3 Court Street

With its deep front porch and austere Federal massing, this house from the early 19th century just looks like it would have been the home of someone important. And so it was: Judge Walter Welsh (1869-1933) was a justice of the Second District Court in Barnstable, from 1910/14 until his death, whose rulings touched hundreds of Provincetown lives. He was also a founder of the local council of the Knights of Columbus, 277 Commercial Street, which was named in his honor seven months after his death. More history»

8 Court Street

8 Court Street Condominium

James E. Rich, a dealer in fish at the Railroad Wharf, had his home here in the early 20th century. The house itself dates to the period between 1840 and 1860. It seems to have stayed in the Rich family at least until the 1950s, when the property was owned by Edwin W. Rich and his wife. • Historic District Survey, main house • Historic District Survey, cottage • Historic District Survey, shed • Assessor’s Online Database, Unit A • Assessor’s Online Database, Unit B • Assessor’s Online Database, Unit C ¶ Posted 2012-11-26

9 Court Street

Brass Key Guesthouse (Captain’s House)

The Captain’s House of 1830 is easily the most imposing of all the buildings that make up the eclectic Brass Key complex. It also played an important role in the development of the gay and lesbian commercial establishment in Provincetown. The property was owned from 1965 to 1982 by George W. Littrell Jr. (1920-±2000), who ran the place as George’s Inn. More pictures and history»

14 Court Street

Revere Guest House

Beginning in the 1860s, about 30 years after this house was constructed, it was the home of Jackson Rogers and his wife, Mary, both of whom had immigrated from Faial island in the Azores; and their children Manuel (b ±1858), Jennie (b ±1863) and Joseph (b ±1864), according to a charming history on the Revere Guest House Web site. The father and both young sons were enumerated in the 1870 census as fishermen. After decades under other owners, the house came back into the hands of a family named Rogers in 1945, when Leo J. Rogers (b ±1898) and his wife, Lillian E. Rogers (b ±1905), bought 14 Court Street from Mary C. Perry. The couple were business associates of Edmund Steele (±1905-1947) in the Old Colony Tap, 323-325 Commercial. More pictures and history»

15 Court Street

Morris Wood House

As the sign says, this is the “Morris Wood House, Circa 1850.” To be honest, I don’t know yet who Morris Wood was. A 1910 street atlas tantalizingly shows the name “M. Wood,” but the 1910 census doesn’t list him here. Rather, it enumerates Frances Williams and her son and Mary P. Lema and her four children. And the “M. Wood” may refer to Manuel M. Woods (±1869-1932), a grocer. So it remains a mystery for the time being. Commercial tenants in the ’50s included Blue’s Package Store, run by the Enos family, and Raymond A. Brown’s contracting and building company. This is now a five-unit condo. More history»

19 Court Street

Michael Perry Massage

Standing near the top of Pumpkin Hollow, 19 Court Street has a commanding presence. It was constructed around 1850. Joseph Enos, a grocer, owned the house in the early 20th century. Natalie G. Patrick (b ±1909) and her husband, William (b ±1896), bought the property from Teresa M. and Anthony J. Alves in 1945, shortly after the end of World War II. Natalie Patrick was appointed assistant librarian of Provincetown in 1957 and then the town’s chief librarian in 1966, succeeding Marion B. Haymaker. Besides running the Public Library, 330 Commercial Street, Patrick also wrote a weekly column, “At the Library,” in The Advocate. More pictures and history»

20 Court Street

Former St. Anne’s Convent

The hills may or may not be alive with the sound of music, but 20 Court Street was once a Roman Catholic convent, housing the sisters of the Love of God (Mother Cecilia is pictured at left). This was not so very long ago, beginning in the early 1960s during the pastorate of the Rev. Leo J. Duart at the Church of St. Peter the Apostle, 11 Prince Street. The house was originally constructed around 1850. In the 1950s, it was the home of Frank A. Days Jr. (±1877-1961) and his wife, Anna Aurelia (Swett) Days (±1877-1957). Days had run F. A. Days & Company, founded by his father, who built the lumberyard on Pearl Street that became the nucleus of the Fine Arts Work Center. (Their daughter, born Anna, had been called into religious service as Sister Mary Leander.) More pictures and history»

21 Court Street

Alden Duarte “Pete” Steele (1908-1977), the son of Joseph Silveira Steele and Maria Brown Macedo, grew up on his father’s dairy farm, so indispensable in day-to-day work that he quit school in the ninth grade to help out. Clotilda Dorothea “Tillie” Medeiros (1911-1992), was the daughter of Manuel Travis Medeiros, who was injured aboard the Mary C. Santos, and Angelina Veronica Santos. Circumstances were so dire that she was placed for a while in a home for destitute Catholic children and was working full-time at 13. A few years later, Alden brought himself to Clotilda’s attention by tooting the “shave and a haircut” tune whenever he drove by in his fish-hauling truck. She thought he was fresh. (Never mind the fish.) He persisted. Love prevailed. More pictures and history»

