You can reach David W. Dunlap directly through:
david [dot] w [dot] dunlap [at] gmail [dot] com
Please comment here with any general critiques or suggestions about the overall site. (Scroll almost all the way to the bottom of the page, and you’ll find a “Leave a reply” box.) For corrections, remarks and new information or anecdotes about specific buildings or properties, please submit your comment at the bottom of the individual entries.
Please use your full name. Anonymous or pseudonymous comments won’t be posted.
This is looking amazing. The photos are wonderful – you have captured familiar places through a new eye. The comments seem just right, informative, thrifty and interesting, not to mention well written. I particularly like the personal stories with equal focus on lesser-known tales.
I say power on.
Hi David – this is amazing!
One thought on the “About the Site” page – end of first paragraph – it would be more precise to say “in the Provincetown National Register Distrct” instead of “the official Historic Distrct.”
[Eric, thank you for your suggestion. It’s been done. DWD]
It’s remarkable! I am particularly taken by the Portuguese heritage and demolished structures sections, although the extensive entry (with spectacular photos) on the West End Breakwater is my favorite so far.
One suggestion I have at the moment is for a prominent link on all pages to a map of the entire town. I often wondered about the specific location of streets.
This looks wonderful. Looking forward to the Mayflower.
I bought 9 Arch from from Arthur and Irving in about 1974 or 77 (don’t have info to hand) until 2005, or was it 2006?, when Jim and Gary bought it.
The date on the plaque is wrong as I discovered after Claude Jensen put it up as he did all the other plaques. I discovered later from George Bryant and a builder whose name I no longer have that the house dates from 1790 based on inspection of the ceiling beams and other internal evidence. 9 Arch may even be one of the houses that was floated over from Long Point or Truro.
Your site is interesting, is intuitive in its organization and visually compelling. Thank you for posting and doing all that work.
Really Cool! Well done!
Hi, I just wanted to say I love your site. I have actually been lucky enough to have grown up in one of these Shacks. My family has put out a book titled Traditional Dune Dwellers: A Way of Life on the Backshore of Provincetown and Truro, available at Blurb.
My family has devoted their lives to the preservation of the Dune shacks and show their devotion through this book, with beautiful historic pictures, and also my father, Peter Clemons is an artist devoted to painting the dunes and shacks and all that is precious on the backshore. Please check out our book and Facebook page @Backshoregallery!
Thank you for this website!
Thanks for this wonderful site. Best Provincetown site ever!
By the way, love this site.
I found the site just today and have had time to just dip into it, mostly looking for particular buildings that have personal meaning for me. I lived in Ptown on and off in the late 1970s and early 1980s, visited frequently for years after that, and am writing a novel set partly in Provincetown, Truro, and Wellfleet in that time.
Your site has been a wonderful resource not only for the beloved look and feel of the town but also for useful facts I couldn’t find anywhere else (such as roughly when Cookie’s Tap became Gallerani’s) as well as the always fascinating stories of who lived where, when.
When I lived in Ptown and friends in town would visit my apartment (or rather, my series of apartments), someone would always say, “I remember when So-and-So lived here.” Because of summer/winter rentals, couples joining together and spliting apart, and just general looking for a new/better/more affordable place, people moved around so much that every place had an oral history of previous tenants — even if most of them weren’t artists or well-known characters or part of town history but waitresses and fishermen and bartenders and cooks. I loved having part of my life intersect with Provincetown’s life and to feel for a while that I was part of the dance of continuity and change.
I have walked Provincetown many times in real life, in all kinds of weather and all seasons of the year, from the Holiday Inn to the Provincetown Inn and beyond to Herring Cove, out Shankpainter Road to Route 6. I’ve walked the lengths of both Commercial Street and Bradford Street, as well as most of the side streets running between them. I still walk those streets in my memory, and your site will make my imaginary walks so much richer. I hope you’re able to keep up the great work.
Buoyed by comments as generous and encouraging as yours, I can’t help but keep going. Thank you.
