73A Commercial Street

Captain Jack’s Wharf

No matter whether you’ve ever set foot here, the quirky, odd-angled, salt-crusted, sea-infused Captain Jack’s Wharf has almost undoubtedly helped form your mental picture of Provincetown. Even now, its eccentric and ramshackle charm seems largely intact, though a consultation with its asking rates will quickly dispel any idea that this is still a Bohemian paradise. Captain Jack — Jackson R. Williams — was born in Provincetown in 1861. He was a fisherman through the 1880s. He applied to the commonwealth in 1897 to build a 100-foot wharf from his property at 73½ Commercial Street. He later added 100 more feet. Then he began to cater to the tourist trade. 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»

† Wharf at 99-101 Commercial Street

Union Wharf
The 1,000-foot-long Union Wharf, constructed in about 1830-31, was one of the largest and most important wharves in town. A marine railway at the end drew vessels up to a building with a large notch in its gabled roof to accommodate bowsprits, so that the hull could be brought that much higher and closer. More pictures and history»

† Wharf at 163 Commercial Street

Central Wharf
Central Street takes its name from Central Wharf, built before 1880. It was destroyed or badly damaged in the Portland Gale of 1898. (The storm takes its name from the passenger steamboat Portland, which went down with the loss of 150 to 200 lives.) The 1,000-foot pier had a marine railway, sheds for various crafts and trades, and four ballast rooms. The Groziers built a boathouse on the wharf.