42 Bradford Street

Ptown Bikes

The house was built in the mid- to late 1800s. Antone Jackett, a fisherman, lived here with his wife, Mary Mayo (Janard) Jackett, and their children, including Antoinette (Jackett) Gaspie. Antoinette’s grandson Joseph Trovato III said in a comment that Antone sold the house some time around 1932, shortly after Mary died, in the house, of cancer. It was purchased in the 1960s by Philip F. Cabral, said Susan Cabral in a comment. Philip and his wife, Elaine, lived here with their children until they bought 22 Franklin Street. They converted this into Cabral’s Market, which had previously been next door, at 40 Bradford Street, when it was run by Manuel Cabral. • Historic District SurveyAssessor’s Online Database ¶ Updated 2013-05-18

132 Bradford Street


Duarte’s Mall

The Old Colony depot saw a second life as a bus station in the 1940s. In 1950, Joseph Duarte replaced it with a garage and service station for Duarte Motors, his Chevrolet and Oldsmobile dealership. (The rear of the building is a modestly handsome International-style pavilion.) More pictures and history»

136 Bradford Street

Provincetown Florist

This Second Empire-style house (c1870/1875) loomed large over the railyard. Menalkas Duncan, a prominent leather crafter (and Isadora Duncan’s nephew), bought it in 1955 and used it as the Duncan Sandal Shop. It’s since been an office, the Provincetown Fabric Shop, and a flower shop, which Maghi Geary and Laura Darsch acquired in 1988 and renamed Provincetown Florist. Picture essay and more history »

141 Bradford Street

Bradford Natural Market

That an old automotive garage is now a market for organic and natural products tells you much about the transformation of Provincetown. It was built c1935 for Joseph Duarte’s Chevrolet and Oldsmobile dealership, Duarte Motors, which later moved across the street. Vannoy Motors also did business here. Lembas Health Foods, established by Barbara Edwards and Donald Edwards, moved here from 3 Standish Street around 2004. Since 2006, it’s been B Natural, the Bradford Natural Market, under Rodney “RJ” Johnson and Jim Sheehan.

150 Bradford Street

Far Land Provisions

Far Land Provisions opened in 2003, under a mashup of the last names of Jim Farley and Tom Boland, who was then chairman of the Historic District Commission. Its odd tables and big front porch beckon you to linger. It is cozy, aromatic and temptingly cluttered, and a beacon of life in dark winter months. The building (1952) has long played that role, as the L & A Supermarket — that would be Leo Morris and Arlene Morris — and as Nelson’s Market, originally founded in 1933 at 349 Commercial Street and run by Clarence M. Nelson and his wife, Mabel Nelson. Picture essay and more history »

212 Bradford Street

East End Market

Even neighborhood grocery stores summon history in Provincetown. The East End Marketplace is a descendant of the Patrician Shop, which was opened in 1949 by Cyril T. Patrick — he of Patrick’s Newsstand — and his wife, Philomena “Phil” (Jason) Patrick, who was also his partner in the Noel Shop. It was, together with Manuel Cabral’s Bonnie Doone (now Mussel Beach) and Basil Santos’s Captain’s Galley (now Michael Shay’s), one of the first big commercial enterprises on Bradford Street.

The Patrician was a general store, but with Eva Perry as cook, its lunch counter gained a reputation as having the best Portuguese soup on Cape Cod, Peter Manso said. After an interim as TeddySea’s Market, it became the East End, under the proprietorship of Gary and Ken. One can still see some vestiges of the past like the Patrician newsrack (visible in the photo below).


