† Wharf at 401 Commercial Street

 
Ed Small Wharf

Small’s Wharf was the easternmost of a trio in the near East End. Like the adjacent Conwell’s Wharf, Small’s was pressed into a second useful stint for the L. Pickert & Company fish-packing concern, based in Boston. This wharf was used for filleting and smoking fish, while the canning took place on Conwell’s, also known as Cannery Wharf. The group shot above was taken outside the filleting plant. More pictures and history»

401 Commercial Street

 
Lucy Cross House (Casa Lucia da Cruz)

Early in the new year of 1919, Aylmer and Katie Small sold this house to Primo and Lucia da Cruz (Lucy Cross). It has been in the family ever since. Their daughter, Maria da Cruz (Mary Cross), married Preston Grant “Pat” Hall. The couple lived at 396 Commercial Street; operated the Souvenir Shop at 286 Commercial; the Gift Box at 397 Commercial; and, also at 397 Commercial, Pat’s Happy Parking and the Cinnamon Sands cottage. More pictures and history»

401½ Commercial Street

Devon’s

In what seems to be a perfect spot for a cozy restaurant with a great view, several establishments have come and gone in recent decades. In 1979, Zoltan and Juliet Gluck, and their son, David, opened a restaurant here. Gluck’s gallery and home was across the street at 398 Commercial. Dodie’s Diner — “full of family photos, old toys, 1950s bric-a-brac,” The Boston Globe said approvingly — opened in 1993. It was followed by the Little Fluke Café, which was in business for five years. Devon Ruesch, who was a partner in the Little Fluke, opened the current restaurant in May 2007.

403 Commercial Street

Say what else you will, that’s one heck of a dormer on 403 Commercial. This house has been in family hands for several generations. Justin Jason and his wife, Philomena Marks Jason (±1873-1939) were living here in the 1930s. Their daughter Catherine Jason, a junior high school teacher, married Manuel F. Cadose (±1884-1960), an engineer on the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad, in 1937. The Cadose couple lived here. In a poignant twist, Mrs. Jason’s sister, who also lived in this house, died here six days after Mrs. Jason did. (The Cadoses’ other daughter, Philomena “Phil” Jason, married Cyril T. Patrick. These two were partners in the East End Market at 212 Bradford Street and the Noel shop.) More pictures and history»

404 Commercial Street

 
Dalla Cucina

It seems sometimes that the owners of just about every stately Provincetown house claim it was built for a whaling captain. In the case of 404 Commercial Street, a monumental Greek Revival structure that would not look wholly out of place in Charleston or Savannah, the claim is not hard to believe. Diners have known it as the Southern Mansion, Landmark, Chester, Bistro 404 and Dalla Cucina. More pictures and history»

405-407 Commercial Street

SeasCape Realty | Larkin Gallery

Among the businesses that have had a home here over the years were John Psomas’s meat market in the 1910s; Capt. John A. Matheson’s grocery store in the 1910s; Ye Pilgrime Shoppe in the early 1930s (sounds like they could have used Hopkins Cleansers); the Ethel Baker Mayo Studio in the late 1930s; the Pilgrim Shop in the early 1940s; and Michael Alexander, Fine Home Decorator, in the late 1940s. More pictures and history»

406 Commercial Street

Coldwell Banker Pat Shultz Real Estate

This building’s greatest interest is in its association with Patricia (Ratcliff) “Pat” Shultz (1929-2008), one of the great moving forces in late 20th-century Provincetown. Her firm, now a franchisee in the national Coldwell Banker system, still operates from the space where she did business in the 1970s. Though Shultz was a formidable dealer in real estate, however, she is remembered for wearing many hats — “in a very big way,” as The Banner said in its elegaic editorial. More pictures and history»

408 Commercial Street

Still going strong at the age of 80, Capt. George Walter Crosby, who made his home here, was the oldest active weir fisherman at the time of his death in 1934. He worked for the Consolidated Cold Storage, now the Ice House Condominium, 501 Commercial Street, at which he’d been made a captain in 1917. Joseph F. Perry, who ran the Fo’csle tavern with Sylvester Santos at 335 Commercial Street, bought this house in 1959 — the same year that the Fo’csle admitted women. The Perry family owned the property for 49 years, selling it in 2008 to Meg Stewart and her wife, Maureen Wilson, two of the principals in DwellCoastal, at 372 Commercial.

