With its deep, picturesque, wrap-around porch, Mount Pleasant House is immediately recognizable as the Victorian-era guest house it once was. It sits on one of the largest undivided lots in town, which has been owned for many years by Arnold and Ruth Dwyer and their family. It runs one-fifth of a mile to Route 6 and 80 yards along Bradford, all the way down to the garage at No. 268. Mount Pleasant was built around 1890, not long after the Old Colony Railroad opened up the town to tourism. It was run by Mary Days at the turn of the century. John Francis, of Francis’s Flats at 577 Commercial, owned the land. Ross Moffett and Bruce McKain had studios on this property as, more recently, did Rick Fleury, whose landscape paintings include a Dialogue series inspired by the works by Mark Rothko, who lived nearby.
Behind Mount Pleasant stand a small cottage called the Oaks and a smaller cottage known appropriately as the Acorn. The Oaks was a restaurant opened here in 1915 by Christine Ell, a year after Polly Holladay opened Polly’s, at 484 Commercial. Both proprietors also ran popular restaurants in Greenwich Village and all four establishments drew the Village Bohemian crowd, led by Eugene O’Neill. The Oaks was more like a speakeasy, Leona Rust Egan wrote in Provincetown as a Stage, serving whiskey distilled in Truro. O’Neill likened it to “tiger piss.” Later, Polly Burnell said, Adele and Lester Heller used the Oaks for visitors working at the Provincetown Playhouse on the Wharf.
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.