250 Bradford Street

The name of Mark Rothko (1903-1970) is not commonly associated with Provincetown, but he was indeed here for a few years, beginning in 1958, when he bought this house. He couldn’t sail, he didn’t like the beach and he sunburned badly, James E. B. Breslin noted in Mark Rothko: A Biography. In 1963, Rothko sold this place to the artists Tony Vevers (1926-2008) and Elspeth Halvorsen. By then, Vevers was well established, having had a solo show at the seminal Sun Gallery in 1958. He was one of the founders of the Long Point Gallery and was deeply involved in the Provincetown Art Association and Museum. In the 2008 Provincetown Arts, the artist Tabitha Vevers said of the Bradford Street studio, “It was where my father’s enduring love of life, and the sometimes humble beauty of the world around him, came together as art.”

250 Bradford Street

250 Bradford Street, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

250 Bradford Street, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

Though Mark Rothko is not commonly associated with Provincetown, he was indeed here for a few years, beginning in 1958, when he bought this house. He couldn’t sail, he didn’t like the beach and he sunburned badly, James Breslin noted in Mark Rothko: A Biography. In 1963, Rothko sold this place to the artists Tony Vevers and Elspeth Halvorsen. By then, Vevers was well established, having had a solo show at the seminal Sun Gallery in 1958. He was one of the founders of the Long Point Gallery and was deeply involved in the Provincetown Art Association and Museum. In Provincetown Arts, the artist Tabitha Vevers said this was “where my father’s enduring love of life, and the sometimes humble beauty of the world around him, came together as art.”


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.

252 Bradford Street

Mary Campbell, sister of Philip Alexander, was a “renowned chef” who converted 252 Bradford Street — built around 1850 in the Greek Revival style — into the Little Chowder Bowl restaurant, “famous for lobster bisque, clam chowder and fresh blueberry pies.” Be sure to see the comments below on the history of the house in recent decades. Read the comments»

256 Bradford Street

Long Point Post Office
The most important surviving civic building of the Long Point settlement, its Post Office, was built around 1830. What we see from the street was originally the rear of the structure. It lived a distinguished second life as the studio of the painter Herman Maril (1908-1986), whose work was championed in the 1930s by the collector Duncan Phillips. Maril acquired this property in the late 1950s and then, working with the artist Chester Pfeiffer, added a second-floor studio with north-facing windows, extending from the back of the house over a patio. Maril, Karl Knaths and Milton Avery collegially exchanged studio visits every summer, his widow Esta Maril recalled.

256 Bradford Street

256 Bradford Street, by David W. Dunlap (2008).

256 Bradford Street, by David W. Dunlap (2008).

Herman Maril's plan for his studio addition at 256 Bradford Street.

Herman Maril’s plan for his studio addition at 256 Bradford Street.

David Maril, by David W. Dunlap (2012).

David Maril, by David W. Dunlap (2012).

The most important surviving civic building from Long Point, its post office, was built around 1830. What we see from the street was originally the rear of the structure. Its distinguished second life was as the studio of the painter Herman Maril, whose work was championed by the collector Duncan Phillips. Maril, a professor at the University of Maryland, acquired this property in 1958. Working with the artist Chester Pfeiffer, he added a second-floor studio a year later, with north-facing windows, extending over a patio. (That’s Maril’s drawing of the project.) He died in 1986. His wife, Esta, a children’s psychiatric social worker, died in 2009. Their son David, a newspaperman and president of the Herman Maril Foundation, owns, uses, and cherishes the house. The studio is virtually untouched.


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.

258 Bradford Street

258 Bradford Street, by David W. Dunlap (2011).

258 Bradford Street, by David W. Dunlap (2011).

The connoisseurs speak: “Probably the most intact of the Capes,” said Eric Dray (whose own home can be seen in the distance). “A lovely and virtually perfectly preserved example of a turn-of-the-century Cape Cod summer cottage,” said Daniel Towler. The century in question is the 19th, because this handsome building dates to 1801, the Provincetown Historic Survey said. Its state of preservation may be credited, in some measure, to continuity of family ownership between 1914 and 1996: from W. Creighton and Isabelle Lee, to August and Gladys MacLeod (Isabelle Lee’s niece), to John and Isabel (MacLeod) Walker.


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.

