† 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.

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»

±16 Conant Street

Conant Street School | Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall

The Conant Street school was built in 1869 on land purchased by the town from the estate of Abigail and Silas Loomis. For many years, the school system segregated children by grades among the various school houses. As home to the first and second grades, Conant Street was known as the “baby school.” It was later used for the schooling of mentally impaired children, according to an account published in The New Beacon of 11 June 1958, and viewable in Book 2 of the Scrapbooks of Althea Boxell. More history»

† 12 Cudworth Street

12 Cudworth Street, Provincetown (2008), by David W. Dunlap.Grey Schoolhouse

The plaque says the one-room public school that once stood on this site was constructed in 1828, but the Provincetown Historical Association’s Walking Tour No. 1 puts the date much earlier, in 1795. The guide said that public education was financed from leasing the fishery. Before the Grey Schoolhouse and two others were built, classes were held in meeting houses. School masters would board in pupils’ homes. ¶ Posted 2012-12-11

2 Mayflower Street

2 Mayflower Lane, Provincetown (2008), by David W. Dunlap. 
2 Mayflower Lane, Provincetown (2008), by David W. Dunlap.Veterans Memorial Community Center (Formerly Veterans Memorial Elementary School)

In the era of contraction and the mournful closing of P.H.S., it’s hard to believe that within my lifetime, expansion was the watchword in public education. It had become clear by the early 1950s that the town’s children were no longer well served by the Central School House, 126 Bradford Street, and the Western School House, on School Street. So plans were prepared for a large new building to replace them and the Governor Bradford School, 44 Bradford Street. The Veterans Memorial Elementary School, designed by Walter M. Gaffney of Hyannis, opened in 1955 and served its purpose for 56 years.

"Proposed Elementary School for the Town of Provincetown, Mass.," by Walter M. Gaffney (1952).

More pictures and history»

† 12 Winslow Street

12 Winslow Street, Provincetown (ND). Courtesy of the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum (No. PC 0570.) 
12 Winslow Street, Provincetown (ND). Courtesy of the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum (No. PC 0571.)High and Grammar School

In 1890, Herman Jennings, wrote in Provincetown or, Odds and Ends From the Tip End: “When the [old] Town Hall was built on High Pole Hill in 1853, the High School was then permanently established and held in that building until the building was burned [in 1877]. The school then was kept in the vestry of the Congregational Church [256-258 Commercial Street] until the present High and Grammar School Building was erected in 1880, the town appropriating $8,000 for the purchase of land and the erection of the building. In this school, the higher branches are taught in connection with several of the foreign languages.” More pictures and history»

12 Winslow Street

12 Winslow Street, Provincetown (2008), by David W. Dunlap. 
12 Winslow Street, Provincetown (1966). Long Pointer 1966. Courtesy of the Provincetown History Preservation Project.Provincetown High School

April 2013. What a bittersweet moment to be writing about P.H.S. Bitter because, after 164 years, secondary education in town is about to end. Sweet because of the spirit, dignity and pluck shown by the eight young women of the Class of 2013 as they bring this important era to a close.

“I watched my cousins, my sisters and brother graduate from Provincetown High School,” 17-year-old Katie Silva told Mary Ann Bragg of The Cape Cod Times in September 2012. “And I wasn’t about to pass up that opportunity.” In April 2010, the school committee had voted — reluctantly but unanimously — to phase out the school. At the time, Peter P. Grosso (b 1945), the committee chairman and the father of two P.H.S. alumni, said: “I never thought I would see this day. But we’ve just been fighting the numbers. It’s just not going to work.”

12 Winslow Street, Provincetown (2010), by David W. Dunlap.

More pictures and history »