14 Center Street

Ruthie’s Boutique

A somber old funeral home on Center Street is joined to a utilitarian commercial structure fronting on Bradford Street to form this odd — but vital — property, now known (at least on paper) as the Center Garden condominium. It’s best known these days as the home of Ruthie’s Boutique, a thrift shop that steadily helps finance the AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod and Helping Our Women, plus other worthy organizations on a rotating basis. The entrance to Ruthie’s is on Bradford. Around the corner, on Center Street, is the house occupied for many years by Capt. Thomas Seabury Taylor, one of the last of Provincetown’s whaling masters. His son, William Wilson Taylor, lived at 7 Center Street. More pictures and history»

† 63 Commercial Street

63 Commercial Street, Provincetown (1973), by Steve Silberman. Courtesy of Steve Silberman. 
63 Commercial Street, Provincetown (±1973), by Steve Silberman. Courtesy of Steve Silberman.The Viewpoint

According to Steve Silberman, whose family vacationed here for 40 years, “The original guest house bore the name the Galley, and then the Viewpoint, and was owned by the cookbook author Hazel Meyer and her partner Alice Bartoli, and then by Donald and Joan Morse, before being bought and torn down by the current owners.” In the 1950s, the Galley Shop was operated at this address by “Cap’ns” Dick Knudson and Jim Flag. More pictures and history»

170 Commercial Street

 
Joe Coffee & Cafe | Bravo!
This plain commercial building, constructed for the First National Bank of Provincetown and designed by Hutchins & French of Boston, replaced the second Centenary Church. It opened in 1950. Twelve years later, the bank began offering drive-in services here. It was known in later years as the Shawmut Bank and TD BankNorth. It now houses the Bravo! mens clothing — though not too much of it — store and Joe Coffee & Cafe, which moved here from 148A Commercial. More pictures and history»

171-173 Commercial Street

 
Forbidden Fruit | Ptown Spin | Dyer’s Beach House Motel
B. H. Dyer & Company, a hardware, houseware and paint store and one of the last surviving old-line businesses, expired three years shy of the 21st century. “Gone are the long, cool aisles where a little of this and a box of that provided almost anything you might need in the way of hardware,” Sue Harrison wrote in a 1997 eulogy in The Banner. Benjamin Huldah Dyer was born in Truro, got into the painting business at the age of 17 and in 1866 moved to Provincetown, where he set up shop, The Banner said. Then he bought a second building and expanded into hardware. He lived at 7 Winthrop Street until his death in 1907. Dyer was succeeded in the business by George F. Miller, whom he had taken on as a clerk. More pictures and history»

179 Commercial Street

Scott Dinsmore Antiques | Jimmy’s Hide Away

Philomena Manta — namesake of the schooner that was the namesake of the famous Charles W. Hawthorne painting in Town Hall — lived here until her death in 1936. This is now Scott Dinsmore Antiques and Jimmy’s Hide Away. It was formerly Szechuan Chinese Restaurant; the Pub Down Under in the mid-1980s, run by Diane J. Corbo and Valerie A. Carrano of the Ravenwood guesthouse at 462 Commercial Street; and Jenny Lind’s. It is a five-unit condominium.

[Updated 2012-01-01]

182 Commercial Street

Snip Salon | Ptown Massage + Bodywork

Just the shape of this building — never mind the retail overhaul of its front facade — should tip you off to its great age. A peek around the side, where there are half windows under the eaves, confirms the suspicion. The Historic District Survey places its construction roughly in 1830. F. Ronald Fowler (b 1946) — realist landscape painter, figurative artist, proprietor of the Fowler Gallery (formerly at 423 Commercial Street) and an illustrator of The New Joy of Gay Sex, lived here until recent years. More pictures and history»

184 Commercial Street

 
Marc by Marc Jacobs

What is now among the most up-to-date venues in Provincetown is a house that dates to the mid-19th century, according to the Historic District Survey. James Fuller owned the building at the turn of the 20th century, when it was denominated 181 Commercial Street. It was the home in the mid-1960s of Bert Perry (±1921-1966), the piano player for many seasons at the Ace of Spades Club across the street. More pictures and history»

193 Commercial Street

Roots
Commercial tenants in the streetfront space at 193 Commercial have included the most wonderfully named Pig ‘n Chick restaurant (1946), whose memorable motto was, “Take Me Quick to the Pig ‘n Chick”; Pablo’s Cuisine au Vin (1955), the Provincetown branch of a restaurant by the same name at 232 East 58th Street in Manhattan; the Skillet Restaurant (1961), which featured at least one Christmas in July event, two weeks of stuffed turkey dinners, “complete with Santa Claus, Xmas Tree, Carols and all holiday decorations.” Current tenants include the Roots housewares store. Toys of Eros was here until f In the streetfront retail spaces on the ground and second floor are Roots and Toys of Eros. The Pied Bar was being offered for sale in 2009 for $2,395,000.