258A Bradford Street

Tree Tops

The lovely name of this house — Tree Tops — aptly describes its commanding position overlooking the East End. It was built in 1910 and operated until 1952 as the Tree Tops: Studio Gift Shop and Piazza Tea Room, whose original proprietor was Miss Zoe M. B. Morse. It promised patrons “luncheon, tea and supper on porch overlooking the harbor,” with “indoor tables for rainy weather.” Peter Manso, the author of Ptown, was one of the subsequent owners. The house was purchased in 2007 by Eric Dray, an organizer of the Provincetown Historic District and chairman of the Historical Commission, who “renovated it with historic accuracy,” Boston Spirit said.


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258A Bradford Street

258A Bradford Street, Tree Tops, by David W. Dunlap (2008).

258A Bradford Street, Tree Tops, by David W. Dunlap (2008).

The lovely name of this house — Tree Tops — aptly describes its commanding position overlooking the East End. It was built in 1910 and operated until 1952 as Tree Tops Gift Shop and Piazza Tea Room, whose original proprietor was Zoe Morse. It promised patrons “luncheon, tea and supper on porch overlooking the harbor,” with “indoor tables for rainy weather.” Peter Manso, the author of Ptown, was one of the subsequent owners. The house was purchased in 2007 by Eric Dray, an organizer of the Provincetown Historic District and chairman of the Historical Commission, who painstakingly renovated it.


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.

264-268 Bradford Street

Mount Pleasant House

With its deep, picturesque, wrap-around porch, Mount Pleasant House is immediately recognizable as the Victorian guest house it once was. It sits on one of the largest undivided lots in town, running one-fifth of a mile to Route 6 and 80 yards along Bradford, all the way to the garage with “Studios” over the door. Mount Pleasant was built around 1890, not long after the Old Colony Railroad opened up the town to tourism. It was run by Mary Days at the turn of the century. John A. Francis, of Francis’s Flats at 577 Commercial, owned the land. Ross Moffett (1888-1971) and Bruce McKain (1900-1990) had studios here as, more recently, did Rick Fleury, whose landscape paintings include a Dialogue series that echoes the proportions of works by Mark Rothko, who once lived nearby. The property has been owned since 1963 by Arnold F. Dwyer and his family.


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264-268 Bradford Street

264 Bradford Street, Mount Pleasant House, by David W. Dunlap (2008).

264 Bradford Street, Mount Pleasant House, by David W. Dunlap (2008).

264 Bradford Street, the Oaks, by David W. Dunlap (2014).

264 Bradford Street, the Oaks, by David W. Dunlap (2014).

With its deep, picturesque, wrap-around porch, Mount Pleasant House is immediately recognizable as the Victorian-era guest house it once was. It sits on one of the largest undivided lots in town, which has been owned for many years by Arnold and Ruth Dwyer and their family. It runs one-fifth of a mile to Route 6 and 80 yards along Bradford, all the way down to the garage at No. 268. Mount Pleasant was built around 1890, not long after the Old Colony Railroad opened up the town to tourism. It was run by Mary Days at the turn of the century. John Francis, of Francis’s Flats at 577 Commercial, owned the land. Ross Moffett and Bruce McKain had studios on this property as, more recently, did Rick Fleury, whose landscape paintings include a Dialogue series inspired by the works by Mark Rothko, who lived nearby.

268 Bradford Street, garage and studio, by David W. Dunlap (2011).

268 Bradford Street, garage and studio, by David W. Dunlap (2011).

Behind Mount Pleasant stand a small cottage called the Oaks and a smaller cottage known appropriately as the Acorn. The Oaks was a restaurant opened here in 1915 by Christine Ell, a year after Polly Holladay opened Polly’s, at 484 Commercial. Both proprietors also ran popular restaurants in Greenwich Village and all four establishments drew the Village Bohemian crowd, led by Eugene O’Neill. The Oaks was more like a speakeasy, Leona Rust Egan wrote in Provincetown as a Stage, serving whiskey distilled in Truro. O’Neill likened it to “tiger piss.” Later, Polly Burnell said, Adele and Lester Heller used the Oaks for visitors working at the Provincetown Playhouse on the Wharf.


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.

