† 55 Commercial Street

Western Cold Storage

On what is now a parking lot and town landing at 55 Commercial Street stood Western Cold Storage, the westernmost of Provincetown’s cold storage facilities; enormous, industrial-strength fish processing and freezing plants which once lined the waterfront. Only one, the Ice House, survives. The Western was built in 1917 and only operated for a year before shutting down. The town seized the property for non-payment of taxes and tore down the building in 1937, leaving a parking lot in its wake that has been there ever since. The Long Point exhibit at the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum indicates that a floater house also occupied this site.

83 Commercial Street

 
West End Racing Club
The West End Racing Club sounds like a place whose members dress in commodores’ outfits, but it is in fact a nonprofit organization begun at Flyer’s Beach in 1950 that teaches children to swim and sail. Their shoreline clubhouse at 83 Commercial Street was finished and dedicated in 1957 on “the same ground where once stood the old Wharf Theater.” This building was to house summer activities and provide a wintertime storage area for the boats. More pictures and history»

† 99 Commercial Street

 
Furtado’s Boatyard

That Manuel “Ti Manuel” Furtado (±1880-1945) was the father of the 20th-century boatbuilding business in Provincetown is beyond dispute; not only did he have one of the principal boatyards in the early decades of the 1900s, but Furtado alumni went on to establish Flyer’s Boatyard and the Taves Boatyard. He was born in São Miguel in the Azores, landing in Provincetown in 1898, as a ship’s carpenter. He spent some time fishing on the Grand Banks, but then — around 1920 — he set up shop at the base of Union Wharf, where he earned a reputation for his “painstaking skill and craftsmanship” in constructing light boats, The Advocate said (“Boatbuilder Dies, Mourned by Many,” 7 June 1945). More pictures and history»

229 Commercial Street

 
Former Colonial Cold Storage Company | Indigo Lounge | Jake’s Cape House

This is one of the two great vestiges of the cold storage plants, or “freezers,” that once lined the waterfront and gave it an industrial cast that is almost impossible to imagine today. More pictures and history»

455 Commercial Street

Now home to Scott Rodgers and Jon Hubanks, 455 Commercial Street was constructed in the early 20th century as a berth not for a whom, but for a what: Tamerlane. This sailboat took its name from a whaling bark captained by Joshua Baker Winslow on three voyages out of New Bedford, in 1854, 1858, and 1865. Provincetown’s Tamerlane was owned by Captain Winslow’s grandson, Henry Joshua Winslow (1880-1963), and his wife, Grace (Davenport) Winslow (1877-1970). The Winslows built and spent summers in the gambrel-roofed house next door, 457 Commercial Street. Tamerlane was kept in this combination boat house and garage. “They sailed her in Provincetown Harbor,” the Winslows’ granddaughter, Katharine Winslow Herzog, wrote in 2018. “The Tamerlane was quite well known. People still tell fearsome tales of my grandmother ringing a bell and telling people to stay off of that boat!” Both Nos. 455 and 457 were owned at one time by George Bryant. He sold them in separate years to separate owners, and the boat house-garage was converted into a dwelling. Rodgers bought it in 2016. He and Herzog met online after he noticed her middle name — Winslow — on a Facebook post she wrote about Provincetown. The families met in person in July 2018. “Kathy put together a collection of photographs and a written history of the property for us, which we will treasure,” Rodgers wrote later that day. “We now have pictures of the original boat, the Tamerlane, that was stored in our home when not in use.” Tamerlane wound up in the hands of Munro G. “Mun” Moore (1927-1995), an avid sailor, a developer, and a founder of the Fine Arts Work Center.

[Updated 2018-07-25]