† 409 Commercial Street

 
E. I. Livingston Fountain Service | Jo’s Soda Shop

“One always stops at Lizzie’s on the way home from the movies!” Althea Boxell didn’t often interject such enthusiastic commentary in her remarkable scrapbooks, so we might take this emphatic notation in Book 1 as a sure sign of the popularity of E. I. Livingston Fountain Service, run by one Elizabeth Isabel “Lizzie” Livingston (±1879-1945) of 217 Bradford Street. In 1959, as Jo’s Soda Shop, the establishment played a small role in the great drama of a 45-foot beached fin whale, a story so memorable it was retold 15 years later by Jim Young in When the Whale Came to My Town. More pictures and history»

409 Commercial Street

 
Replacing the old store and residence at 409 Commercial in which Elizabeth Isabel “Lizzie” Livingston’s soda and candy shop operated through the early 1940s, this house was designed by Robert Valois [?] of Truro for John Anderson and Greg Brown, who bought the property in 2000. Minutes from various town meetings in 2000 and 2001 speak of a complicated gestation period for the project. It seemed at first that the plan was to convert 409 Commercial, which had an upstairs apartment, from commercial to residential use and add a studio behind the existing building, which is what the Zoning Board of Appeals considered in the fall of 2000. More pictures and history»

410 Commercial Street

Capt. John Russe Jr. (b ±1910) was the skipper of the John David, a dragger, named after his son, John David Russe. Russe’s father, John Sr. (±1886-1944), had come to Provincetown from Portugal in 1911. Captain Russe and his wife, Olivia Santos, were wed in 1939 and purchased this house in 1947. (Her father, Manuel Santos, died of a heart attack aboard the John David.) The house remained in the Russe family until 1984 and has been owned since then by Dr. Brian O’Malley.

411 Commercial Street

 
Four Eleven Studio

This large building has served as an accommodation of one kind or another for more than a half century. Until the early 1960s, it was the Francis Guest House, owned by Joseph T. Francis (±1894-1958), a retired fish buyer and World War I naval hero, and his wife, Irene Abbott Francis. By 1964, it was an efficiency apartment house called the Avlon’s, owned by the artists Helen (Avlonitis) Daphnis-Avlon (±1933-2004) and Nassos Daphnis (1914-2010). Sheila G. LaMontagne and her sister [?], Madelyn N. Carney, bought the property from the Daphnis couple in 1976. It was renamed the Mary Russell Guest House. Carney, an artist, bought out her sister three years later. She has lived and worked here, as has her daughter, the artist Liz Carney. More pictures and history»

414 Commercial Street

Histories of civil aviation in Provincetown (including mine, Municipal Airport) usually begin after World War II with the story of John C. Van Arsdale and his Cape Cod Flying Service. But Mayflower Airlines was serving Provincetown a full decade earlier. The difference was that its Ford Tri-Motors touched down at a landing field, not a full-fledged airport. John F. Connell was the field manager and was credited by The Advocate in 1941 with “giving a great deal of his time, labor and thought to the improvement of the field.” He lived at No. 414 and it was here that his son, John F. “Jack” Connell Jr., was born in 1942. More history»

415 Commercial Street

 
As you head out toward the East End along the beach, 415 Commercial Street appears almost like an apparition. A sweet little butter-yellow Queen Anne house with a deep front porch, it would seem to belong upland, on some picturesque, quiet, leafy side street — not right down here on the rough-and-tumble waterfront, rising from the sea grass, exposed so nakedly to the elements. But this is Provincetown, so here it is. The cottage was owned in the 1940s by Beatrice M. Welsh, the supervisor of vocal music in the Provincetown school system from 1926 to 1962, and a landowner of no small consequence, having once held 290 Commercial (the former First National Bank) and 296 Commercial (Cutler’s Pharmacy) in her portfolio. Her father and brother, Walter J. Welsh and Robert A. Welsh, were both judges and powerful civic leaders. More pictures and history»

