I am delighted to report that the Provincetown Arts Press reprinted Building Provincetown in the summer of 2021 — this time in full color. You can order it from the Press through this link.
Sprawled over a four-acre hilltop site, the sheer size of the 55-room Seaglass Inn and Spa — known previously as the Chateau Motel, Best Western Chateau Motor Inn and Chateau Provincetown — is unlike anything in town. Two generations of the Gordon family were involved: William and Emily (Prada) Gordon opened the motel in 1958 and expanded it. They were followed by their son, William Gordon Jr., and his wife, Charlotte. The Gordons proposed tearing down the motel in 2007 and converting the property into a 10-lot subdivision, but kept the Chateau ouvert until 2013, when they sold it to Nadine Licostie, a filmmaker, and her wife, Faith Licostie, an emergency-room nurse, who rechristened it Seaglass and reopened it in 2014.
Beach Market and Gale Force Bikes, a popular place to rent bicycles for the Cape Cod National Seashore trails, occupies the site of the main barn of Galeforce Farm, founded at the turn of the 20th century by Frank Silva Alves, a fisherman and native of Pico, in the Azores. In its early days, it was one of five dairy farms in town. Frank’s son, Joseph Alves, took over in 1934, installed pasteurization equipment in 1941, and increased the herd to more than three dozen Guernsey and Holstein cows. But a lack of farmhands and a spate of bad weather killed off Galeforce in 1952, by which time it was the last dairy farm at the Cape tip.
An ample farmhouse from the early 20th century still stands, and still commands a proprietor’s prospect over what was once dairy land. The main building of the Safe Harbor condominium at No. 147 was the home of Joseph Alves and Irene (Raymond) Alves, who ran Galeforce, the town’s last commercial dairy farm. Their son Raymond Alves sold the property in 1990 to his brother-in-law, Allen Gallant, who created the condo in 2005. Gallant’s husband, David Cox, is a pioneer in chronicling Provincetown from a drone’s-eye view.
Frank B. Fratus was one of eight Provincetown men killed in World War I. Two decades after the armistice, with another war looming in Europe, five of these men were memorialized in the renaming of five principal intersections: Manuel Lopes at Railroad Square, Everett McQuillan at Depot Square, Norman Cook at Town Hall Square and Louis Ferreira at Kelley’s Corner, also known — then and now — as the Turn. (“Vets to Dedicate Five Town Squares,” The Advocate, March 24, 1938.) Lewis A. Young had already been commemorated in the renaming of the Veterans of Foreign Wars post, while Antone Light and Lewis Morris were memorialized by the American Legion.
Alfred “Fall River” Perry, originally Perreira, opened the Wagon Wheels diner shortly after World War II, Joseph Andrews recalled. (Though it’s not a very clear reproduction, you can actually discern the wagon wheels flanking the stairway to the diner entrance.) It stood at the intersection now occupied by Victor’s, when this part of the West End was almost rural, given the presence nearby of the large Galeforce Farm.
Joe “The Barber” Ferreira opened “probably the only Dairy Queen franchise in America that served kale soup,” Amy Whorf McGuiggan wrote My Provincetown. It replaced the Wagon Wheels diner, run by Alfred “Fall River” Perry. The D.Q. was later owned by Elmer Silva, principal of Provincetown High School, who employed students like Yvonne Frazier, now a professional opera singer in Europe. It morphed into Silva’s Seafood Connection, run by Paul Silva and his brother, David Silva, a proprietor these days of the Red Inn. After turns as LiCata’s and the Beach Grill, it was razed by Victor DePoalo to make way for condos and Victor’s restaurant.
Alfred “Fall River” Perry was succeeded at this site by Joe “The Barber” Ferreira, who opened what was “probably the only Dairy Queen franchise in America that served kale soup,” Amy Whorf McGuiggan wrote. The DQ morphed into Silva’s Seafood Connection, whose spokesfish is seen in the picture, run in its last years by the brothers David Silva and Paul Silva. After turns as LiCata’s and the Beach Grill, it was razed to make way for condominiums and Victor’s restaurant.