I used to go to Ptown during the summers between the ’70s and ’90s [staying at 123 Bradford Street], my last visit being 9/11/2001. Of course, Joe and Harriet were already gone, but still enjoyed my visits. They also ran Martin’s Taxi where Harriet would dispatch taxi calls from the side of her sofa and Joe would run the taxi every day with an employee they had hired for the peak summer months. Harriet was full of stories. And one she would tell is the day Edward Kennedy (the senator) got lost and stopped at this home asking her for directions. I loved Joe and Harriet dearly and always referred to Harriet as my second mother.
Will be interested on the book release. Keep me posted when it hits the bookstores. I would love to purchase a copy, maybe even autographed. Thanks.
If my hand hasn’t fallen off by then, I promise an autograph. Thank you.
I have read every post and looked forward to the next! Great reading — great work. I recently purchased a home on Commercial and only had an inkling of all the art types that have shaped Provincetown. Wow. Thank you!
I am enjoying this site. My family used to own Cookies Restaurant and almost all the surrounding property. It was a great town to grow up in. Hope to see more history here
Thank you, Tina.
I just love the site. It is so readable and wonderfully rich in all that is Provincetown.
We have had a home on Pleasant Street for years, a floater, and Cary and I have recently moved to town permanently from Boston, something we had planned for some time. I am now a broker at Beachfront Realty, having spent a wonderful 15 years in Boston real estate.
I adore the town, as it holds decades of personal history for so many of us, and that — coupled with its stunning beauty — creates a most incredible place. Your site adds a wonderful dimension.
I have a real estate blog, jongoode.com, where I try to keep the Boston-Provincetown connection going year-round; someplace for friends, associates and clients to get their Provincetown “fix.”
I look forward to reading and learning from your quite wonderful site. Can’t wait for new additions.
Thank you so much, Jon. Count me among those who turn to jongoode.com for a sense of what’s happening in town.
It may be humble, but it’s still my house. The house at 243 Bradford street next to the warehouse at 241 used to be on the ground. To install a title 5 septic system and accommodate the leaching field, the house had to be lifted up. My mother purchased the house from the Woods family in 1945 for $4,000. There is no picture of the house.
There will be when I return to Bradford Street for the second round of entries. Thank you so much for drawing this to my attention and sharing its history.
David this is a treasure. I so much appreciate all the work you have put into this wonderful history of Provincetown houses. You have given this town a gift of love. Thank you so much.
Alice, thank you so much for these enormously generous words and for opening your wonderful studio at 69 Commercial Street to Building Provincetown last year.
Interesting site — lots of great memories!
I’ve been in love with Provincetown since childhood and your wonderful, thorough, generous project is helping me to stop asking everyone I know in town about the history and stories behind the beloved buildings and walkways we all know so well. I am infinitely grateful for your loving curation and compilation and care! This is a pure joy and a love letter to a town that so many treasure deeply in their souls. Thank you.
I’d like you to know how much I appreciate your having taken the time and care to write such a thoughtful and generous assessment. Words like yours are truly wind in my sails. Thank you so much.
I saw the article in Provincetown Magazine [“From Alden Street to Young’s Court: A Living History of Provincetown’s Built Environment“] and went to your Web site to view our former home at 3 Court Street. This Old House magazine is featuring this home in an upcoming issue. I’m told it will be July or August. Also I have a wonderful document produced by George Bryant on the house from the 1980s.
Thank you for all you’ve done to document our town!
Thank you for this informative and generous comment.
What a wonderful way to preserve Provincetown’s beautiful history and heritage!
I was sent a link to your Web site, as my aunt’s home was featured. Your write-up about it was short, to the point but thoughtful and respectful. Looking forward to seeing the history of my other family members’ homes.
Thank you for this very kind comment. You’ve summed up my goals: short, to the point, thoughtful and respectful.
I suggest that you create a link (that comes with each separate building notice) to a street map of Provincetown.
Thank you. Beginning with Pleasant Street, each entry will have an embedded link to a Google map, which you can find in the utility section at the bottom of the text. Your wish is my command. (It isn’t usually so easy.)