416 Commercial Street

Antonelli Giardelli Gallery

Best known in recent decades as the Antonelli Giardelli Gallery, a showcase of antiques and of Thomas Antonelli’s Cape end landscapes, 416 Commercial was — for 70 years — a redoubt for several generations of the Henrique-Parsons family, whose vessels included the Richard & Arnold and the Sea Fox. Capt. Frank Henrique (b ±1876) and Marianna/Marion Henrique (b ±1880) bought the property from the Lorings in 1909. Captain Henrique was the master of the dragger Dorothy. They transferred the property in 1927 to Frank Henrique Jr. and his wife, Mary T. Henrique. For a time, this was home to Capt. Frank H. Parsons Sr., master of the Richard & Arnold (named for two of his sons) and of the Arthur & Matthew. More pictures and history»

417 Commercial Street

 
Giardelli Antonelli Studio Showroom

Across the street from the Antonelli Giardelli art gallery is the Giardelli Antonelli clothing store. Gerald “Jerry” Antonelli manages this space, which features — among other things — jewelry designed by Diana Antonelli. Her brother, Thomas, runs the gallery at 416 Commercial. In the 1940s, this was 417 Antiques and Decorations.

418 Commercial Street

 
Former Church of Christ, Scientist | Packard Gallery

A great circle was closed in 1988 when the artist Anne (Locke) Packard bought 418 Commercial Street as a gallery for her works and those of her daughters, Cynthia and Leslie. Up until 1970, this had been owned by the Christian Science Society, which used it as a church and reading room. As it happened, Packard’s grandfather, the painter Max Bohm, was one of the more prominent Christian Scientists in town, though he did not live long enough to have attended services here.

  More pictures and history»

418A Commercial Street

The painter Lodewyck Bruckman (1903-1980), a native of the Netherlands who had studied at the Royal Academy of Art in the Hague, maintained his studio in this crest-top aerie in the late 1950s and early 60s. It was called the Royal Dutch Art Gallery and it showed his work and that of Evert Zeeven, otherwise known as E-7.

419 Commercial Street

A delightfully odd facade — a giant bay seems to burst forth from a gambrel-roof cottage — characterizes this home and former store. It was the first place in which the silversmith Paul A. Lobel set up shop in Provincetown, in 1949, expanding his renowned business from the Greenwich Village store at 165 West Fourth Street. By the mid-60s, it was known as Gala Leah, which featured hand-crafted objects, antiques and clothing. Leona Rust Egan and Marguerite L. Young purchased the property in 1974. They opened and ran a store called the Ironmongers, dealing in antiques, books, prints and jewelry. More pictures and history»

422 Commercial Street

 
East End Condominium

“Built by Paul L. Bangs, 1798-1862, Mariner, Circa 1840,” the white-on-blue plaque tells you. What it doesn’t mention, however, is that a direct Bangs descendant was living here until 1955; not a bad span of family ownership, though by no means unheard of in these parts. This was also the Provincetown home of the artist Yeffe Kimball (1904/6-1978), who was renowned for bridging Native American and Modernist art even though — as it turned out — she wasn’t the least bit Native American. (Though she had studied with Fernand Léger.) It also housed a variety of art galleries in the 1950s and ’60s. More pictures and history»

422A Commercial Street

Peering between houses is a great way to see beyond superficial Provincetown. There’s an entire alternate-universe Commercial Street in backyards and along narrow, unmarked easements. This little house, once designated 422A, was home in the 1950s to Studio 3-J, a carpentry and millwork shop that promised “Stretchers Made to Order.” It’s now part of the East End Condominium.

