25-27A Bradford Street

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 »

54 Bradford Street

Shank Painter Condominium

The Shank Painter Condominium, as its name suggests, is oriented largely to Shank Painter Road, though it has the street address 54 Bradford Street. A small cottage colony has stood here since 1940. In the 1960s, was known as the Brown Cottages, which were evidently superintended by Clayton F. Enos (b 1927). A 1965 narcotics raid on the cottages netted 11 young men and women, one of whom was charged with “lewd and lascivious cohabitation.” Seventeen condo units were listed on this lot in 2008. In the late 1950s, a photo studio called Candids by Carter did business at 54 Bradford Street. The longtime commercial tenant of recent years is Salon 54. [Updated 2012-05-14]

7 Commercial Street

Delft Haven

Delft Haven, the prettiest tourist cottage colony in town, was begun around 1934 by Ralph S. Carpenter, the retired general manager of the Caribbean Sugar Company of Cuba, who lived at 11 Commercial Street. He named the project for the harbor town in Holland from which the Pilgrims had set sail. Carpenter was among the first hosts to try catering to tourists with amenities. “The rest of the world enjoys a bath once in a while,” he said in 1937. “More than anything else, the town needs bathrooms and better beds.” Delft Haven sits astride the road, with one complex at 7 Commercial Street and another at 10 Commercial Street, and is very conscientiously maintained. More pictures»

857 Commercial Street

Ainsworth Cottages

“Everyone deserves a vacation — you don’t gouge people,” Prof. Joshua Arthur “J.A.” Ainsworth liked to say. That was how he and his family have run the nine Ainsworth Cottages at Beach Point since 1957. They are modest almost to the point of being primitive, but in this way they’re a far truer expression of old Cape Cod than the well-appointed hotels in town. And the only thing between the Ainsworths’ guests and the sea is the beach. That is why they come back year after year. More pictures and history»

881 Commercial Street

Beachcomber Colony Condominiums

Now, this is my idea of a 1920s tourist court — or call it a cottage colony or an auto camp: seven Lilliputian houses gathered in a cozy U. It could almost have served as the location set for the “walls of Jericho” scene in It Happened One Night. (Five points for you if you understand the reference at all; 10 bonus points if you recall that the fictional setting for that scene was Dyke’s Auto Camp.) Tourist courts were the forerunners of the motel. They sprang up nationwide in the 1920s and ’30s as travelers relied increasingly on their own automobiles. More pictures and history»

892 Commercial Street

Beach Point Village Condominium

“Miss Pearl Sawyer and her brothers, Carl and Warren Sawyer, of Medford, are at their Beach Point Village for the summer.” From the 1940s through the 1960s, notices like this could be found in The Advocate every spring. The Sawyers were as dependable as the tides. And every fall, just as surely, the three siblings were reported as closing up their cottage colony at 892 Commercial and returning to Medford for the winter. The property was subsequently owned by Frank M. Tortora, who seems to have sponsored its 1983 condo conversion. More pictures and history»