195-199 Commercial Street

 
Café Heaven | Melt | Coffey Men

This is one of the most important commercial buildings in town, not least for the fact that it is astonishingly intact. It’s also significant as a wharfhead structure, though the wharf behind it is long gone. Tom Boland said of this storefront that it “survives as an excellent representation of commercial properties in the 19th century.” A comparison of photographs (above and to the right), taken about 120 years apart, discloses how little altered this building property has been. Even the three bays of nine large lights in the storefront persist. The most notable change is probably the dormer sheds that were added on either side of the gabled roof. Otherwise, it doesn’t take much visual imagination to conjure the day in the 1870s or 1880s, say, when this was John L. Rich’s men’s emporium, selling boots, shoes, clothing and accessories. A thorough account of the building’s first half-century comes to us through Herman A. Jennings in his book Provincetown, or Odds and Ends From the Tip End. More history»

205-09 Commercial Street

 
Aquarium Marketplace

Unlikely as it may seem today, this was an aquarium in the 1960s and early 1970s: the Provincetown Marine Aquarium. Jackie, Lady and Lucky — three Atlantic bottlenose dolphins — were the principal attraction. They spent their summers in a beachfront pool that’s now covered by a deck and occupied by the Aqua Bar. But those double-P ligatures in the facade of the building don’t stand for Provincetown. They stand for Paige Brothers Garage, which this building was. Constructed in 1920-21, it was Provincetown’s first all-brick building. Paige Brothers entered the “accommodation” business in 1912 and three years later, bought three motor buses which quickly drove their horsedrawn competitors “from the highway.” Two of the buses operated well into the 1930s. More pictures and history»

210 Commercial Street

Provincetown Fudge Factory |
Wonderful Hands Massage |
Henry & Company

Fondue, anyone? I look at this building aglow at night and picture a ski lodge where someone is singing Meglio Stasera. Happily for Midcentury Modernistas, Provincetown did not escape the A-frame craze of the 1950s and ’60s and this is a terrific example of the style. By the late 1970s, the Gryphon gift store occupied the entire frontage, which has since been divided. John Maguire Jr. and his wife, Deirdre (Morelli) Maguire (1958-2011) bought one of the four condominium units in 1986 for their Provincetown Fudge Factory. More pictures and history»

211-215 Commercial Street

Christina’s Jewelry | Wardrobe

This was the last home of the locally renowned Rush Fish Market, founded in 1921 by Frank E. Cabral and his brother, Joseph Cabral (d 1953). They moved the business here in 1942 and Frank operated it until 1966, when he retired. (“Fish Market Proprietor Retires After 61 Years in Business,” The Advocate, 3 November 1966.) The Cabrals were known in the West End as the “Rush Brothers” for the speeds at which they cut and wrapped fish. Christina’s Jewelry has been at No. 215 since 1982, a remarkable feat of continuity. It is owned by Christine Meegan. The Wardrobe women’s clothing boutique at No. 213 is owned by Stephen Carey.

212 Commercial Street

Global Gifts | Muir Music | Norma Glamp’s

Though it looks like part of a compound with the Art House theater — and is in fact on the same tax lot — 212 Commercial Street was constructed between 1850 and 1870. (The Long Point exhibit at the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum identifies it as a floater.) James Matenos owned the property in the mid-20th century and offered rooms for transients and ran a shoe repair shop. The building was firmly pinned on summer visitors’ retail map by 1960 with the Paraphernalia apparel store — “everything to make you Happily Dressed (except culottes!)” it declared in an ad just before Bastille Day. In 1963, Mary Rattray Kanovitz, a costume jeweler from the East Village, opened the Queen of Diamonds, a clothing and accessories store. More pictures and history»

