When Josephine Del Deo documented the out buildings at 7 Bradford Street in 1976, she captioned her photograph: “Johnny Oliver’s Garage (A Landmark?)” It seems doubtful that Del Deo would’ve been speaking ironically, so we have to ask what infused this decrepit, utilitarian structure with historical stature. Perhaps it was simply the fact that such homely little workhorses already seemed headed to extinction, and with them an entire blue-collar economy. Or perhaps it was because John T. Oliver seemed to have been — in the grand sense of the word — a Provincetown character. He was a painter. But not that kind. He painted houses and buildings.
It was Oliver who applied coats of fresh red paint to the Lancey mansion when it house the historical museum and Oliver who put touches of yellow on “Friday” Cook’s tap room. Oliver’s wife, Annie (Meads) Oliver, was active in the Portuguese-American Civic League. Her estate still owns the property.