Chelsea Earnest Memorial Playground
The Nautilus Club, an influential women’s civic group, was deeply involved in efforts at the mid-20th century to establish proper playgrounds for children, who were otherwise left to play in the streets or on beaches that were much less tidy than they are today. The Nickerson Street Playground or West End Playground, as this was originally called, came about in 1949 when the owner of an idle property at 1 Bradford Street agreed to sell it for that purpose. The Nautilus Club put up the down payment and also sponsored events, like dessert whist-bridge parties, to raise money to equip the play area. More pictures and history»
From the 1940s through the 1960s, this shack was Mary’s Snack Bar — better known as Mary Spaghetti’s — run by Mary Souza. Open until 3 a.m., it was a popular rendezvous with “night prowlers,” as The Advocate put it, and anathema to the neighbors. Among the night prowlers once — it is said — were Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Mary’s claims to fame were clamburgers and pepper steak, but the name of the joint suggested another specialty of the house — besides general uproar. Kim Oliver of Provincetown Florist, who owns the property, replaced the tumbledown shack with a Cape-style cottage in 2011.
Mary’s Snack Bar (Mary Spaghetti’s)
From the 40s through the 60s, this side shack (c1880) was Mary’s Snack Bar, run by Mary Souza. Open until 3 a.m., it was a popular rendezvous with “night prowlers,” as The Advocate put it. Reportedly among those prowlers once were Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. What made it popular among the nocturnal set, of course, made it anathema to the neighbors, including Clarence Kacergis, who had Souza hauled up for censure by the Selectmen in 1959, saying he could not sleep. Mary’s claims to fame were clamburgers and pepper steak, but the joint was also known as Mary Spaghetti’s, suggesting another specialty of the house — besides general uproar. ¶ Updated 2012-11-13
Provincetown Welding Works
The amazingly animate yard of the Kacergis family’s Provincetown Welding Works looks like a Tim Burton movie come to three-dimensional life. The works were established in 1946 by Clarence Kacergis (born 1916). “At first, he imagined a simple welding shop until several Provincetown artists and sculptors looked to stretch themselves and embrace metal as a heightened form of expression,” Gerry Desautels wrote. (“Forging a Dynasty in Steel,” The Banner, Oct. 16, 2003.) Among them was Chaim Gross. In the present day, Desautels continued: “Maritime objects, fauna, flora and Cape characters — strumming musicians, rowing sailors and sawing woodsmen — are depicted in quirky Kacergis style throughout the chock-a-block shop.” Picture essay and more history »
The amazingly animate yard of the Provincetown Welding Works looks like a Tim Burton movie come to three-dimensional life. It was founded in 1946 by Clarence Kacergis. “At first, he imagined a simple welding shop until several Provincetown artists and sculptors looked to stretch themselves and embrace metal as a heightened form of expression,” Gerry Desautels wrote in The Banner. Among them was Chaim Gross. In the present day, Desautels continued: “Maritime objects, fauna, flora and Cape characters — strumming musicians, rowing sailors and sawing woodsmen — are depicted in quirky Kacergis style throughout the chock-a-block shop. … The works are wonders of modern recycling and years of collecting parts and pieces.” Clarence’s son, Michael, succeeded to the business.
Members of the Kacergis family could keep an eye on their Provincetown Welding Works by peering from the windows of the house at 4 Bradford Street, built in 1875 in Italianate-Second Empire style. It was acquired by Clarence Kacergis (born 1916) and his wife, Matilda A. “Tillie” Kacergis (d 2005), in 1964. Mrs. Kacergis was the daughter of Anton and Mary Jackett, née Mayo. The Kacergises also operated Tillie’s Cottages. The house at 4 Bradford Street is still owned by the family through a revocable living trust. The Second Empire part of the house was rebuilt after a fire in 1920, the historic district survey says, and the wrought-iron gates and lamppost were fabricated by Clarence Kacergis.
