158 Commercial Street

 
Rose & Crown

Now the eight-room Rose & Crown guest house, whose motto is, “Where anything worth doing is worth overdoing,” 158 Commercial Street was built in the late 18th century, around 1780. The ship’s figurehead is called Jane Elizabeth. The Grace family lived here in the early 20th century and, in 2011 Jessica (Grace) Lema — who moved in 1939 to 10 Cudworth Street — could still recall those days when the house overlooked Grozier Park and she had only to walk out her front door to go play on the beach. This was the Hobby Shop in the ’30s and home to the abstract painter Fritz Pfeiffer, who “helped the Art Association survive its most difficult period during the war,” The Advocate said in 1960 after he died in a fire at home. In the 1970s, it was known as the Owl’s Nest.

158 Commercial Street

158 Commercial Street, Rose & Crown, by David W. Dunlap (2008).

158 Commercial Street, Rose & Crown, by David W. Dunlap (2008).

"Jane Elizabeth" at 158 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

“Jane Elizabeth” at 158 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

The Rose & Crown guest house is a Federal-style home built in the late 18th century, around 1780. The Grace family lived here in the early 20th century. Jessica (Grace) Lema could recall the days when the house overlooked Grozier Park, where the Boatslip now stands, and she had only to walk out her front door to go play on the beach. This was the Hobby Shop in the ’30s and home to the abstract painter Fritz Pfeiffer, who died here in a fire in 1960. In the ’70s, it was the Owl’s Nest. Rose & Crown was run in the 1980s by Preston Babbitt, a co-founder with Alice Foley of the Provincetown AIDS Support Group, who died of AIDS in 1990. It’s now managed by Ann MacDougall. The ship’s figurehead is called Jane Elizabeth.


More than 2,000 buildings and vessels are searchable on buildingprovincetown.com. The Building Provincetown book is available for purchase ($20) at Town Hall, Office of the Town Clerk, 260 Commercial Street, Provincetown 02657.

160 Commercial Street

 
Grozier-Cabral House
With its elaborate octagonal lantern top and ample front yard, the Grozier House is one of the largest and most distinctive homes in town. It was built around 1830 by Capt. John Atkins to command a view of the back shore. When the captain’s wife saw her husband’s vessel on the horizon, she would place a lantern in the tower to let everyone know of its approach. In the late 1800s, it was occupied by William A. Atkins (d 1897), identified as the wealthiest man in town, who had made his fortune from whaling. More pictures and history»

160 Commercial Street

160 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2008).

160 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2008).

Jennifer Cabral in the cupola of 160 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2014)

Jennifer Cabral in the cupola of 160 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2014)

An ample yard and rooftop lantern, from which ships could be spotted on the Back Shore, distinguish this Italianate-style home, built around 1830 by Capt. Joseph Atkins, whose Central Wharf stood opposite. The property passed to his son, William Atkins, who made a fortune in whaling. He married Jane Freeman Grozier, whose nephew, Edwin Atkins Grozier, owned The Boston Post, with his wife, Alice. (The newspaper closed in 1956, but the Boston Post Cane is still awarded to the town’s oldest resident.) This was the Groziers’ home, which they ornamented by creating the private Grozier Park across the street. The local legend Reginald “Reggie” Cabral — fisherman’s son, proprietor of the A-House, art collector, philanthropist, and town historian — moved into the house in 1963 with his wife, Meara. He died in 1996. Their daughter, Jennifer, lives here with her partner, Ian Leahy.


More than 2,000 buildings and vessels are searchable on buildingprovincetown.com. The Building Provincetown book is available for purchase ($20) at Town Hall, Office of the Town Clerk, 260 Commercial Street, Provincetown 02657.

† 161 Commercial Street

Nautilus Club
The Nautilus Club, a women’s organization founded in 1907, was a leading civic group in the first half of the 20th century. It moved around town quite a lot, settling at No. 161 in the 1930s. It didn’t just offer flower arrangement exhibits, though they were on the agenda. In 1938, for instance, the club sponsored a show of 80 children’s drawings from war-ravaged Spain, some of which showed “cities being bombed, aeroplanes fighting, ambulances collecting the wounded and ships sinking.”

161 Commercial Street

 
Boatslip Resort

The Boatslip Resort is an ungainly but very popular venue, constructed around 1965 on the site of Grozier Park. It was developed by Reginald W. “Reggie” Cabral, who lived opposite this site, at 160 Commercial Street, in the Grozier House. (Park and house were named for Edwin and Alice Grozier, owners of The Boston Post.) The Boatslip has 45 rooms, but is best known for the 4 o’clock tea dances, which began in the late 1970s. They’re held on its waterfront deck each afternoon in summer, and on weekends into the shoulder season. A Boatslip tea dance is sine qua non on the gay social scene. The events draw hundreds. Maryalice Kalaghan (DJ Maryalice) has presided since 1994. More pictures and history»

161 Commercial Street

161 Commercial Street, the Boatslip, by David Jarrett (1982).

161 Commercial Street, the Boatslip, by David Jarrett (1982).

The private Grozier Park, on this site, was owned in 1964 by Reginald Cabral, who hoped to sell it to the town to create the public Kennedy Park. When that fell through, Cabral built what is now the east wing of the Boatslip Resort. The wing paralleling Commercial came later. The Boatslip is best known for Tea Dance, sine qua non of the gay social scene, which once spilled out to the beach. A large deck was later built whose undercroft is so popular for sexual rendezvous that it’s known as Dick Dock. In the ’70s and ’80s, the motel was run by Roland “Chick” Chamberland, Charles “Chuck” Mehr (of the Sandpiper), Allen Mundy, and Peter Ryder. Roy Cohn was among the guests. It is currently owned by a partnership led by Marion Serelis, and is managed by Terry McCumber.


More than 2,000 buildings and vessels are searchable on buildingprovincetown.com. The Building Provincetown book is available for purchase ($20) at Town Hall, Office of the Town Clerk, 260 Commercial Street, Provincetown 02657.