423 Commercial Street

Alden Gallery

There is a beguiling myth about Provincetown — and the embrace of this myth speaks well of the town — that it has forever been a tolerant place, where outliers have always found haven. There’s certainly truth to that, but the generality hides the vehemence with which Provincetown’s establishment descended on nonconformity in the 1950s and ’60s. I’ve centered discussion of the case of “Tralala” here because this was the home of William V. Ward (1928-2006), publisher of the Provincetown Review, when he was arrested for printing and selling a short story by Hubert Selby Jr. that authorities deemed “obscene, indecent or impure.” More pictures and history»

424 Commercial Street

 
Albert Merola Gallery

The Albert Merola Gallery, under the proprietorship of Albert Merola and James Balla, reached the quarter-century mark in 2012 as one of the most respected galleries in town, showing the works of Fritz Bultman, Pat de Groot, Donna Flax, Michael Mazur, Tabitha Vevers and John Waters, among others. The commercial space served as the Zoltan Gluck Art Gallery from 1967 to 1972, before Gluck moved to 398 Commercial. Residential tenants in the building have included the artist Susan Baker and the potter Peggy R. Prichett, who also served on the town’s Art Commission. These photographs of her apartment and her artwork were taken in 2009. More pictures and history»

426 Commercial Street

Capt. Joseph S. “Pilhasca” Captiva, skipper of the Elmer S., and his wife, Pauline (Gaspa) Captiva (±1890-1954), made this their home, beginning in 1944. His nickname is basically untranslatable in English, but two approximations are “devil may care” and “hurrah for me and to hell with the rest of youse guys.” It was also the name of his son’s 60-foot dragger, Pilhasca. Captiva retired to Olhao, Portugal, keeping company in the early 1960s with Capt. Manuel Zora and Capt. Joseph Thomas. The Captivas’ daughter Pauline married John J. Leonard Jr. (b ±1914) and continued living in this house, which she acquired in 1958, at least through the mid-1960s.

427 Commercial Street

Lovinger Gallery

The photographers Gurli and Jeff Lovinger opened their gallery here in 2006. This was the Eva De Nagy Gallery, founded in 1960, from the late 1970s through at least the early 1990s, when Gillian Drake described it (in The Complete Guide to Provincetown) as an “interesting gallery of African and Asiatic art, ivory and semiprecious stone carvings, bronzes from Nepal, 17th-century Philippine santos,” and De Nagy’s drawings. By 2004, it was the Clibbon Gallery, which subsequently moved to 120 Commercial.

429 Commercial Street

 
Mews Restaurant and Café

The Mews has, for many years, been one of Provincetown’s grown-up restaurants. Established in 1961 by Nicholas “Nicky” Wells and Ray Martan Wells at 359 Commercial Street, it is now under the general management of Ron Robin and has been here since 1993. It occupies a site that has been a haven of hospitality for nearly 80 years. Lucille (Crawley) Donahue’s Everbreeze Club (or Everbreeze Restaurant, or both), which operated here from 1935 to 1980, was — in its early days — a self-contained little summer resort: “Swim, breakfast, lunch, play and tea at the Everbreeze,” said a 1937 ad. “Free tea readings every afternoon. Attractive bath houses with showers. Suits rented. Games and beach chairs at your disposal.” More history and pictures»

430 Commercial Street

430 Commercial Street, Rice/Polak Gallery, by David W. Dunlap (2008).

430 Commercial Street, Rice/Polak Gallery, by David W. Dunlap (2008).

Peter Hunt secretary at the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum, by David W. Dunlap (2008).

Peter Hunt secretary at the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum, by David W. Dunlap (2008).

430-432 Commercial Street (1940s), courtesy of Alice Brock.

430-432 Commercial Street (1940s), courtesy of Alice Brock.

This monumental mid-19th-century house is a gateway to Kiley Court, once known as Peter Hunt’s Lane or Peter Hunt’s Peasant Village, after the artisan who made exuberant work of do-it-yourself projects. Commercial tenants since the ’40s have included the Gentle Outdoor Shop, the Little Gallery, the Town and Country Life Dress Shop, To the Queen’s Taste, Helen Carter Country-Wear, the Hookery, and the Collectors’ Shop. What may have been Provincetown’s first epicurean grocery store, Ciro and Patti Cozzi’s La Dispensa, opened here around 1967, complementing Ciro & Sal’s restaurant farther down the courtyard. (See 4 Kiley Court.) After that, it was the Chandler Gallery and is now the Rice/Polak Gallery, founded by Marla Rice and Richard Polak in 1992. Polak retired in 2005 and died in 2008. Rice still runs the gallery.


