† 44 Bradford Street

Governor Bradford School

This elegant, wood-framed, Queen Anne-style building was home to the Governor Bradford School beginning in 1892 and where grades five and six were conducted after a 1931 systemwide reorganization. First to fourth grades were in the Western and Center Schools; seventh onward in the High School. In 1935, it burned down in the middle of the night without any loss of life.

44-46 Bradford Street

(Former) Provincetown Community Center

The Colonial-style New Governor Bradford School rose from the ashes of the original. Nearly 100 pupils were enrolled here before it closed in the mid ’50s. The building reopened as the Provincetown Community Center in 1956, under the charge of the town Recreation Commission. Picture essay and more history »

† 126 Bradford Street

Central School House
The Central School House was one of three district schools built in 1844 — along with the Western and Eastern (still standing) — each to serve a three-grade cohort: primary, intermediate and grammar. Henry David Thoreau may have been referring to this building when he described a school house “filled with sand up to the tops of the desks.” Its site is now a parking lot, associated with one of the more brutal crimes in recent history: the execution-style shooting in 1996 of Linda Silva, an investigator for the Department of Social Services. Seven years passed until the arrest of a suspect, Paul Dubois, whose request for child custody had been opposed by Silva. Dubois was convicted of first-degree murder in 2004.

241 Bradford Street

It’s one of the largest buildings in town and — arguably — one of the ugliest. But 241 Bradford Street actually had a small role in a critical moment of national history. This storehouse was constructed as part of the U. S. Naval Mine Test Facilities in Provincetown, commissioned in 1942, which became a busy military post during World War II. In 1948, the town acquired a longterm lease from the United States for $1 and proceeded to rehabilitate the structure as the Provincetown Vocational School. The program was conducted here for 15 years before moving to Provincetown High School.

7 Brewster Street

The artist Seong Moy immigrated from China in 1931, studied with Hans Hofmann, then established the Seong Moy School of Painting and Graphic Arts here in 1954. The next year, he won a Guggenheim Fellowship. “So I’m a newcomer,” he recalled in an interview with Paul Cummings, “and, as is the way of human nature, people are always looking for something new.” Moy conducted class for 20 years, but concluded: “Provincetown is losing its sort of art attraction. Things have changed. A sort of commercialized kind of resort thing is coming into the town. It’s more difficult to live and to work there.” The year was 1971.

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»

492-494 Commercial Street

Former Eastern School House | Schoolhouse Gallery | ArtStrand | WOMR

Thirty or forty years before the notion of “adaptive reuse” gained currency in the preservation movement, the Eastern School was adaptively reused. Again. And again. And again. It has a remarkable track record of community service, made even more astonishing by the fact that is one of the few extant buidings in Provincetown that were mentioned by Henry David Thoreau in Cape Cod: “Notwithstanding all this sand, we counted three meeting-houses and four school-houses nearly as large.” The Eastern School was constructed in 1844, along with the Western School on Tremont Street and the Central School at 126 Bradford Street, both now demolished. Each served three grades. “These schools were furnished with blackboards, maps, globes and all the latest appliances for education in that day, and were considered models,” Nancy W. Paine Smith wrote in The Provincetown Book. More pictures and history»