2 Masonic Place

2 Masonic Place 01, Provincetown (2009), by David W. Dunlap. 
2 Masonic Place 02, Provincetown (2009), by David W. Dunlap.King Hiram’s Lodge, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons | Cape Tip Sportswear

It always pays to look up beyond the store window. Here, you’ll find the square, the compass and the “G” — geometry, God, grand architect of the universe — that mark this as a home of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. King Hiram’s Lodge, which received its charter in 1795 from Paul Revere, is the oldest continuously operating institution in town. Its members are so tied into early Provincetown history that its early rolls read like a directory of street names: Atkins (and Mayo), Atwood, Conant, Cook, Dyer, Freeman, Johnson, Ryder and Young. Members still meet every first Monday in an ornate lodge room adorned by nearly life-sized trompe-l’oeil Masonic symbols, like the twin pillars and a virgin weeping over a broken column.

2 Masonic Place 03, Provincetown (2012), by David W. Dunlap. 

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2 Masonic Place

2 Masonic Place, King Hiram's Lodge, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

2 Masonic Place, King Hiram’s Lodge, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

It pays to look up beyond the store window. Here, you’ll find the square, compass and “G” — Geometry, God, Great Architect of the Universe — that mark this as a home of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. King Hiram’s Lodge, which received its charter in 1795 from Paul Revere, is the oldest continuously operating institution in town. Its members are so tied into town history that its rolls read like a directory of street names: Atkins (and Mayo), Atwood, Conant, Cook, Dyer, Freeman, Johnson, Ryder, and Young. Members still meet in an ornate lodge room adorned by nearly life-sized trompe-l’oeil Masonic symbols, like a virgin weeping over a broken column.

Masonic delegation at the 2010 centenary of the Pilgrim Monument dedication, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

Masonic delegation at the 2010 centenary of the Pilgrim Monument dedication, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

The first meeting was held in 1796 at what James Theriault identified as 292 Commercial in his indispensable memoir, Every First Monday: A History of King Hiram’s Lodge. Being Masons, members lost no time getting to work on their lodge. It still stands. Theriault places it at 119 Bradford, but a case can be made for 118 Bradford. Anti-Masonic fever forced the lodge underground for a time, after which it met briefly in the Odd Fellows’ hall at 96 Bradford before opening this magnificent home in 1870, with a lodge room on the third floor, a banquet hall on the second, and income-producing commercial space on the first. (The stores use the address 222 or 224 Commercial. Cape Tip Sportswear is the current tenant. Brownell’s Pharmacy and J. Arthur Lopes’s menswear store were among its predecessors.)

2 Masonic Place, also known as 222-224 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2008).

2 Masonic Place, also known as 222-224 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2008).

By 1971, the base of the building was in such a state of disrepair, it appeared that 2 Masonic Place might have to be abandoned. However, Robert Gutzler of the Town House Restaurant proposed removing the badly damaged first floor altogether and lowering the remaining structure, mansard roof and all, down to new foundations. Financing for this operation came from the sale of the old Anchor and Ark Club, 175 Commercial.

2 Masonic Place, King Hiram's Lodge, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

2 Masonic Place, King Hiram’s Lodge, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

King Hiram’s Lodge was intimately involved with the construction of the Pilgrim Monument and its dedication. Masons furnished the trowel used in 1907 by President Theodore Roosevelt to lay the cornerstone. It’s still in the possession of the lodge. So there were happy days in 2007 and 2010 when the centenaries were celebrated of the cornerstone laying and dedication, Masons occupied a place of honor both times, unmistakable in their lambskin aprons, purple ties, and top hats. Or tricorne, as was worn by Grand Master Roger Pageau of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, at the center of the picture above.


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.

4-6 Masonic Place

4-6 Masonic Place, Macho Bar at the A-House, by David W. Dunlap (2012).

4-6 Masonic Place, Macho Bar at the A-House, by David W. Dunlap (2012).

Reggie Cabral, by Jonathan Sinaiko.

Reggie Cabral, by Jonathan Sinaiko.

Though other venues have occasionally rivaled it, the Atlantic House has been a nexus of nightlife ever since it was purchased in 1949 by Reggie Cabral, whose daughter April Cabral-Pitzner still owns it. The A-House is on almost every gay visitor’s first-time itinerary. Even if you don’t remember much the next morning, this is still a place rich in memories. Imagine, for instance, the summer of 1955, when Billie Holiday, Eartha Kitt, and Ella Fitzgerald all headlined in the Cabaret Room within a month of one another. The oldest building in the complex is a modest structure at No. 4. This was built in 1798, according to the Provincetown Historical Association Walking Tour, and rebuilt in recent years after a fire. To orient yourself, the 1798 wing houses the Little Bar downstairs, formerly the Tap Room, and the Macho Bar on the second floor, formerly the Carriage Room.

