89 Bradford Street

"Grace Gouveia," by Frank Milby (ND). Courtesy of the Provincetown History Preservation Project (Town Art Collection).Sundeck Condominium
(Includes 10 and 12 Masonic Place)

The old Gouveia home at 89 Bradford Street is the centerpiece of this complex, multilevel condominium whose several entrances conform to the abrupt grade change at Bradford and Masonic Place; a change so steep that it is closed to vehicles, but open to pedestrians over a short flight of steps. It’s almost impossible to tell from the street that the Gouveia house is connected with 12 Masonic Place and 10 Masonic Place (known as Tower House). In the hearts of longtime residents, though, No. 89 is a cherished landmark as the home of Graciette “Grace” Leocadia (Gouveia) Collinson (±1910-1998), a teacher and community organizer whose memory is honored at the municipal Grace Gouveia Building, 26 Alden Street. More pictures and history»

100 Bradford Street

Provincetown had hand-cranked telephones until 1938, when 100 Bradford Street was built as the switching center for the New England Telephone and Telegraph Company, allowing customers to lift their receivers to summon an operator. Until 1966, 16 telephone operators stood by, greeting callers: “Number please.” After Provincetown converted to direct dialing, this was briefly the Chrysler Glass Museum, home of Walter P. Chrysler’s collection of Sandwich glass. The Advocate moved here in 1975 and undertook an expansion and modernization in 1977, designed by John Moberg of Mobic Design-Build in Cambridge, with a newsroom, composing room and two darkrooms. (The presses were out of town.) More pictures and history »

101 Bradford Street

A striking articulation of Greek Revival style, this house (c1840/60) is further distinguished by the orientation of its setback ell, which creates an appealing front courtyard. In the late 40s and early 50s, this was the home of Charles F. Ross, the superintendent of schools, and his wife, Marjorie Ferranti. It has rarely been used for any public purpose, though in the 1950s it served briefly as the summertime branch of the Boris Mirski Gallery. Mirski (1898-1974) had his main gallery at 166 Newbury Street in Boston. Tim Barry, the owner of Tim’s Books, 242 Commercial Street, bought this building in 2002. Picture essay and history »

109 Bradford Street

Napoleon E. “Gene” Poyant didn’t have much of a commute from his home in this Bradford Street house (c1840), tucked behind the old Congregational church next to Town Hall. In the 1950s and 60s, he ran Gene’s Bakery on the Commercial Street side of the church. The small plaza was one of the liveliest spots in town, especially after 1960 when he opened what he called a “French sidewalk cafe” — Café Poyant, surely one of the first in town. Poyant, who was from Acushnet, served in the Coast Guard during World War II and found himself stationed at Race Point, “where he acquired his first love for Provincetown,” The Advocate said. (“Gene Poyant Seeks Selectman Post,” The Advocate, March 4, 1965.) Picture essay and more history »

120 Bradford Street

Two of the best known stores of the mid-20th century were the Men’s Shop, 261 Commercial Street, and Nelson’s Market, 150 Bradford Street. Their proprietors — the Lopes and Nelson families — lived in this house, which was built between 1840 and 1850, according to the Historic District Survey. Occupants of the house would have had front-row seats to the 1919 parade welcoming home the veterans of the Great War (Provincetown History Preservation Project). James Arthur Lopes (±1866-1942) and Mary “Minnie” Lopes were living here by the 1940s. More pictures and history

135 Bradford Street

Cater-corner from the passenger depot, this house (c1900) was once owned by the New Haven Railroad and was the home of the stationmaster, A. E. Slade. It served as the first Fine Arts Work Center from 1968 to 1972, before the center moved to Pearl Street. Commercial tenants have included the Cheshire Cats boutique, Meetinghouse restaurant, Different Ducks restaurant, Tropical Joe’s restaurant (where the Kinsey Sicks played) and Cyber Cove business center. In 2006 the original section of the building was bought and restored by Neal Kimball of Kimball Residential Design. The building is reportedly haunted, said Susan Leonard, who works there.

151 Bradford Street

Ferdinand R. “Fred” Salvador, a native of Olhao, Portugal, was a leading fisherman from the 1920s through the 70s. With his brother, Louis A. Salvador, who abutted him on 11 Johnson, he operated the Shirley & Roland and the Stella. He also skippered the C. R. & M., named for his children, Carol Ann (Salvador) Silva, Richard Salvador and Michael Salvador; and the Michael Ann, which was still working in 2007 – the oldest wood-hulled boat in the town fleet – as the Chico-Jess. Richard and Michael fished with him, as did his stepson Anthony R. Leonard, of 7 Alden Street. Salvador registered the deed on this house (±1870) on Feb. 15, 1944, evidently intending it as a birthday present for his wife, Philomena Valentine (Cordeiro) Salvador, who was born on Valentine’s Day. ¶ Updated, 2012-10-24

174 Bradford Street

174 Bradford is both the address and the name of this rental property, an 1850 house that rises over a lush garden on the corner of Priscilla Alden Road. The property at 174 Bradford Street was acquired by Mitchell Baker and Thom Egan in 2003. The house has three bedrooms and can accommodate up to six guests, who paid as much as $3,500 a week in 2008. Baker and Egan live in the cottage at 5 Priscilla Alden Road for most of the year except winter, when they occupy the main house. “We are in the midst of creating a large victory garden in the back half of the property,” they said on their Web site.