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. More pictures and history »
Monumental Doric columns welcome visitors to the Colonial Revival house at 12 Bradford Street, built in 1890. Hard to believe that something so gracious should have had a very utilitarian past, but this was the Captain Manuel Enos Station, dispensing gasoline in the 1930s and 40s. It was in the Perry family for more than 60 years. Dr. Helen Perry (d 2004) lived here with her husband, Reginald P. Perry. One of four women to graduate from the Tufts University School of Medicine in 1943, she practiced obstetrics and gynecology for the next 41 years at five hospitals around Boston. Please see the comment from Ann Welles, which richly fills in family history and corrects several errors in this entry.
The current coat of tomato red paint does much to draw the eye to this sweet little house, built between 1850 and 1870. There is a long Portuguese association at 20 Bradford Street. You could almost say it goes back to the 1850s, when Rita Amelia Perry was born on Faial Island in the Azores. She lived in this house until her death in 1948. Her daughter, Minnie Silva (the widow of Manuel Souza), lived here until she died in 1962. Silva was followed by her nephew Francis J. Ventura (d 2003). His niece, Cathan R. Ventura, next owned the property but has since sold it.
How did they get permission to extend their house over the sidewalk, creating an ungainly pedestrian tunnel on Bradford Street?
In a town of wild structures, this amazing relic is one of the wildest: a fly loft for a theater that was integral to the Provincetown renaissance. Frank Shay, an editor and bookseller, belonged to the Provincetown Players. In 1924, to keep the spirit alive after the troupe moved to New York, he converted his barn into the Barnstormers’ Theater, Leona Rust Egan wrote in Provincetown as a Stage. After Paul Robeson’s successful portrayal of The Emperor Jones, Shay campaigned to bring that production to town. Instead, Egan said, Robeson appeared here in 1925 in a program of spirituals and folk songs. Local lore has it that Bette Davis also trod these boards. The cottage colony around the theater was known in the 1940s and ’50s as Skipper Raymond’s Cottages, run by Frank and Frances (Perry) Raymond, who’s on the mural at Fishermen’s Wharf. Napi Van Dereck now owns the property.
Former Barnstormers’ Theater / Former Skipper Raymond’s Cottages
In a town full of wild structures, this amazing relic at 27A Bradford Street (c1915) is one of the wildest: a shingled fly loft for a theater that was integral to the early 20th-century Provincetown renaissance. Frank Shay, an editor and bookseller, belonged to the original Provincetown Players. In 1924, in a bid to keep the spirit of the Players alive after the troupe moved to New York, he converted his barn into the Barnstormers’ Theater. More pictures and history »
A steep front yard leads to the house (1853) where Mary Ellen Zora lived. She was a founder of the town’s Camp Fire Girls unit in the 1940s and was the daughter of Capt. Manuel Zora. From 1978 to 1985, the property was run by Stephen Milkewicz and Ronald A. Schleimer as the Lamplighter Guest House and Cottage. It was also the Archer Inn, before returning to private use.
From the name (“Tip of the Cape for Tops in Service”) to the nautical décor to the satisfyingly good Portuguese food, Carreiro’s Tip for Tops’n was a throwback in every sense except its popularity. Ernest Carreiro, a native of São Miguel in the Azores, ran Anybody’s Market in this building until the early 1950s, when he opened Tip. The business was acquired in 1966 by Edward “Babe” Carreiro of New Bedford, who had skippered Jenny B, and his wife, Eva (Cook) Carreiro. It passed to their sons Joseph Carreiro and Gerald Carreiro, whose widow, Joyce, ran the business until the end, in 2012. Devon Ruesch renovated the property, keeping much of the décor, and reopened it as Devon’s Deep Sea Dive.
