12 Carver Street

Brass Key Guesthouse
Now designated the Gatehouse as part of the large and eclectic Brass Key Guesthouse compound, 12 Carver Street was built in the 1850s. William H. Young and his family lived here and next door, 10 Carver Street, where their lives are discussed more fully. The Rev. James F. Albion of the Universalist church lived here in the late 1920s. In the 1930s, Mrs. Fred H. Graham [?] held weekly duplicate bridge contests here, the results of which she would chronicle for The Advocate in a column called “Tops and Bottoms.” (This seems the perfect point on which not to comment.) More pictures and history»

161 Commercial Street

Boatslip Resort

The Boatslip Resort is an ungainly but very popular venue, constructed around 1965 on the site of Grozier Park. It was developed by Reginald W. “Reggie” Cabral, who lived opposite this site, at 160 Commercial Street, in the Grozier House. (Park and house were named for Edwin and Alice Grozier, owners of The Boston Post.) The Boatslip has 45 rooms, but is best known for the 4 o’clock tea dances, which began in the late 1970s. They’re held on its waterfront deck each afternoon in summer, and on weekends into the shoulder season. A Boatslip tea dance is sine qua non on the gay social scene. The events draw hundreds. Maryalice Kalaghan (DJ Maryalice) has presided since 1994. More pictures and history»

193A Commercial Street

Pied Bar

A landmark of women’s history, 193A Commercial has been a social center of lesbian life — and gay life generally — since the early 1950s, when it was the Ace of Spades Club. (The club famously refused admission in 1961 to the first lady, Jacqueline Kennedy.) “Allegedly the longest continuously running lesbian bar in the United States, the Ace of Spades played a critical role in Provincetown’s history as the first and, for many years, the only social institution at Land’s End that catered specifically to women,” Karen Christel Krahulik wrote in Provincetown: From Pilgrim Landing to Gay Resort (New York University Press, 2005). More pictures and history»

247 Commercial Street

Crown & Anchor

On a summer’s night, the Crown & Anchor can’t be missed. In fact, it can’t be ignored. Not only is it one of P-town’s most prominent facades, with its grand columned portico and tower, but performers from the Cabaret — usually in drag — boisterously regale passers-by. The hotel business is a sideline; this is the town’s “largest entertainment complex,” true to its roots in the mid-19th century, when Timothy P. Johnson built the Central House (its first name) as a public hall for shows and entertainment, a bowling alley and — quite as important — a saloon. More pictures and history»

256-258 Commercial Street

Former Congregational Church of the Pilgrims | Former Art Cinema | Saki | John Dough’s | Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop | Red Eye Coffee | Toko Indo

Your first reaction on standing in front of this building may well be: “So where’s the church?” It’s hard to make out, what with all structural additions that have grown by accretion — and like topsy — in what used to be the church’s ample front yard. But if you step across Commercial Street for a slightly better perspective, you’ll quickly recognize the shape and volume of a 19th-century house of worship. More pictures and history»

303 Commercial Street

Post Office Café & Cabaret

Though Land’s End Marine Supply is strongly identified with the east end of downtown, this was its birthplace in 1940 — founded by Joseph E. Macara (1904-2000) — and was its home for four years. Years before that, it was Silva’s Fish Market. After Land’s End moved out, the building was home in the early 1960s to the Wreck Club, run by Manuel Souza. The longtime commercial tenant has been the Post Office Café & Cabaret, one of the busiest nightclubs in town. It does not get its name from having once been the Provincetown post office. Rather, as a 1975 business directory explained, its first-floor décor came from a former post office in Ossining, N.Y., also known as the home of the Sing Sing penitentiary. More pictures and history»

312-314 Commercial Street

Governor Bradford

Familiar as the Governor Bradford may seem — and if you first set foot in town within the last half century, it’s always been here — there are noteworthy things to record: It’s still in the hands of the Edwards family, which has run this restaurant and its predecessors since the 1940s. The Bradford itself is a relative newcomer among Provincetown’s heritage businesses, having opened in 1960. It has a terrific collection of domestic and maritime artifacts and an enormous (but well concealed) mural by James Wingate Parr. More pictures and history»