175 Bradford Street

Not the usual Cape Cod-Kennedy connection: this 1920s bungalow with a wisteria pergola, set on a rise over Bradford Street, was owned in the 1990s by Windle Davis and his partner Dini Lamot, of the band Human Sexual Response. “Jackie Onassis” is arguably the band’s best-known song. Lamont underscored its message in a music video he performed as Musty Chiffon, his drag alter ego. Reed Boland purchased the property in 1999.

194 Bradford Street

Ice. To generations accustomed to electrically-powered refrigeration and air-conditioning (even the author, old as he is, counts himself in this happy crowd), it is probably impossible to convey how important a commodity ice once was; especially in a community whose livelihood depended on the most perishable foodstuffs. If you were a fisherman or a homemaker, you needed ice. And if you needed ice, chances were pretty good that you were dealing with Joseph G. DeRiggs (±1874-1954) or his son Charles J. DeRiggs (b1895). The older DeRiggs arrived in this country from Fayal in the Azores when he was two years old. More history »

196 Bradford Street

The porch as proscenium arch. This handsome, low-slung, bungalow-style home was built in 1920 in what was a little compound of the DeRiggs family. Joseph G. DeRiggs, whose parents had come from Fayal, Azores, founded the DeRiggs Ice Company in 1897 and ran the business from 194 Bradford next door. The ice itself was stored down at Pilgrim Lake (then called East Harbor). Customers would obtain their ice in prepaid quantities from 10 to 100 pounds. His son Charles J. DeRiggs, who succeeded him in the business, lived here. As Charadel, this house also took in summer visitors.

204 Bradford Street

The little outbuilding on the front lawn is the main event here: a neo-Classical folly that was a garage until 1977 when the ornamentation was added and it was converted to a cottage. The property — cottage and main house — was owned until 1944 by the artist Nancy Ferguson (1869-1967). It was purchased by Fredric “Fritz” Varady (1908-2002), an artist and magazine illustrator, who brought a smart-set 1950s style to Norman Rockwell-like vignettes. It’s been owned by the O’Hara family since 1968. [Updated 2012-02-03]

214 Bradford Street

Foley House

“This house is proof that we are family here in Provincetown,” Alice Foley said in 1996 at the dedication of Foley House, a congregate home for 10 people living with HIV and AIDS. Foley cofounded the Provincetown AIDS Support Group (now the AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod), whose housing director, Irene Rabinowitz, worked on this project with the Provincetown Housing Authority. The effort began as a renovation, but the contractor demolished the existing structure in 1995. It was then rebuilt.

The original house was the home until 1952 of Jonathan C. “Jot” Small, “one of the last of the truly salty Cape Cod personages,” The Advocate said. He accompanied Admiral Donald B. MacMillan on several trips to the Arctic and returned with the skill needed to build an especially fast class of sailboat known as the Eskimo.

217 Bradford Street

Great Italianate brackets at the front door punctuate this otherwise plain building, which was constructed between 1870 and 1880. The well-loved Elizabeth I. “Lizzie” Livingston (±1879-1945) made her home at 217 Bradford Street in the early 20th century. Around 1918, she opened a candy, ice cream and soda store at 409 Commercial Street. “She has sold penny candy during her quarter of a century to Provincetown mothers and fathers when they were children, just as she served their children,” The Advocate noted at the time of her retirement in 1943, forced by ill health. “And, she said, the older folk don’t change much. They still edge over with a hankering toward the penny candy case.” (“Old Candy Shop Now in New Hands,” The Advocate, July 15, 1943.)

Her parents were Nova Scotian: Capt. Alexander Livingston of Cape Bretton and Susan Doggett Livingston of Liverpool. Before opening her candy store, Miss Livingston had worked in the stationery, magazine and news shop run by Fred Dearborn, who was married to her sister Addie, and in a jewelry and news shop run by Henry Wippich. “One of Miss Livingston’s interesting hobbies was elephants fashioned from bone, ivory and other materials,” The Advocate reported, without noting whether she made or collected them. (“Death Removes Miss Livingston,” The Advocate, Aug. 30, 1945.)