† 220 Commercial Street

 
Oldest Shop

The Oldest Shop, which was torn down in 1966, can be thought of as Provincetown’s Penn Station; not in terms of grandeur, certainly, but as that beloved landmark everyone assumed would always be around — until it was razed in the name of economics. Noting the objections that greeted its demolition, The Advocate said in an editorial: “The group of protesting citizens could well form the nucleus of an historical society or of any organization dedicated to the preservation of old historic Provincetown landmarks. And there are still more than a few to be saved though they are fast disappearing. Let’s preserve — not memorialize!” More pictures and history»

227 Commercial Street

 
Little Store

The title tells the story, in an appealingly forthright New England kind of way. This is a little building, but it looms large for West Enders — quite truly a beacon — when they need some indispensable grocery, first-aid or cosmetic item at an hour when other businesses are closed or just too far away. 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»

230 Commercial Street

 
Front Street | Cortile Gallery

Opposite Lancy’s Wharf is a magnificently eccentric Second Empire pile built in 1874 for Benjamin Lancy, a merchant and ship owner. If it reminds you of an Addams Family tableau, you should know that Lancy reportedly kept his dead mother in her bedroom for three months in 1896, rather than try to bury her in winter. Local legend credits his father, also Benjamin Lancy, with refusing to allow Commercial Street to be laid out in a straight line in the West End. After Lancy died in 1923, the building was acquired by the Research Club, a history-minded civic group, to be used as the Historical Museum. More pictures and history»

235 Commercial Street

 
Marine Specialties

Marine Specialties is a sui generis establishment in a sui generic town. Its baroque offerings couldn’t contrast more sharply with its spartan home, which some sources describe as an early 20th-century automotive garage and others as a 1940s trap-fishing shed. The store was founded in 1961 and is owned by the Patrick family, sixth-generation Provincetown; indeed, for a time it was called Patrick’s Marine Specialties. Their motto, “Everything You Never Knew You Needed,” is worth keeping in mind if you’re seriously tempted by that 57-year-old Minnesota license plate. The store says it offers “army-navy surplus, ship’s salvage, and whatever else we come across.” More pictures and history»

† 237 Commercial Street

 
Provincetown Theater | Whaler’s Wharf

The most spectacular fire in Provincetown’s living memory — on the mild night of Tuesday, 10 February 1998 — destroyed the 79-year-old Provincetown Theater (by then known as Whaler’s Wharf), the abutting Handcrafter store and much of the Crown & Anchor, incidentally damaging Marine Specialties and threatening the Julie Heller Gallery before it was brought under control by firefighters and emergency workers who had rushed to the cape end from as far away as Plymouth. (The fire could be seen in Dennis.) “There goes our history,” one onlooker was quoted as saying in The Banner. And, yes, a lot of history was lost that night — though, fortunately, no lives were. More pictures and history»

242 Commercial Street

 
Tim’s Used Books
What a perfect entree to the world of Tim’s Used Books: through an almost-hidden gateway leading to a small path and a tiny bridge connecting to a tiny house, about 180 to 210 years old, set amid a glade of trees. The property has been owned since 1996 by Timothy F. Barry. Barry describes his career this way: “I’ve owned used six bookstores since 1989. A couple of them have been successful. The others failed. More pictures and history»

244 Commercial Street

Wild Hearts |
Mystik Moon
The out-of-control storefronts at 244 Commercial Street conceal one of the older buildings in town: a full Cape built around 1770. Like 234 Commercial Street, this building once had an ell extending to the sidewalk line that was at one time the Provincetown Gallery and Frame Makers. The current tenants include the Wild Hearts, which sells sex toys and accessories for women; and Mystik Moon, which specializes, as the name suggests, in the occult. More pictures and history»