6 Masonic Place, Atlantic House, by David W. Dunlap (2012).

6 Masonic Place, Atlantic House, by David W. Dunlap (2012).



The hotel at No. 6 was built in 1812 or later. That’s where the Cabaret Room, now called the Dance Club, is found. The establishment was originally Lothrop’s Inn, a terminus for stagecoach service and a circuit courthouse. It was called the Globe House and Allstrum House before getting its current name in 1871 from Francis Smith. He was succeeded as proprietor by Ira Gilbert Iris, whose guests included Eugene O’Neill. Then Cabral took over, with Frank Hurst Jr., his brother-in-law. Cabral cultivated the patronage of famous artists, sometimes excusing overdue bar tabs in exchange for their work. The photographer David Jarrett recalled the hotel as a major gay cruising ground in the 1970s and early ’80s, where room doors upstairs were deliberately left open for visitors.

Do disturb.

4-6 Masonic Place, A-House, by David Jarrett (1993).

4-6 Masonic Place, A-House, by David Jarrett (1993).


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.

4-6 Masonic Place

4 Masonic Place, Provincetown (2012), by David W. Dunlap. 
4 Masonic Place, Provincetown (2011), by David W. Dunlap.Atlantic House (A-House)

Though other venues occasionally rival or eclipse it in popularity, notoriety or renown, the Atlantic House has been — amazingly enough — a nexus of nightlife in Provincetown for more than half a century, ever since it was purchased in 1949 by the Cabral family, which continues to own it. April Cabral-Pitzner, one of Reginald W. Cabral’s daughters, is the current proprietor. The A-House is on almost every gay visitor’s first-time itinerary, whether he comes back a second time or not. And while most patrons probably have more urgent matters than civic history on their minds when they step into one of the three bars here, it also happens that this one of the longest-lived establishments in town. Even if you don’t remember much the next morning, this is still a place rich in memories. Imagine, for instance, the summer of 1955, when Billie Holiday, Eartha Kitt and Ella Fitzgerald, the First Lady of Song, all headlined in the Cabaret Room within a month of one another. (Could most jazz clubs on West 52nd Street have made such a boast?) Oh, yes; on the other week that August, the legendary drummer Gene Krupa topped the bill.

4 Masonic Place, Provincetown (1955). Adevrtisements in The Provincetown Advocate from 18 August 1955 (Kitt), 1 September 1955 (Fitzgerald), and 4 August 1955 (Holiday). From Provincetown Online: The Advocate Live!, by the Provincetown Public Library. 

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5 Masonic Place

5 Masonic Place, Provincetown (2012), by David W. Dunlap. 
5 Masonic Place, Provincetown (ND). "Local handicrafts on display at the Grand Central Cafe at 5 Masonic Place, a celebrated example of Provincetown's intimate testaurants which combine quaint charm with exceptional food and drink."  Published by J. Lazarus. Courtesy of the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum (Salvador R. Vasques III Collection, No. PC 1575).Grand Central Café

Just about anywhere else in town, this long-lived establishment (b 1968) would stand out plainly, with its three gilded dolphins gamboling over the elegant carved guilloche front door. But everything on this tiny street plays second fiddle to the A-House, 4-6 Masonic Place. At least the owner and manager of the Grand Central, April Cabral-Pitzner, can comfort herself in the fact that she also owns the A-House. In the mid-’70s, at the height of the Fern Bar era in America dining, the Grand Central’s décor was praised as “warm and romantic, featuring slate floor, hand-hewn beams and rough plaster, combined with local handicrafts.” • Historic District SurveyAssessor’s Online Database ¶ Posted 2013-03-15

7 Masonic Place

7 Masonic Place, Provincetown (2012), by David W. Dunlap.7 Masonic Place Guest House

Frank J. Hurst Jr., Reginald W. Cabral’s partner at the Atlantic House and his brother-in-law, lived here in the 1950s with Halcyone “Caffie” (Cabral) Hurst (±1922-1999). Like her brother, Mrs. Hurst was an art and antiques collector. Beside her interest in the A-House, she was also the innkeeper at the Hurst House, 384 Commercial Street. Having served in the Navy during World War II as a chief yeoman, she was buried with military honors at St. Peter’s Cemetery. Her daughter, Halcyone (Hurst) Tasha (b 1948), lived here in the 1970s and ’80s with her husband, Michael Tasha (b 1948). More history»

8 Masonic Place

8 Masonic Place, Provincetown (2012), by David W. Dunlap.Like much of the property on Masonic Place, No. 8 has been owned for many years by the Cabral family and its offshoots. Anne D. “Robin” Nicolson (b 1952), who owned this property and lived here in the 1980s and ’90s, is the sister of April Cabral-Pitzner of the Atlantic House. They share a mother in Meara McKie (Nicolson) Cabral. • Historic District SurveyAssessor’s Online Database ¶ Posted 2013-03-16