Francis W. Stark (b ±1911) was living here by the late 1940s. As an agent for the Whitehead Brothers Sand Company in the early 1950s, he was instrumental in seeing to the delivery of the clean sand from Beach Point that the company donated to the Howland Street playground (now the Muriel Greensfelder Playground) at 211½ Bradford Street. It may be that Stark is still alive and a centenarian.

222 Bradford Street

The Tasha family is so closely associated with the Tasha Hill compound on Howland Street, and the dune shack that passed to the Tashas from the poet Harry Kemp, that it’s almost surprising to find another family landmark. But here it is, in a mid-19th-century home that has — mercifully — not yet been gussied up. This was the home of John Tasha (d 1954), a fisherman and Grand Banker who had come to Provincetown at 14 from São Miguel in the Azores, and his wife, Mary (Carlos) Tasha. It was also home to Mary Tasha’s brother, Capt. Antone “Tony” Carlos (d 1955), the foreman at the Consolidated Weir Company plant, and his wife, Catherine (Days) Carlos (d 1932).

Tasha’s son, Herman J. Tasha, also lived here with his wife, Rose “Sunny” (Savage) Tasha. Advertisements for Sunny’s Nursery — “Swimming Lessons, Nature Study, All Things Children Like” — appeared in The Advocate in 1933. Even though the center of gravity in family life shifted over to Tasha Hill, this property remains in the family.

Its occupants left their mark. Two years after Captain Carlos died, Kemp wrote a poem celebrating him as a fixture of the Bradford Street scene, in a chair in his front yard.

Don’t take his chair in; let it stay outside
Where still the four horizons broaden wide:
He belonged there; and there he chose to sit
Till strong rain swept him, or extreme cold bit,
Or high winds rose to rock each anchored boat —
Then he would only fetch a heavier coat.

You say he’s GONE? I don’t accept your saying;
He, like our Monument, was built for staying,
For every time I walk up Bradford Street,
I find him sitting in his outdoor seat;
A thicker substance gathers out of air;
Again I feel the old man sitting there!

Historic District Survey, main house • Historic District Survey, workshop • Historic District Survey, shed • Assessor’s Online Database ¶ Updated 2013-02-10


226 Bradford Street

King’s Highway Stagecoach Stop

A terrific vestige of early times, this three-quarter Cape is known as the King’s Highway Stagecoach Stop and is said in popular lore to have been built around 1775 in Truro to serve stage coaches on their way from Eastham along the King’s Highway, when King George III was sovereign around these parts (to the extent that anyone ever was). The historic district survey is more guarded, putting the construction date range as 1790 to 1820. In the 1930s, the designer and sculptor Saul Yalkert and his wife, Ruth Dyer, meticulously restored the building.

228 Bradford Street

A full Cape at 228 Bradford Street, built in 1850 in the Greek Revival style, was once the home of William Hoontis (d 2004) and Cliff Cowgill, partners in life and in business: the Cheese Market, where they were known to townspeople simply as Bill and Cliff. They operated the Cheese Market from 1978 to 1986 and also Clifford-William Antiques at 225 Commercial Street.

230-230A Bradford Street

Sweetly contrary to the gigantism of our own times, the three-quarter Cape is a vanishing species. So 230 Bradford Street is a joy to encounter. It was built between 1800 and 1830. Ric Ide and Matt Mirisola acquired it in 2003. They operate 230A Bradford Street (the house on the ridge, just visible over the roof gable) as a rental property called Ptown Cottage.

236R Bradford Street

Farfalla (“Mushroom House”)

Hidden deep in the woods — a fantasy spot for generations of neighborhood children who knew it as the “Mushroom House” — is one of the few serious works of mid-century Modernism in Provincetown. And almost no one knows it’s there. (Be forewarned. You can’t see it from Bradford Street.) It is “Farfalla.” Butterfly, in Italian; so named in 1953 by its 23-year-old architect, Donald Jasinski, and Warren Hassmer, with whom he spent summers in the cottage. They also named the nearby hill “Fair Phoebus.” The analogy to a flying creature is especially apt, since this little building (about 250 square feet) prefigures Eero Saarinen’s T.W.A. terminal at Kennedy International Airport, whose shape is often likened to a gull in flight.

One delightful difference between this concrete shell and Saarinen’s: it’s covered in vegetation. This was a green building a half-century early. “Planting on the roof was planned as a future project,” Jasinksi told me. “Never did get to it, but Mother Nature took over.”

Though it doesn’t look at all like a dune shack, Farfalla is very much in the Provincetown tradition of freewheeling, amenity-free summer dwellings without a 90-degree angle in sight, which encouraged their occupants to be creative, to commune with nature and to keep their lives simple. In July 2010, Jasinski answered my questions about the origins of the house with this lovely account. (At the time, he was still practicing, in Waterville Valley, N.H., as Jasinski Architects International.)