246 Commercial Street

 
Porthole Building | Provincetown Bookshop | Galadriel’s Mirror

In an era when small-scale, independent bookselling seems to be as perilous a way to make a living as small-scale, independent fishing, it is a comfort in every way to walk into the Provincetown Bookshop, a general interest bookstore in congenially cramped quarters with smart selections in many fields. It has been in business for 78 years (as of 2010) — the last 47 of them under the same management and the last 70 of them exactly where you’ll find the store now: the Port-Hole Building, an Art Moderne commercial extension of Captain Philip Cook’s large, Greek Revival-style house, which was built around 1850. Look above the ocean-liner curves of the storefront, best from across the street, and you’ll see the old house clearly. More pictures and history»

251-253 Commercial Street

 
Shalom’s Gift Shop

One of the most important surviving 19th-century commercial properties, this long, two-story structure — built before 1858 — was known at one time as the Wharf Head Building, as it was owned by A. Young and stood at the head of Young’s Wharf (later Charley Cook’s Wharf). It was the location of the town’s first telegraph office and the Nautilus Club met for a time on the second floor. More pictures and history»

252 Commercial Street

 
Adams (Formerly Adams Pharmacy)

You can’t get a prescription filled here any longer, but it will be years before they stop calling Adams a pharmacy, since that’s what it was from 1875 until 2009, when the prescription service was sold to Stop & Shop. Adams describes itself as the “oldest business in continuous operation at one location in Provincetown” and it remains a nexus of civic life of city life, as it has long been; home to the town’s first telephone switchboard in the early 1900s and, until 2003, to an old-fashioned soda fountain. Paradoxically, the soda fountain was taken out by Vincent Duarte, the current owner of Adams, to safeguard the privacy of pharmacy clients — but now there aren’t any clients and there isn’t any soda fountain. More pictures and history»

255-257 Commercial Street

 
Former Post Office | Cotton Gallery

Given its handsome, handmade neo-Classical architectural details; its history and age; its complexity; and the relative lack of modern “improvements,” 255-257 Commercial Street may qualify as the most interesting commercial building downtown. And its significance is greatly enhanced by the presence of a similar building next door, at No. 251-253. Both are owned by the Shalom family. “This building, in concert with 251-253 Commercial are excellent examples of early wharf head buildings,” Tom Boland wrote in the Historic District Survey. “Both survive largely intact from their original design and create a definite sense of streetscape.” More pictures and history»

259-263 Commercial Street

Snow Building | Lily Pond | Paws & Whiskers

Two three-and-a-half-story buildings, built before 1858, are joined by a one-story “hyphen” at 259-263 Commercial Street. Obadiah Snow bought No. 261 in 1873 and No. 263 in 1875. Here he sold household furnishings and fancy goods. There is a rich history of the Snow family — and several revealing pictures of these buildings — the chapter “The Photographer and His Surroundings,” in Irma Ruckstuhl’s Old Provincetown in Early Photographs. James Arthur Lopes (±1904-2001), who made his home at 120 Bradford Street, moved his men’s store here to the Snow Building in 1954. The store was in business until 1973. (“James Arthur Lopes, 97,” The Banner, 10 May 2001.) Residents in 1984 included the artist Cynthia H. Packard (b 1957). Recent retail tenants have included the Lily Pond gift store and Paws & Whiskers a pet store.

265-267 Commercial Street

 
Former Provincetown Advocate Building | WayDownTown

One of the most elaborate surviving storefronts from the early 20th century had every reason to be so ornate, since it was once The Provincetown Advocate Post Card Shop — the premier showcase for the image of Provincetown; source of the pictures and artifacts that would convey the town’s charms around the nation. From the late 1930s through the mid-1960s, the Town Crier Shop occupied the space with a much more generalized inventory including housewares, stationery, toys and gifts. More pictures and history»

273 Commercial Street

Diane Z

Malchman’s was a long-lived sportswear and clothing store that occupied several key properties downtown, but this is where it grew up. The firm was founded in 1919 by H. N. Malchman. This building was constructed for Malchman in 1921. (“Town Crier Shop Sold to Local Man,” The Advocate, 29 December 1966.) In late 1966, Malchman’s son, Nathan, bought the Town Crier shop at 265-267 Commercial Street and moved the main business there, and used this structure to house his Shoe Port shop, which came out of the Porthole Building at 246 Commercial Street. There are now large plate-glass windows on both floors of its front facade. More pictures and history»