280 Bradford Street


Cape Colony Inn

Motels were once despised by progressive planners, and with reason. Their sprawling forms and autocentric layouts upended domestic scale, leveled historical fabric and discouraged pedestrian life. But give them this: they helped democratize places like Provincetown by making them palatable and affordable for middle-class travelers. The 57-room Cape Colony Motel was built in 1963 by James Downey and was owned for nearly 30 years by Dennis Still and his wife, Carole Still. Picture essay and more pictures »

284 Bradford Street

284 Bradford Street, by David W. Dunlap (2013).

284 Bradford Street, by David W. Dunlap (2013).

There are few townscapes as joyfully expressive as the works of Kenneth Stubbs, who attended the Corcoran School of Art before coming to town in the 1930s to study with his friend E. Ambrose Webster. In 1960, Stubbs and his wife, Miriam, bought this property, originally part of a farm, from Mischa and Helen Richter. Stubbs died in 1967 but the family still owns the small compound. The main house was built around 1900. A garage was converted into Stubbs’s studio and is now one of two cottages that the family rents out, mostly to artists, like Billy Jarecki. In the wetlands out back are traces of a pond that drew ice-skaters two or three generations ago, Miriam told me.

"Untitled (Provincetown," by Kenneth Stubbs, courtesy of the Provincetown Art Association and Museum.

“Untitled (Provincetown,” by Kenneth Stubbs, courtesy of the Provincetown Art Association and Museum.


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.

288 Bradford Street

Provincetown Tennis Club | DNA Gallery

A synergy you’d only find in P’town: tennis club and art gallery. They are both housed in a structure built by Gladys Miller Rokos and used by a tennis club in which Dr. Percival J. Eaton figured; then by the East End Tennis Club, founded and owned by the commercial artist Lauren Cook; and then, beginning in 1950, by the Provincetown Yacht and Tennis Club, also founded by Cook. It has five Har-Tru clay courts and two hard courts. But no more yachts. It’s just the Provincetown Tennis Club. Picture essay and more history »

288 Bradford Street

288 Bradford Street, Provincetown Tennis Club, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

288 Bradford Street, Provincetown Tennis Club, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

A synergy you’d only find in Ptown: tennis club and art gallery. They are both housed in a structure built by Gladys Miller Rokos and used by the Tennis Club of Provincetown, founded in 1924 by Charles Hawthorne, Dr. Percival Eaton, Henry Winslow, and others; then by the East End Tennis Club, founded and owned by the commercial artist Lauren Cook; and then, beginning in 1950, by the Provincetown Yacht and Tennis Club, also founded by Cook. It has five Har-Tru clay courts and two hard courts. But no more yachts. It’s just the Provincetown Tennis Club. In the ’40s, Jerry Farnsworth used the upstairs loft for art classes. Through the early ’90s, it was the cooperative Provincetown Group Gallery. Today, it is the well-regarded DNA Gallery, founded in 1994 by the artist Nick Lawrence, who also directs Freight + Volume in Manhattan.


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.

288A Bradford Street

 

Provincetown Picture Framing

Here’s a ramshackle-looking business that the old art colony would still happily recognize: Provincetown Picture Framing. The pedigree is more than shingle-deep. Shaun D. Pfeiffer, artisan, picture framer and proprietor of this little shop, was born next door. He is the son of the artist Chester “Chet” Pfeiffer and a grandson of the artist Heinrich Pfeiffer (1874-1956), who turned a waterside shed into the Artists Theatre, which became the Provincetown-Playhouse-on-the-Wharf.

289 Bradford Street

Under the bland gray paint job on this Greek Revival shed, there may be bold bands of red, white and blue. This was once the Far Out shop. It stood at 234 Commercial, in the little Union Square complex next to the Unitarian-Universalist Meeting House. Over the years — before being moved here — it was a florist (Austin of Wellfleet), a doctor’s office (Thomas F. Perry, M.D.), a candy and fudge store (Barrett’s) and a jeweler (Cape Rock). Susan Leonard recalled a tenant — perhaps Gary Milek or Robert Olmstead — who did a booming business carving Easter Island-inspired tiki pendants.

289 Bradford Street

289 Bradford Street, far right, when it was at 234 Commercial Street (ca 1906), courtesy of the Provincetown History Preservation Project.

289 Bradford Street, far right, when it was at 234 Commercial Street (ca 1906), courtesy of the Provincetown History Preservation Project.

