew was killed instantly. Darby’s grief-stricken father proposed to the Beachcombers that a plaque, fastened to a stone, might be set on a dune overlooking the sea. “It would, in some small way, tie more closely Charles to his beloved Provincetown,” he said. A cross was built of an old railroad tie by the artists Philip Malicoat, Roger Rilleau, and John Whorf (McGuiggan’s grandfather). It stood outside the Art Association at first, but was moved to Long Point in the early 1960s, fulfilling the father’s wish.
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.