274-276 Commercial Street

 
Former Seamen’s Savings Bank | Cabot’s Candy | Shell Shop

Salt-water taffy and seashells. You can almost hear Patti Page singing Old Cape Cod. But this substantial commercial building was not constructed as the unofficial headquarters of long-ago summertime fantasy. It was built in 1892, in Queen Anne style, as the headquarters of the Seamen’s Savings Bank, which occupied the building until 1964, when the new — and still current — headquarters opened at 221-223 Commercial Street. The tenants here are Cabot’s Candy of Cape Cod, owned and run since 1969 by Giovanni “John” Cicero (b 1943), and the Shell Shop, owned and run by Cynthia “Cindi” Gast, which has been in business since 1974. More pictures and history»

277-277A Commercial Street

 
Walter Welsh Council of the Knights of Columbus | Shor | Outer Cape Kites & Toys | Cape Cod Gourmet | Cafe Maria | Himalayan Handicrafts

Forget Town Hall. It might reasonably be argued that for a time in the mid-20th century, the real locus of political power in Provincetown was upstairs in this building, in the hall owned and used by the Walter Welsh Council (Council No. 2476) of the Knights of Columbus, and by the affiliated St. Peter’s Club. This was where the leaders of the Portuguese Roman Catholic community sat. And where they sat, there was the head of the table. For instance, when the Knights of Columbus publicly appealed to every business in town to close for three hours on the afternoon of Good Friday — as they did each year — it’s a safe bet that most proprietors complied, no matter their religious beliefs, if for no other reason than to keep the custom of Catholic shoppers. More pictures and history»

279-281 Commercial Street

 
Penney Patch Candies | CC’s Cape Cod Jewelry | Hair by the Sea | Bead Garden | Mojo’s

There is probably no other taffy, fudge and candy store in Provincetown — perhaps none on the face of the earth — that can claim to be source for the title of a John Waters movie. But the slogan of a candy lipstick sold by Penney Patch, “Eat up your make up,” inspired the title Eat Your Makeup (1968). More pictures and history»

281-283 Commercial Street

Exuma Fine Jewelry

Street numbers are a fairly fugitive thing in Provincetown, so it’s difficult sometimes to know with precision whether No. 283 in one generation is the No. 279 of another. That’s to say that some of these businesses may have been in other buildings, but a tentative historical roster would include the Mira Mar Beauty Shop (No. 283 in the late 1930s), Cre’s Dress Shop (No. 285 in the mid-40s), Alfred Hair Stylist (No. 283 in the late 1940s), Hubert’s Country Kitchen (No. 281 in the late 1950s), the Monument Fish Company (No. 281 in the early 1960s), Barrett’s Candy Shop (No. 283 in the mid-60s). It is certainly the home now of Exuma Fine Jewelry, established in 1971.

286-288 Commercial Street

 
Former Star Theater | Former Board Stiff | Hocus Pocus

In January 2012, Shop Therapy and Spank the Monkey moved to this building from 344-346 Commercial Street. • Forensic architectural investigation is often aided by obvious clues. The false front on the two-story building at 286-288 Commercial Street looks nothing like its gable-roofed neighbors. That’s because it was built in 1910 as a theater — the Star Theater — Provincetown’s first movie house. The theater was developed by Albert Zerbone (±1872-1959), who’d come to New Bedford from the Azores when he was four years old and began his career as an exhibitor in Provincetown by showing movies at the Masonic lodge. Zerbone’s projectionist was his cousin, Antone Joseph Viera. The theater was leased beginning in 1918, to Frank Knowles Atkins (±1877-1940), prorietor of the town’s second movie house, the Pilgrim Theater, at 293 Commercial Street. More pictures and history»