I am hoping the little cottages that my Aunt Emma and Uncle Joe Marshall owned on Race Road (not sure what number they were; maybe 3 and 5) are still there. One of them, called the Spanionzit, housed Bette Davis in her earliest acting days. She actually died still owing my Aunt and Uncle the rent for one summer.
As of August 2013, there is an entry for 20 Race Road. Thank you.
I was sorry that you did not include 14 Prince Street when you wrote about Prince Street. My grandparents George and Ethel Ross lived there for many, many years and I have many fond memories of that house and its garden.
You have only to ask: 14 Prince Street. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.
Lisa, would love to connect. George and Ethyl are my grandparents too. I used to go to their house after school every day. Loved that house and garden.
I do not see Winthrop or Standish Streets listed. All of the streets at the end of the alphabet are missing.
Indeed they are, as of August 2013. Building Provincetown is being assembled alphabetically by street, from Alden Street to Young’s Court. As of this writing, I’m just completing the Rs. You might find the Building Provincetown Facebook page helpful for staying up to date on the latest entries. Thank you for your interest.
See you on Standish Street in a few weeks!
I have often roamed the streets of Provincetown, or sat on the Town Hall benches, and thought about the history of these old homes and their inhabitants. I knew they all had to have an interesting story. And I think part of what made the history even more interesting was what appears to have been a comparatively small and supportive population where everybody knew everybody else.
I have spent quite a bit of time looking at all the information that you’ve provided. The pictures are perfect, and the written history is fascinating. I love the work that you’ve done. This is such a great way to honor Provincetown and its heritage.
It is a note like this, Mr. Channell, that is the wind in my sails. You encourage me to keep going. I’m honored and grateful. Thank you.
I’m fortunate to have been the owner of 120 Commercial Street for 35 years, during 25 of which it housed the Clibbon Gallery. My wife Melyssa and I presented our etchings, pastels and photographs in this beautiful space, as well as raised our children Tyler and Daniel. It’s still a summer home for us, though we’re lucky to have the talented Josh Patner and his “Loveland” as our shop tenant. I attach two pictures, our gallery sign and a poster from the “Blues Bag,” and thanks for your incredible treasure-trove for all of us fascinated with Provincetown past and present.
Thank you so much for this wonderful history and these fantastic images. What a great addition to the website.
Amen to Robert Clibbon’s remark re: this project.
What a delightful accident to happen upon this site! It took my breath away to read the rich history behind the little gallery at 439 Commercial that my father treasured so very, very much. To see the sign that hung to the right of the French doors (often framed with bittersweet and summer roses) and the familiar “sun face” on the swinging doors in the breezeway, was an unexpected gift.
While the Harvey Dodd Gallery was known as such for decades, I had only heard snippets of its previous history. I knew Richard Lischer, and of course Karen and Ilona, but had no idea that Mary-Jo Avellar’s relations were the original inhabitants of the building. At least, I don’t remember!
So typical of Provincetown — so many connections, such a colorful tapestry of community and lives lived. It’s remarkable how you have brought to life so many stories of Provincetown through the history of its buidlings. Brilliant idea. I can’t help but think Harvey would have loved every bit of this virtual masterpiece!
I am sure I am not alone in having walked the streets of town and wondered what countless tales its buildings (both landmarks and hidden treasures) might tell. “Someone would know,” I’ve often thought. Despite the years and distance, my heart still calls Provincetown home, so thank you David for all you have done here. I will come back often and look forward to more.
Ms. Laing, your kind note not only encourages me to keep going, but also salves my great regret at having never introduced myself to your father, though I certainly recognized him around town. (As who did not?) I am so glad at least to make this connection through you, and very grateful for your thoughtfulness in writing.
I own 8 Bradford and was wondering how I could possibly put it on your site.
Your wish is my command, Mr. Perkins. Thank you so much for asking.
Here it is: 8 Bradford Street. I look forward to writing a historical narrative later this year.
I have enjoyed this website so much. I noticed that on Pleasant Street, there was no No. 32. That is the home I grew up in and was also my grandparents’ home. I was wondering if it was going to be included. Thank you and I look forward to reading more of the history of my home town.