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.

430 Commercial Street

 
Rice/Polak Gallery

This monumental house serves as a gateway to Kiley Court, which was once also known as Peter Hunt’s Alley or Peter Hunt’s Peasant Village. Fittingly, its commercial space has almost always had some kind of link — either in spirit or in practical business terms — with the artistic ambience of this lovely cul-de-sac. More pictures and history»

432 Commercial Street

 
Gary Marotta Fine Art | Charles-Baltivik Gallery and Sculpture Garden | Hutson Gallery | Lyman-Eyer Gallery

The eastern gateway to Kiley Court was where the first of the shops was situated that made up Peter Hunt’s Peasant Village, also known as Peter Hunt’s Alley. The small building that has most recently housed Gary Marotta Fine Art is recognizable in a photograph taken more than 70 years ago for an article about Hunt — the Martha Stewart of the 1940s — in Life magazine, “Made-Over Junk.”

 

More pictures and history»

435 Commercial Street

Simie Maryles Gallery

Two B’s — Miss Lorraine T. Beatty and Mrs. Eda Beatty Pomeroy — bought this property in 1942 and opened the Two B’s home-made bake shop and candy store. They sold the building in 1945 to Lucille (Crawley) Donahue (±1902-2000), proprietor of the Everbreeze at 429 Commercial, which is now the Mews. Donahue and her sister, Vivian (Crawley) Worman, ran the women’s clothing boutique, Lucille and Vivian, at this location. The Donahue family continues to own the property, almost 70 years later. Subsequents tenants have included the prominent silversmith Paul A. Lobel, from 1950 to 1953, and, since 1998, the Simie Maryles Gallery, run by the artist Simie Maryles and her husband, Moe Van Dereck, a sculptor and musician. He once operated Moe’s Fancy Alden Street Workshop, at 29 Alden.

436 Commercial Street

 
Gallery Ciro

The antique dealer Austin Dunham (d 1967) had two houses in Provincetown: this one and a much better known residence — though no one has ever been inside its rooms — that sits under glass at the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum. In 1945, Dunham donated a doll house filled with miniature furniture he had been collecting to the Research Club’s Historical Museum at 230 Commercial. When that collection moved up to the Pilgrim Monument, the doll house was given a prominent spot in the gallery. At No. 436, Dunham operated the Sea Chest antiques shop in the 1920s and 30s, and also offered rooms to let. More pictures and history»

437-439 Commercial Street

 
Poor Richard’s Landing | William-Scott Gallery | Oils by the Sea Gallery

When Mother Avellar died, just shy of her 90th birthday, she left 10 children, 23 grandchildren, 30 great-grandchildren, 1 great-great-grandhild — and the entire community of Provincetown. Angelina Jacinta (Soares) Avellar (1866-1956) was known as “Mother Avellar” far beyond her own brood at 437 Commercial. That brood, “Clan Avellar,” merited an entire chapter in Mary Heaton Vorse’s Time and the Town. “There was never a home with so much life and so much happiness in it,” Vorse wrote. The family included Father Avellar — Jose or Joseph Maria (1864-1946) — and the children: Antone Jason (1885-1961); Florence May (1888-1974); Katherine (b 1890); Angie (1892-1893); Albert Joseph (1894-1962); the twins, Gerald E. (b 1895) and Arthur E. (b 1895); Justin (1899-1900); Justin Francis (1902-1988); Ruth (1904-1904); Walter E. (1907-1964); Raphael (b 1908); and Izabel M. (1909-2007). More pictures and history»

438 Commercial Street

 
Red House

The resemblance between the Red House of today and the Red House of picture postcards nearly a century old is quite astonishing. One explanation may be the fact that it has been in the hands of only one family since 1899, when it was purchased by Edwin Pliny Seaver (1838-1917), the superintendent of public schools in Boston for 24 years and a Harvard overseer. Seaver was a progressive figure in championing the relatively young kindergarten movement as “an excellent bridge for leading the child over from home life into school life.” A school in Jamaica Plain was named in his honor. In 1931, his granddaughter Roberta Seaver married Ernest G. Gebelein, whose family has owned the house ever since 1946.