289 Bradford Street, by David W. Dunlap (2011).

289 Bradford Street, by David W. Dunlap (2011).

Nothing stands still in Provincetown; not even the buildings. This Greek Revival-style cottage once occupied a prime downtown lot at Union Square, across from the Crown & Anchor. You can see it, in profile, at right in the old photo. In its downtown days at 234 Commercial, the building was used by a florist (Austin of Wellfleet), a doctor’s office (Thomas Perry, M.D.), a candy and fudge store (Barrett’s), a jeweler (Cape Rock), and a little 1960s countercultural hub called the Far Out shop. The historian Susan Leonard recalled a tenant who did a booming business carving Easter Island-inspired tiki pendants.


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.

291 Bradford Street

This was once home to the Arnold of Arnold’s Bike Shop: Arnold F. Dwyer (d 1998) and his wife, Ruth. The house does bear a slight resemblance to the store. But if Provincetown is about diversity, why shouldn’t there be a Ranch amid the Capes? There are a few around town, but the one at 291 Bradford Street — built in 1958, during the Eisenhower administration, with ducks in the green gable fascia — may be the best. Arnold and Ruth Dwyer Family LLC owns the former Mount Pleasant House property nearby.

292 Bradford Street

Hideaway Hill | Shore Galleries

Most towns don’t have a single octagonal house. Provincetown has two. There’s the landmark at 74 Commercial. Then there’s the Octagon, a remarkably organic creation designed by Jonathan Sinaiko and built as his home. Sinaiko, filmmaker and craftsman, is the son of the artists Avrom “Arlie” Sinaiko (1902-1984) and Suzanne Sinaiko (1918-1998). In 1959, they acquired a “great lot” — harbor to ocean — from the estate of Joseph W. Sears. Though subsequently truncated by the Cape Cod National Seashore, the property still comfortably holds an entire compound, called Hideaway Hill. One building houses Shore Galleries, which can claim descent from Donald Witherstine’s renowned Shore Studio Gallery, 47 Commercial, through Fred Hemley, a photographer and Witherstine’s grandson. Hemley, Sinaiko and Muffin Ray opened the gallery in 2006, devoting it largely to Provincetown artists. First among equals would be Arthur Cohen, whose summer home is nearby.


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292 Bradford Street

292 Bradford Street, the Octagon, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

292 Bradford Street, the Octagon, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

292 Bradford Street, by David W. Dunlap (2011).

292 Bradford Street, by David W. Dunlap (2011).

Jonathan Sinaiko, by David W. Dunlap (2011).

Jonathan Sinaiko, by David W. Dunlap (2011).

Most towns don’t have one octagonal building. Provincetown has at least three. The most amazing is the Octagon, an organic creation designed and built by Jonathan Sinaiko, who was inspired by Handmade Houses: A Guide to the Woodbutcher’s Art. Sinaiko, filmmaker and craftsman, is the son of the artists Suzanne and Avrom “Arlie” Sinaiko. In 1959, they acquired a “great lot” from the estate of Joseph Sears. It comfortably holds a compound called Hideaway Hill. One building housed Shore Galleries, descended from Donald Witherstine’s Shore Studio Gallery through his grandson, the photographer Fred Hemley. He, Sinaiko, and Muffin Ray opened the gallery in 2006, devoting it to local artists. It’s now closed.


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.

298 Bradford Street

298 Bradford Street, by David W. Dunlap (2011).

298 Bradford Street, by David W. Dunlap (2011).

Visible far and wide when the tree cover falls, No. 298 stands as the pinnacle of A-frame architecture in town. It was constructed sometime after 1955 for Dorrit and Maria Christine Seidler, who purchased the property from Alice Strassburger, the widow of Perry Beaver Strassburger, a blue-blooded stock broker, book and map collector, and horseman. The building’s aesthetic cousins in this exuberant style of atomic-age-baby-boom resort architecture include Hersheldon’s Leather, 317 Commercial; the Provincetown United Methodist Church, 20 Shank Painter Road; and 5 Winston Avenue. The painter Anthony Fisher, an associate professor in fine arts at UMass-Dartmouth, is the current owner.


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.

298 Bradford Street

 
Visible far and wide when the tree cover falls, 298 Bradford Street stands as the pinnacle of A-frame architecture in town. It was constructed c1955. Its cousins in this exuberant style of atomic-age-baby-boom resort architecture include 317 Commercial Street, 5 Winston Avenue and the Methodist Church at 10 Shank Painter Road. The painter Anthony Fisher is the current owner. [Updated 2012-08-19]