22 Court Street

22 Court Street, Provincetown (2012), by David W. Dunlap.Richard A. Scoullar (b 1931) and his wife, Eugenia Scoullar (b 1936), have occupied this house since 1972. The building was constructed around 1850. The Scoullars bought it from the Roman Catholic Bishop of Fall River (the diocese, in other words), which had owned it since 1967, suggesting strongly that it had served in tandem with St. Anne’s Convent next door at 20 Court Street. • Historic District Survey (1) • Historic District Survey (2) • Assessor’s Online Database ¶ Posted 2012-11-30

23 Court Street

23 Court Street, Provincetown (2012), by David W. Dunlap.Robert Brown (b 1954), a brand image consultant and interior designer based in Quincy substantially renovated this house, built in 1830. “The most essential component was opening up the living room to the secluded garden, which Brown has cultivated to be a verdant, European-style oasis of calm,” Jaci Conry wrote in The Boston Globe Magazine. (“At a Tiny Provincetown House, a Sweet Terrace,” 13 May 2012.) “Brown converted two of the four parking spots behind the house into a Parisian-style enclosed garden court, covering the ground with gravel. … The new space created an outdoor area that essentially became ‘another room to enjoy,’ says Brown.” • Historic District SurveyAssessor’s Online Database ¶ Posted 2012-11-30

24 Court Street

24 Court Street, Provincetown (2012), by David W. Dunlap. 
Built around 1850, this was purchased in 1926 from the Days family by John R. Raymond (b 1892) and his wife, Francelena (Lema) Raymond. Raymond was a longtime firefighter. He fished aboard the Charlotte, but was injured in 1950. His family owned the house until 1990. • Historic District Survey, main house (1) • Historic District Survey, main house (2) • Historic District Survey, out building • Assessor’s Online Database ¶ Posted 2012-11-30

† 26 Court Street

"William F. Halsall and His Painting of the Battleship Oregon in the Old Shirt Factory" (ND), by John R. Smith. Courtesy of the Provincetown History Preservation Project.  
"The Desk" (1948), by Niles Spencer. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.Old Shirt Factory

Not for William F. Halsall (1841-1919) would any chicken-coop garret suffice as a painting studio. No; Halsall, an English marine painter of the old school, needed the space to create vast canvases, the equivalent of Cinemascope in their day. And so he set up shop around 1899 in what had been a short-lived shirt factory. He was the first of several important artists to work here, followed by Ross E. Moffett (1888-1971), Charles Anton Kaeselau (1889-1972) and — perhaps most importantly because he is the most undeservedly overlooked, Niles Spencer (1893-1952) — a precisionist and modernist whose work is an appealing mix of Charles Sheeler and Stuart Davis. In addition, the old shirt factory was the home in the 1930s of the Artists’ Lithograph Printing Studio. More pictures and history»

26 Court Street

26 Court Street, Provincetown (2009), by David W. Dunlap.It is unclear when this storage building was constructed on the site of the Old Shirt Factory. The property has been owned for many year by Arnold F. Dwyer — the Arnold of Arnold’s, 329 Commercial Street — and his heirs. • Historic District Survey, main building (1) • Historic District Survey, main building (2) • Historic District Survey, out building • Assessor’s Online Database ¶ Posted 2012-12-01

27 Court Street

27 Court Street, Provincetown (2012), by David W. Dunlap. This large property at the corner of Court and Cudworth Street is now an eight-unit condominium. The Cape Cod Fish Company was here in the 1960s. • Historic District Survey, main building • Historic District Survey, out building • Historic District Survey, out building • Assessor’s Online Database, Unit 1 • Assessor’s Online Database, Unit 2 • Assessor’s Online Database, Unit 3 • Assessor’s Online Database, Unit 4 • Assessor’s Online Database, Unit 5 • Assessor’s Online Database, Unit 6 • Assessor’s Online Database, Unit 7A • Assessor’s Online Database, Unit 7B ¶ Posted 2012-12-01

28 Court Street

Anthony L. "Tony" Thomas aboard the Blue Ocean. Courtesy of Anthony L. Thomas. 
28 Court Street, Provincetown (2011). Assessor's Online Database.Olivia (Tasha) Thomas (b 1931), whose home this has been since 1978, was the daughter of a fisherman, Ernest “Zeke” Tasha Sr.; the sister of a fisherman, Ernest Tasha Jr.; the wife of a fisherman, Anthony L. Thomas Jr.; and the mother of a fisherman, Anthony L. “Tony” Thomas, pictured above in the pilot house of the Blue Ocean. Tony (1950-2010) shared this house with his mother. A heart ailment ended his fishing career and then cut his life short, but he contributed mightily to the fishing history of Provincetown by being one of its champion guardians and chroniclers. His collection of photos, chart books and other artifacts — and the knowledge he brought to them — were irreplaceable. More pictures and history»