441 Commercial Street

Former Studio Shop

Imagine it lemon yellow, with an orange palette logo designed by Jim Forsberg (1919-1991). Now imagine customers like Robert Motherwell and Hans Hofmann. This was the Studio Shop, established in 1955 by Laura Easley and later run by Forsberg, and it was where Provincetown artists found the supplies they needed. “Thanks to Forsberg’s thriftiness, the shop had a look all of its own,” Peter Manso wrote in Ptown (2002), “with shelves made out of old, warped stretchers and woodwork in a variety of colors as the painter-owner used up unsold tubes of paint. There was an amazing inventory for such a small store, and Forsberg would extend credit to artists who couldn’t pay. Everybody went to the Studio Shop.” More pictures and history»

444 Commercial Street

Gallery Voyeur

It’s unclear how many visitors ever came to Cape Cod in search of “handcrafted gifts and art objects from Mexico,” but those who did could have patronized the Mexican Shop in the 1960s and 70s. (Probably a more picturesque business than Rivard Electrical Contractors, which had been here in the 50s.) John Waters spent a summer in an apartment behind the Mexican Shop, with David Lochary (Raymond Marble in Pink Flamingos and Donald Dasher in Female Trouble) and Lochary’s boyfriend. The large storefront windows now frame the graphically overscaled paintings of Johniene Papandreas at Gallery Voyeur.

447 Commercial Street

Karilon Gallery

The “Kar-” in Karilon is Karen B. Katzel (b 1921), the “-ilon” is Ilona Royce Smithkin (b ±1920), and a gallery bearing their fused names has existed at least a half century, originally in Peter Hunt’s old shop at 432 Commercial. Smithkin, who left her native Poland in the late 30s, studied in Berlin, Antwerp and, in New York, with Robert Brackman at the Art Students League, which has deep and broad connections to the Provincetown art scene. Two of her prominent subjects who also had Cape-end connections were Tennessee Williams and Bobby Short. She can — and should — be seen in video clips like Ilona Royce Smithkin: A Colorful Life and the 2010 version of Eyelash Cabaret, with Zoë Lewis. Katzel and Smithkin also own Poor Richard’s Landing, 437-439 Commercial. More pictures and history»

448 Commercial Street

 
Copper Fox

We’re in Bangs country now. The Copper Fox condominium, built in 1856, was once the home of William B. Bangs (1866-1923), the son of Perez Bangs (1847-1899) and Julia (Couillard) Bangs (1848-1907). Bangs dealt in stoves, tinware, plumbing and bicycle repairing in his store at 191 Commercial Street. He married Jennie McKenzie (b 1874), whose sister was Jessie Ann (McKenzie) Engles (d 1943). Engles was head of Crofton House and Ridgeway Refectory at Wellesley College. She lived in this house until her death in 1943, and was succeeded by her daughter Ruth Engles. More pictures and history»

449 Commercial Street

Nautilus

For more than a century, this building has been owned by the Seaver family and known as the Nautilus cottage. In the early 1900s, there were double-decker porches on either side and rooms were let as seasonal apartments. “The furniture is of hard wood, substantial and pretty,” a 1901 advertisement stated. “The kitchen, chamber and laundry equipments are complete. The cleanly beach and shore tents aid in rendering the Nautilus a first class and most pleasant residence for the summer months.” More pictures and history»

459 Commercial Street

 
Sacha Richter Studio

On the east end of the waterfront lot his father bought in 1978, the artist Daniel Richter (b 1939) built a large home and studio in 2005. His son, the painter Sacha Richter (b 1968), supervised construction and contributed a good deal to the design. It now serves as Daniel’s Provincetown home and as Sacha’s studio. Born in London, where his father was working at the time, Sacha Richter studied at the Studio Arts Center International in Florence and earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the Massachusetts College of Art. More pictures and history»