200 Commercial Street

Southstream Design | Toys of Eros

Built around 1920 in the Colonial Revival style as a Ford Motor Company garage, 200 Commercial Street is a landmark in the development of the town’s art scene after World War II. In 1949, Weldon Kees, a painter, poet, art critic, jazz musician, playwright and filmmaker, organized Forum 49, an avant-garde series of talks and displays. One of the first programs centered on the question “What is an artist?” More pictures and history»

† 205-209 Commercial Street

M. L. Adams built this store at 205-209 Commercial Street in 1865, though he did not put the Adams in Adams’ Market. That fell to John Adams, who bought the property in 1884 and continued the grocery and provision business of Warren Fielding, under the name of John Adams’ Market. There was, by the end of the 19th century, a large refrigerated room for meat. And the store had its own railway. “This is the largest store of the kind in town,” said Odds and Ends From the Tip End, “and a full assortment of everything that pertains to that business can always be found there.” Stores like this also sold provisions to the Grand Banks schooner fleet. The market was demolished in 1919 and replaced by the Paige Brothers Garage.

205-09 Commercial Street

Aquarium Marketplace

Unlikely as it may seem today, this was an aquarium in the 1960s and early 1970s: the Provincetown Marine Aquarium. Jackie, Lady and Lucky — three Atlantic bottlenose dolphins — were the principal attraction. They spent their summers in a beachfront pool that’s now covered by a deck and occupied by the Aqua Bar. But those double-P ligatures in the facade of the building don’t stand for Provincetown. They stand for Paige Brothers Garage, which this building was. Constructed in 1920-21, it was Provincetown’s first all-brick building. Paige Brothers entered the “accommodation” business in 1912 and three years later, bought three motor buses which quickly drove their horsedrawn competitors “from the highway.” Two of the buses operated well into the 1930s. More pictures and history»

206-208 Commercial Street

Rogues Gallery |
Nor’east Beer Garden
The house was built around 1870 in the Italianate style. The south facade used to have two monumentally-scaled doorways. These were replaced by a long, two-story porch. The property, owned since 2003 by Hal Winard, includes an open lot that affords such a great view of 3 Carver Street, up the hill. Cotton Gin was a retail tenant until recent years. In 2010, the designer Alex Carleton, who had worked for Ralph Lauren, Abercrombie & Fitch and L. L. Bean, opened the Rogues Gallery clothing and furnishing store at No. 208. (Another Rogues Gallery is in Portland, Me.) The Nor’East Beer Garden restaurant has also opened recently.

210 Commercial Street

Provincetown Fudge Factory |
Wonderful Hands Massage |
Henry & Company

Fondue, anyone? I look at this building aglow at night and picture a ski lodge where someone is singing Meglio Stasera. Happily for Midcentury Modernistas, Provincetown did not escape the A-frame craze of the 1950s and ’60s and this is a terrific example of the style. By the late 1970s, the Gryphon gift store occupied the entire frontage, which has since been divided. John Maguire Jr. and his wife, Deirdre (Morelli) Maguire (1958-2011) bought one of the four condominium units in 1986 for their Provincetown Fudge Factory. More pictures and history»

211-215 Commercial Street

Christina’s Jewelry | Wardrobe

This was the last home of the locally renowned Rush Fish Market, founded in 1921 by Frank E. Cabral and his brother, Joseph Cabral (d 1953). They moved the business here in 1942 and Frank operated it until 1966, when he retired. (“Fish Market Proprietor Retires After 61 Years in Business,” The Advocate, 3 November 1966.) The Cabrals were known in the West End as the “Rush Brothers” for the speeds at which they cut and wrapped fish. Christina’s Jewelry has been at No. 215 since 1982, a remarkable feat of continuity. It is owned by Christine Meegan. The Wardrobe women’s clothing boutique at No. 213 is owned by Stephen Carey.

212 Commercial Street

Global Gifts | Muir Music | Norma Glamp’s

Though it looks like part of a compound with the Art House theater — and is in fact on the same tax lot — 212 Commercial Street was constructed between 1850 and 1870. (The Long Point exhibit at the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum identifies it as a floater.) James Matenos owned the property in the mid-20th century and offered rooms for transients and ran a shoe repair shop. The building was firmly pinned on summer visitors’ retail map by 1960 with the Paraphernalia apparel store — “everything to make you Happily Dressed (except culottes!)” it declared in an ad just before Bastille Day. In 1963, Mary Rattray Kanovitz, a costume jeweler from the East Village, opened the Queen of Diamonds, a clothing and accessories store. More pictures and history»