31 Court Street

31 Court Street, Provincetown (2012), by David W. Dunlap 
Joseph Silveira Steele. Courtesy of Duane A. Steele.This is a building of great age — the early 1800s — and of noble lineage. It was for a brief while the home of the owner of the Winthrop Farm, just up the road a piece, one of the last working farms within town limits, up and into the 1930s. He was Joseph Silveira Steele (1865-1939), pictured at left. Steele was born Furtado on Pico in the Azores, arriving in this country in the early 1880s, when he changed his name — or it was changed for him by immigration officials. “Furtado” means “stolen” in Portuguese. It’s not too great a distance from “steal” to “steel.” Joseph himself later added the last “e.” Steele found work on the farm of Jerome S. Smith (namesake of Jerome Smith Road), known as the Winthrop Farm. It occupied the area roughly west and north of the Winthrop Street Cemetery. Steele and his family were living on Court Street by 1901. More pictures and history»

33 Court Street

33 Court Street, Provincetown (2012), by David W. Dunlap.Built between 1840 and 1860, this house has been a lightning rod in the perpetual storm over affordable housing. Taken by the town in 1992, it underwent renovation in 2006 by the Provincetown Housing Authority as a two-bedroom, one-family unit. When the renovations were unfinished in 2010, the project came under fire from the selectmen. The authority’s executive director told them that a single, part-time maintenance man was not only in charge of finishing the Court Street project but was also responsible for readying apartments at the Maushope complex. (Pru Sowers, “Housing Vacancies in Provincetown Irk Selectmen,” The Banner/Wicked Local, 8 July 2010.) Tenants finally moved in the next year. • Historic District SurveyAssessor’s Online Database ¶ Posted 2012-12-02

35 Court Street

35 Court Street, Provincetown (2012), by David W. Dunlap. 
John Robert Patrick. Past Masters of King Hiram's Lodge.John Robert “Powerful” Patrick (1908-2007), the proprietor of the Fall River Cesspool Service and a leading Mason on Cape Cod, lived in this house. His parents were Manuel Patrick (±1875-1948) and Sadie Mae (Newcomb) Patrick, and one of his brothers was the renowned Manuel Francis “Pat” Patrick (±1903-1964), proprietor of the Flagship restaurant, 463 Commercial. John Patrick worked in Detroit from 1935 to 1952 making refrigerator expansion valves, then returned to his native Provincetown to take over the cesspool business of Alfred “Fall River” Pereira. As a Mason, he served as the master of King Hiram’s Lodge from 1962 to 1963 and, in 1967, was installed as a high priest of the Joseph Warren Royal Arch Chapter in Wellfleet. • Assessor’s Online Database, main house • Assessor’s Online Database, Unit A • Assessor’s Online Database, Unit B ¶ Posted 2012-12-02

41 Court Street

41 Court Street, Provincetown (2011), by David W. Dunlap.Formerly known as 38 Court Street (that street number still appears on the building), this has for many years been the home of Warren J. Silva (b 1935), the second-generation proprietor of Cape Cod Excavating Inc., and his wife, Rita J. Silva (b 1945), who works in the front office of the contracting company. Theirs is among the easier commutes in town. Cape Cod Excavating is next door, at 43 Court. Warren’s father, James M. Silva, founded the business in the 1930s. • Assessor’s Online Database ¶ Posted 2012-12-02

43 Court Street

43 Court Street, Provincetown (2011), by David W. Dunlap. 
43 Court Street, Provincetown (2011), by David W. Dunlap.Cape Cod Excavating

I don’t know that I’d want to live next to Cape Cod Excavating (actually, its owners have rendered the point moot by doing so themselves), but I do know that its presence in the heart of town — a living reminder of the industrial past — is one of the last remaining bulwarks against the complete cute-ification of Provincetown. According to a capsule history on the company’s Web site, the business was established by James M. Silva in the 1930s. In 1958 alone, it handled the excavation for the new A&P supermarket on Conwell Street and then for the new Chrysler Museum. James’s son, Warren, went into the excavation contracting business for himself in 1953. In 1985, he incorporated as Cape Cod Excavating. Eight years later, his son James W. Silva joined the company, which he now runs. The company was heavily involved in the reconstruction of St. Peter’s Church. • Assessor’s Online Database ¶ Posted 2012-12-02

45A Court Street

45A Court Street, Provincetown (2009), by David W. Dunlap. 
Christopher King, Provincetown (2011), by David W. Dunlap.Cape Tip Seafoods

If only one Provincetown fisherman were to remain standing after the seemingly endless evisceration of the fleet, a lot of smart money at MacMillan Pier would probably be wagered on Christopher “Chris” King (b 1961), pictured at left, whose family has been in the business for four generations — and has paid the highest price for it. King owns a stake in just about every aspect of catching, distributing and marketing. He and his brother Willis (b 1974) fish on their own account aboard the 60½-foot Donna Marie, built in 1969 and rehabilitated in 2009 with a 400-horsepower Caterpillar 3408 marine engine. Through Cape Tip Seafoods, they truck fish from about 30 other Provincetown, Truro and Wellfleet boats to restaurants along the Cape and to regional distributors in Boston. And they operate their own retail outlet, the Cape Tip Seafood Market, in Truro. In a 2011 dockside interview, King told me that he employed about 25 people. More pictures and history»