“There never were any drawings,” he wrote. “It was built by marking out the plan directly on what looked like the best location on the ground, and developing the ideas for the shape and size of the structure from there. … The structure is all thin-shell concrete; i.e., rebar bent to the desired shapes, expanded metal lath attached to the rebar and white, waterproof Portland cement, hand-troweled on several coats to build up a 3- to 3-1/2-inch thickness. There is no structural steel. The strong curved forms created by the sidewalls as they bend become the floors, and replace the need for standard foundation walls.”

“It never entered our heads to get a permit,” Jasinski replied to my question about how on earth could Town Hall have allowed such an unorthodox structure in the early 1950s. Besides, he added: “It was all fireproof. It didn’t fit into any category. And Ptown is/was Ptown.”

If you detect as much Gaudí in Farfalla as Saarinen, you’re on to something. Inspired by a recent trip to Barcelona, Jasinski said he added broken bits of tile and glass to the built-in concrete kitchen counter top. The sculptural medallions embedded in the pavement were also an homage to Gaudí, he said. I happen to think the sensuous curving of the exterior wall into a window box has a certain Catalan influence, too.

Deluxe, it was not. “There is no bathroom,” Jasinski said. “We used the facilities of our neighbors, Yela Brichta, Gizi and Elemir Kardos and Diana Kemeny.” The kitchen was similarly rudimentary. “We used Sterno and other portable cooking heaters. There was no electricity. It was only meant for summer use, although there is a fireplace. We did a little cooking in it too. Nestling into the slope did help keep the better part at a constant temperature.”

Its situation, partly in the hillside, earned Farfalla another distinction. “The local kids nicknamed it the Mushroom House right away, and thought we must be elves!” Jasinski recalled. He said he had used the cottage on and off for about five years before moving on and leaving his share to Hassmer, who continued to spend summers in Farfalla, with Bob Hayward, and also used the cottage to practice the flute.

Even 50 years later, Jasinski’s fondness for Farfalla is plain.

“We loved it,” he recalled. “We wished we had the money to put in plumbing and electricity and make it bigger, but it suited our needs at the time. The garden gave us some veggies and flowers — and pleasure, too. I was satisfied in that it served its purpose. It was like a student project.”

In 1959, Jasinski and Clinton Seeley opened the East End Gallery at 491 Commercial Street, which they maintained for seven or eight years, until Jasinki moved to New Hampshire. What lessons did he draw from Farfalla? “Of course, I’ve learned to insulate properly for year-round use; i.e. double low-E glass, foam or other insulation for walls, floors and roofs,” Jasinski said, “and, above all, selecting a site with good exposure to the southern sun.”

Hassmer sold the property in 1995 to Richard P. “Rick” Wrigley, the developer of the Provincetown Bungalow Haven complex on adjoining property, as well as his own large home on Fair Phoebus Hill. Wrigley actually spent one summer in Farfalla, but then converted it into a garden shed. But he’s not through with it yet, and envisions an exterior renovation and re-landscaping.

“It is a charming structure and I would like to restore it to its former beauty,” Wrigley wrote to me in August 2010. “Several friends have suggested using it as a guest cottage. If I could solve the dampness issue — not to mention obtaining permits, and installing a bathroom — this would be a perfect use.”

Picture essay

242 Bradford Street

A venerable, classic full Cape built about 210 years ago, this house had an eccentric brush with notoriety. In the late 60s, Benito Norcisa and his wife, Pamela Norcisa, moved their Penny Farthing restaurant here, from 237 Bradford. For a time, their upstairs tenant was Glenn Milstead — better recalled as the luminous John Waters star, Divine — who ran a thrift shop here called Divine Trash. Channing Wilroy recalled that Divine sold old clothes, china, bric-a-brac and stuff from the Truro dump until he got caught for operating without a permit and hauled into Town Hall. At that point, Mink Stole came to his defense: “We need stores like this in town for people like me.”

“I lived in the bottom apartment from 2006 to 2009,” Darren Showers said in a November 2009 comment to Building Provincetown. “It’s a very charming house. I was told by the owner, Cindy Binder, that it is one of the oldest homes in Provincetown. I put the flag up on the fence: the Tibetan flag to show support on freeing Tibet. Also, Ryan Landry used to rent here.” Landry is a playwright and entertainer, and the “Showgirls” impresario.

Other resources

Tax map 15-2

Property record

Historic district survey

245 Bradford Street

Harbor Mist Condominium
The Old Whaler Cottages formed the kind of modest cottage colony around a central courtyard that one would expect to see out at Beach Point. But here it was near the middle of town. (Of course, it was not much less exposed to the elements; a hurricane in 1947 left one of the cottages partly upended.) Beginning in the early 1930s, the complex was known as the Old Whaler, under the proprietorship of John Perry Woods (±1897-1952), the son of John P. and Monica D’Avellar Woods. (“John Perry Woods,” The Advocate, Nov. 20, 1952.) More pictures and history »