Thank you so much, Ms. Bento. I’ll be sure to get it in. Meanwhile, I’ve put a “placeholder” entry at 32 Pleasant Street to serve as a reminder.
If you are interested in more history concerning two of these “shacks,” you might like to contact those that may know more about them than what is posted here. The bell for instance and how that house and the other smaller house, “Saddle Up”, came to be saved before the current owners.
Hi. I love your site and I want to encourage you to return to Pleasant St to photo my house, #41, which was skipped over. Thanks.
Can we add 25 Conant St ???
Hello to April and jen. What happened to Mandy? Remember the 70’s. Wow was that off the hook. Is Fay still around? Call any time 303.503.1941 I’ll never forget the widows watch.
This is a great site. However 5 Conant street owner is John Yandrisovitz , my last name is misspelled. Thank u for your efforts.
Brilliant work David! Curious as to why 34 Winslow was not even entered as an entry “to be written”? Thanks, and again great work!
To whom it may concern
My father the artist Irving Marantz owned 200 Bradford Street-You show his tombstone sculpture but it was sculped by Conrad Malicoat- not David Dunlap- My father died 1972 (not in 2000s). You need to correct.
Hey David, I own 37 Mayflower Ave. I bought it in June of 1993 and it burned down on Columbus day the same year. The house was torn down with the exception of the front garage and bedroom L which was gutted by the fire but not destroyed. The house was rebuilt over the next 2 years.
I lived in Provincetown during the 70’s with my boy friend Richard Maynard, worked at the fish factory in winters and Rosie’s in Summer, sat on the benches, went to Piggy’s, attended Edmonds events, walked across the breakwater at night-on mushrooms-in winter, lived above Phyliss and Izzy (in the second location) went to the Spring Bulb Party at Lands End and endlessly rode my bicycle up and down Commercial Street. I would love to connect with anyone who could converse about that time…………..
I am delighted to find this site! I worked at Rosie’s in 1979 (?). I baked savory pies of oyster and salmon and haddock. I worked the line too with the tide coming under the kitchen and the window facing the bay. Thank god for the ocean breeze. Betsy Mailer was our host. NormanMailer, Norman Zinberg, and Robert Motherwell were neighbors and regulars. I lived in Truro in the “Thoreau House” on County Road looking across the bay to PTown. I slept in a friend’s shack across from Rosie’s many a night, rather than risk a boozy ride home! That was one wonderful memorable summers. Thank you for this!
Thank you so much for this site. I stumbled upon it doing family history research. I had no idea my father’s cousin, Floyd Linder, owned property in Provincetown. (He owned 437-439 Commercial Street in the early 60’s.) Floyd grew up in a very small town in southern Minnesota and moved to New York City in the early 50’s. You description of him blew my mind. It seems he shed all the hay seeds.
Thank you for this site and all the work that has gone into preserving the history of Provincetown. As for 646 Commercial St., it was a Sears kit house built in 1908 for Evans, the son of Horace Spear. My parents Ken and Lina Berry had summered in Provincetown for two years and needed to find another cottage. When my father who worked in Walpole MA at Kendall Mills mentioned it to a co-worker, he recommended that they contact Horace Spear who owned the local hardware store in Walpole. Horace owned a large tract of land in the East End of Provincetown and had built a Sears cottage for his family. Later when his children were grown, he built three Sears Kit cottages with outhouses across the street for them. After renting from Evans for a summer in 1946, Evans begged my parents to buy the cottage, called the West Twin to 648, in order that he could escape spending his vacations surrounded by his mother and sisters who all had lists of repairs to do on their houses.
Intending to retire to 646, Ken and Lina began to remodel and winterize the cottage. They removed bucketfuls of sand to create a full basement, put ceilings over the 2nd floor bedrooms, straightened the walls to remove the eaves in the bedrooms, and extended the kitchen. Arriving in the spring, they discovered that the fireplace, built by Austin Rose in the 1950’s, was far too big for the approximately 10′ deep living room, so they extended the room onto the front porch. Ken lived in the house year round for 5 years, and Lina for 37 years until her death at 99 in 2016.
note: the lathing across the windows in the picture was installed temporarily when a hurricane was due.