290 Commercial Street

 
Former First National Bank of Provincetown | Puzzle Me This

With its second-story pilasters supporting a proudly monumental pediment, 290 Commercial Street certainly looks at first glance like something more than your ordinary retail building. (Never mind the current hot-pink paint job.) Indeed it was: the First National Bank of Provincetown. The original structure, whose extent can be discerned from the bracketed portion of the side eaves, was constructed in 1854. Eugene O’Neill was among the bank’s customers, and his signature card survives. In 1921, the first floor of the structure was extended across the front lawn and up to the sidewalk line. The upper two floors were extended later. The bank remained here until 1950, when it opened its new headquarters at 170 Commercial Street. More pictures and history»

291 Commercial Street

 
Town House Mall | Cuffy’s

Two buildings compose this commercial front: a three-story, gable-front structure from the 19th century and a one-story eastern annex that was added sometime around the 1940s. In both guises, this building has long been a busy presence downtown, back to the late 1800s, when it was Mrs. L. Jane Dyer’s Dining Rooms and Bakery. At the time, it was denominated 272 Commercial Street, and it shared the lot with Nickerson’s granite works. More pictures and history»

† 293 Commercial Street

 
Boston Fruit Stand

Where the Pilgrim Theater had stood, Alexander “Alex” Sideropoulos (d 1961) opened the Boston Fruit Stand in the late 1930s or early 1940s. His “smile brightens the mid-Commercial business section,” The Advocate said. Sam Janoplis of the Mayflower Café would occasionally pinch hit at the stand.

296 Commercial Street

Lotus Guest House | Body Body

A two-and-a-half story shingled commercial structure, with a prominent polygonal corner turret, that was built around 1900 in Queen Anne style. This building would be best remembered by old-timers — real old-timers — as the Cutler Pharmacy. An early use of the word “gay” as a synonym for homosexual can be found in a 1951 anecdote told by “Bossy” McGady in his uninhibited newspaper column: “A ‘Gay Boy’ dashes into Cutler’s, in an awful tizzy, forgot the new eye brow pencil ‘it’ had just purchased.” (“Up Along and Down Along, The Advocate, 16 August 1951.) In the 1970s, this was a restaurant known as Mother Marion’s. It is currently the Lotus Guest House, owned and run by Jeff and Gurli Lovinger. More pictures and hsitory»

299 Commercial Street

 
Provincetown Portuguese Bakery

Readers of Building Provincetown have been known to wonder what could possibly fuel me for seemingly nonstop work when I’m in town. O.K. Here’s my confession: malasadas from the Portuguese Bakery (and foot-longs from John’s). Even visitors who were scarcely aware of Provincetown’s Portuguese heritage when they arrived can’t pull themselves away from the pastry cases of this modest but venerable town institution. And natives have even fonder memories. “The smells from that bakery were irresistible,” Mary-Jo Avellar recalled, saving special praise for the Viana bread, which she was dispatched to buy once or twice a week as a girl. “I used to have a hard time bringing it home without having eaten a sizable chunk.” More pictures and history»

306-306A Commercial Street

Drinkx Culture

Most famously, this was Patrick’s News Store — or Newsstand or News Dealer — where out-of-town newspapers like The New York Times could be purchased; a commodity especially prized in the pre-Internet days by longterm visitors who wanted to keep up with events off Cape. (The actor Burgess Meredith was one such customer in 1957, during the period in which his career was crippled by the Hollywood blacklisting.) The business was founded by Joseph Patrick in the late 19th century, when it was chiefly a grocery and fruit store. More pictures and history»

308-310 Commercial Street

 
New York Store Condominium | Cotton Gin | Lewis Brothers Homemade Ice Cream | Recovering Hearts (2 Standish Street) | Earth (2 Standish Street) | Ptown Mini Mart (4 Standish Street) | Art’s Dune Tours (4 Standish Street)

“Weirmen ask for the crack- and snag-proof rubber boot, the best make in the world,” the New York Store declared in 1899. Not to say that milady couldn’t find shirtwaists, capes, ribbons and laces. The New York Store had it all. It stayed in business through nine decades and its name endures on the building that housed its flagship. (There was at one time a branch store at 161 Commercial Street.) Just why it was called the New York Store is something of mystery until some knowledgeable reader lets me know. More pictures and history»