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 »

238 Bradford Street

Provincetown Theater

Against a tradition of impromptu theater spaces, a purpose-built playhouse opened in June 2004 in the reconstructed Provincetown Mechanics garage (formerly Cape End Motors). It is now the 130-to-145-seat Provincetown Theater. It was developed by the Provincetown Theater Foundation as a home for the Provincetown Theatre Company (founded 1963) and the Provincetown Repertory Theatre (founded 1995), and designed by Brown Lindquist Fenuccio & Raber of Yarmouthport. More pictures and history »

9-11 Carver Street

Gifford House Inn
In a resort town where accommodations come and go by the year — and by the dozens — the Gifford House Inn is an astonishing stalwart. It is more than 140 years old. With 77 Bradford Street, it occupies the crest of Mill Hill, from which surprisingly generous vistas of the town and harbor can be enjoyed. Beautiful, it is not. Grand, it is not. But with 26 guest rooms and the Club Purgatory, Porchside Lounge and Thai Sushi Café by Ying, it’s certainly lively. And that’s saying a lot for a hotel of its age — whatever that age may be. More pictures and history»

† Wharf at 83 Commercial Street

Wharf Players Theater
Theater was taken so very seriously in Provincetown in the early 20th century that schisms arose. Mary Bicknell’s Wharf Theater, founded in 1923, first performed in a movie theater, then moved briefly to Frank Shay’s barn. Both factions — Bicknell’s and Shay’s — sought to dominate at this playhouse. The more conservative Bicknell group tried to get the upper hand by walking off with benches, props and equipment. In 1925, they built their own theater, on what had been known as the Myrick Atwood Wharf. More pictures and history»

214 Commercial Street

Art House | D. Flax | Frappo 66

A decade after remaking the old Congregational church at 256-258 Commercial Street into the Art Cinema in 1954, George I. Shafir of New York set out to build a movie theater from the ground up: the New Art Cinema, reached through an arcade of shops housed in substantively altered older structures. (No. 214 is idenitified as a floater in the Long Point exhibit at the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum.) You can still see the juncture between old and new buildings from the alleyway. The architect was Burnett V. Vickers of Orleans, who also designed an expansion of the Provincetown Inn. The most interesting feature is the carved wood signpost, which Roslyn Garfield told me was the work of the Joan Wye (±1926-2006). 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»

237 Commercial Street

Whaler’s Wharf

After the devastating 1998 fire, a project was undertaken to rebuild Whaler’s Wharf — or rather, to build a new and larger commercial structure of the same name at 237 Commercial Street. The developers worked with Ginny Binder of Binder Boland Associates. The design was clearly intended to evoke the monumental central arch of the 1919 Provincetown Theatre. The interior was a kind of last-gasp homage to the Festival Marketplace multilevel urban shopping arcade. But the size of the building turned out to be a matter of considerable controversy. And it’s worth asking how attractive a modern shopping mall can be when Commercial Street beckons outside. More pictures and history»