Carreiro’s Tip for Tops’n
From the name (“Tip of the Cape for Tops in Service”) to the décor to the satisfyingly good Portuguese food, Carreiro’s Tip for Tops’n is a throwback in every sense except its popularity, which is undiminished after 50 years. Ernest L. Carreiro, a native of São Miguel in the Azores, ran Anybody’s Market in this building until the early 1950s, when he opened Tip. He died in 1961. The business was acquired in 1966 by Edward C. “Babe” Carreiro of New Bedford, who had skippered the Jenny B, and his wife, Eva (Cook) Carreiro. More pictures and history »
Here is vanished Provincetown. “Kids in the west end and east end used to dodge the fish drying on the clothes lines as they ran through each other’s yards,” Susan Leonard recalled. Jay Critchley took the picture in the 1970s and believes this was the making of skully jo, a kind of fish jerky. Leonard thinks it might have been bacalhau (cod). In either case, you won’t see its like today. More pictures and history
Though the Dutch never came this way, there are numerous examples of Dutch Colonial architecture in town, barnlike houses and studios with distinctive gambrel roofs, like 160 Bradford Street, 295 Bradford Street, the Spear family cottages in the far East End, and — of course — the Hawthorne Class Studio. This house was built in 1880. Manuel Cabral lived at 34 Bradford Street. A history of the family’s involvement in this property is included in the comment below from Richard Vizard. ¶ Updated 2013-12-18
This site has been hopping since 1937, when the Bonnie Doone Grille (later the Bonnie Doone Restaurant) was opened by Mary (Prada) Cabral, who ran it with her husband, Manuel. Their daughter, Barbara, married Richard Oppen in 1948, after which the two couples ran the place, helped in turn by the third generation, Bonnie (Oppen) Jordan and her husband Joel Vizard. Its Thistle Cocktail Lounge was a popular gay rendezvous in the 1950s. The restaurant gained parking space in 1958 by tearing down the abutting former Conant Street School. In recent years, the building was remodeled by William Dougal and Rick Murray as the Mussel Beach Health Club, which they had opened on Shank Painter Road in 1993. They also own the Crown & Anchor.
Two distinct forms of hospitality — the guest house and the motel — are combined in one operation at the Bradford House & Motel. Hotel lore says the main house was built in 1888 by Reuben Brown, a coal and lumber merchant, for his intended wife. Its flying staircase was photographed by Joel Meyerowitz for Cape Light. The Browns’ son, Dr. Roy Brown, sold the house in the 1940s to Thomas and Anna (Crawley) Cote, whose father was Frank “Scarry Jack” Crawley. They added the one-story motel wing in 1950.
This site has been hopping since 1938. For most of those years, it was home to Manuel Cabral’s Bonnie Doone Restaurant and Thistle Cocktail Lounge, a popular gay rendezvous in the 1950s. In 1958, Cabral tore down the neighboring Conant Street School, which had been used for about 25 years as the headquarters of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, to add parking spaces for the restaurant. Picture essay and more history »
More pictures »
Two distinct forms of Provincetown hospitality — the guest house and the spartan motel — are combined in one operation at the Bradford House & Motel. Hotel lore says the main house was built in 1888 by Reuben F. Brown, a coal and lumber merchant, for Albina [Alvina?] Brooks, his intended wife. The firm of Lewis & Brown had its office at 227 Commercial Street. Their son, Roy F. Brown (±1889-1967), was a physician, educated at Tufts, Harvard and the Sorbonne. During World War II, Dr. Brown set up a general hospital in Sydney, Australia, that served the South Pacific theater. (“Dr. Roy F. Brown,” The Advocate, Nov. 9, 1967.) Picture essay and more history »
The house was built in the mid- to late 1800s. Antone Jackett, a fisherman, lived here with his wife, Mary Mayo (Janard) Jackett, and their children, including Antoinette (Jackett) Gaspie. Antoinette’s grandson Joseph Trovato III said in a comment that Antone sold the house some time around 1932, shortly after Mary died, in the house, of cancer. It was purchased in the 1960s by Philip F. Cabral, said Susan Cabral in a comment. Philip and his wife, Elaine, lived here with their children until they bought 22 Franklin Street. They converted this into Cabral’s Market, which had previously been next door, at 40 Bradford Street, when it was run by Manuel Cabral. • Historic District Survey • Assessor’s Online Database ¶ Updated 2013-05-18