In a town whose economy turned on the luck of the fishery, poverty was often no farther away than one capsized boat or a couple of empty nets. By 1870, there were so many poor people that Provincetown constructed this large Alms House, also known as the Town Asylum, to shelter them. In 1956, it was transformed into a municipal nursing home called Cape End Manor, which was housed here until a new facility was built at 100 Alden. The asylum was converted into town offices and renamed the Grace Gouveia Building, in honor of Grace Gouveia. This beloved teacher, poet, and social activist immigrated from Portugal in 1915, at the age of 6. She died in 1998.
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.