As I’ve said many times before, brilliant work here David!! But still no entry, place holder, 34 Winslow St., comprising 2 buildings, the original front building, built circa 1960, and the 2nd back building, circa 1980. Thx again for your great work!
Jim, thank you so much. I promise that when I get to the W’s, 34 Winslow Street will — at last — find its proper place in the pantheon. I’m going to print out this promise and insert after the Winslow tab in my old-fashioned loose-leaf research binders, to ensure that I do not forget my pledge.
Thx David! Very much appreciated.
Hi, David. I was a “houseboy” at the Heritage House (7 Center St.) for two months in the summer of 1987. At the time, the owner was a guy named Bob Kulesia (not sure of the spelling of the last name, but pronounced “Kool-Asia”). I didn’t see his name in the history of the house, so I thought I’d mention it. I was the second houseboy to be hired that summer, so I slept on a cot in the unfinished basement. Not very pleasant quarters, but a great two months just the same.
Aaron, be sure to go to the listing for 7 Center Street and share your remembrances.
Aaron, is your last name Anton, from Chicago ?? Anton was my first houseboy in 1990 at my home at 20 Commercial Street, on top of Gull Hill, adjacent Land’s End Inn. I have some old photos of you.
Just wanted to ask this question: who was Jerome Smith? I can not find any information in computer searches and I even asked a Ptown tour guide to no avail. He has a road named after him that I drive down regularly along the cemetery and I am really curious as to what’s his story. Help! Thanks :) Annie
10 PEARL STREET
NOW OWNED BY RICHARD J CACCIAGRANI AND BRIAN C SHEEHAN
WE OWN THE COTTAGE UNIT A AND UNIT B OF THE MAIN HOUSE
WE ARE FROM BOSTON BUT CONSIDER OURSELVES YEAR ROUND RESIDENTS OF PROVINCETOWN ENJOYING EVERY SEASON OF A MAGICAL TOWN
Be sure to go to the listing for 10 Pearl Street where you can scroll down and post a comment about that address.
I was in town about a month ago and visited two sets of family friends in the West End. Both were natives and are now summer people. I notice you have nothing under their addresses. I can remedy this. Contact me at 781) 249-1818 and I can help you fill them in.
Mr. Dunlap I found your site to be interesting, informative and very helpful regarding my research for emporis.com. Because of your input, I was able to upload the Centenary Methodist Episcopal Church, all three water towers and the Provincetown Public Library with spot-on information and a great link. Please check out this link: https://www.emporis.com/city/102438/provincetown-ma-usa
David — came across this site today. Very impressed. These days I live 3,000 miles from Ptown in Newport, Oregon. During the 1970s I worked as a fisherman on the FV Leona Louise (the Caton family, Captain Insely Caton) as part of a college research project (76-77). My professor was Dr. M.E. Smith (a well known anthropologist who passed away 2005). I also got to know Alice Joeseph, who, for years was the town librarian. I also wrote a masters thesis about the impact of the new fishing regulations on the community. One of these days I plan to write something up about all this (the place back in the 1970s was amazing, so ahead of it time). Ptown, after all this time, is still one of my favorite places on earth!
Dear Onno Husing, thank you so much for your very kind message and your reminiscences.
What a delightful site. I love the energy and physical beauty of Provincetown. Nice work.
You should seriously consider adding 172 Bradford Street, once owned by 3′ 8″ tall Vaudeville stage and screen actor Howard Knowles, aka Howard Marco, most famous perhaps for playing the part of “So Shorty” in the Marco Twins comedy act, and also a Munchkin Villager in the classic 1939 movie the Wizard of Oz.
On the Country Store article for 139 Commercial Street (which I can’t find at the moment), I neglected to mention in my comment the 4th child of the Carrieros, Kimberly , the youngest, who also worked in the store.
Actually the 1988 vote was to SELL 189 Commercial St. to recoup money towards the new station. It was many years of mismanagement by various Selectmen and a lawsuit against the town until the property finally was converted to restrooms.
Arpina Stanton was born 11 May 1923 not 1924 as incorrectly sited on this site;
Also, applying “Raffish” to The Coat of Arms is revisionism. It was a middle-class Guesthouse, affordable and endearing. It was neat, clean and orderly.
I am digitizing my father’s 16mm home movies and there is at least one scene of Everbreeze with the “lunch swim play” sign in the summer of 1935. Also the brand-new Sagamore Bridge, which was apparently enough of a “big deal” to warrant a family excursion to view its marvels. LOL.
Here’s a link: https://youtu.be/VtsPKteQAow?t=210
I hope you enjoy it.
After my room-mate and I graduated from RISD in the spring of 1958, we headed to Provincetown and got waitress jobs at the Flagship restaurant. Tips there were good, and that fall, rents were lowered all over town: I decided I could afford to stay there and spend the winter painting. I rented a former chicken house (which had no insulation) on Tasha Hill, and lived there during the exceptionally COLD winter of 1958. I seem to remember the temperature dropped to 40 below — is that possible? I do remember when everyone went down to the bay to look at the huge frozen blocks of ice piled up all along the shore.
Sunny Tasha was so kind to me, she often invited me for dinner, and I remember her big old cast iron wood stove pumping out waves of blessed heat, her loaves of bread set on top to rise.
I confessed that I had always wanted to make bread, but never had. “Nothin to it,” she told me, “You just dump a bunch of flour into a big kettle, add a handful of salt and a big lump of lard – a few eggs and some yeast dissolved in water. Mix it all together, kneed it a little, cover it up and store it in an unheated room. When you want some bread, you pull off some dough, kneed it, set it to rise on the stove, and bake it. Anyone can do it.”
After dinner, I remember everyone sitting around a blazing fireplace, little (Carl?) Tasha wrapped up in a blanket. I met Sunny & Herman’s nephew Victor Alexander there, and I asked him, “What do you do?” I was amazed when he spoke of growing beans, hunting deer, turtles, rabbits, and digging clams, but mostly fishing from his own commercial boat. I never met anyone like him, before or after — he was a charismatic story-teller, a man totally in tune with his surroundings.
I often found Sunny sitting at a big table in her kitchen, writing. “I’m writing a book,” she confessed one afternoon, and I often wondered whatever became of all her efforts. Perhaps she boarded them up in the wall of one of the unique buildings she built herself, as she did with Harry Kemp’s books.
When the spring of 1959 finally arrived, P-town was bursting with blossoms — everywhere, it was the most beautiful little town I’d ever seen. I loved it so much, but I decided to head for California. Winters on the Cape were just too damed cold, and I could not see any possible way to make enough money to buy land, build a house and stay.
I still have the leather belt I bought from Herman in his little shop; he made it from a long tapered strip of 1/4″ thick leather, some sort of machine belting. You wrap it around your waist, poke the narrow end through a slot in the widest end, and tie it around in a knot. It’s unique and quite handsome, still soft and flexible with rounded edges and a dark brown surface like velvet: it will last for many more years and still fit, whatever the size of my waist!
I remember the name Sunny Tasha – my cousin Warren Perry mentioned it. He was another consummate storyteller. Sadly gone, as well.
Hello, has the book been reprinted? Where or when can I purchase? Thank you! This has been my family’s vacation spot, same place every year between Truro and Ptown. I want to get this for my father and myself. Thank you for the dedication!
I’m delighted to say that a full-color reprint of the book is being published later this summer by the Provincetown Arts Press. You can order it online through the press’s virtual bookstore: https://provincetownarts.org/home/?page_id=607
Article is a bit off in it’s facts. My family bought the house [554 Commercial Street] from the Welsh family and lived there for a few years (where I was born!). My father, David Cote’, local town pharmacist at Adams (name?) sold i t to Higgins in ’68 as easily confirmed on the Provincetown assessors webite. fyi…when my dad bought it from the judge (they were good friends), the judge left a grandmother clock (yup, grandmother, only 5.5′ tall) in the attic. He told my dad “that old thing? Doesn’t work, keep it”. Flash forward to today and the judges old grandmother clock is in my living room!
Hope to see more related to this! very helpful information thanks for sharing with us…