At least as far back as the 1950s, Franklin J. Oliver (1918-1982) and Hilda V. Oliver (1922-2004) made their home here. They were married in ±1936. Oliver, a deputy chief in the Provincetown Fire Department, died 19 November 1982 while fighting a suspicious fire in a bakery, when he was struck over the head by an air pack. Mrs. Oliver, who had worked at the Colonial Inn and at the Cape Colony Inn, sold the property in 1996 to Edward “Ted” Chapin (b 1950) and his partner, Torrence Boone. They subsequently acquired and renovated 6 Pearl Street, but Chapin maintains an art gallery, Gallery4Pearl, on the ground floor of this house, which was constructed in the mid-19th century. More pictures and history»
An almost urban density gives downtown Provincetown a lot of its character. But even here, there are few houses that look as jammed into a lot as 5 Pearl Street, only inches away from the rear of the Somerset House Inn, 378 Commercial Street. The relationship between the buildings, however, is neither accidental nor haphazard. This was once the home of Dr. Ella Freeman (Kendrick) Birge (b 1857), a physician, and her husband, Dr. William Spafard Birge (b 1857), also a physician. And they ran the Ocean View Sanatorium, which is what the Somerset House used to be. Their granddaughter, Amy Spafard Birge (1907-2000), married the renowned Provincetown artist Bruce McKain (1900-1990), and lived here almost all her life. (His painting, Gray Day, from the collection of Helen and Napi Van Dereck, is shown below.)
“I just think of myself as part of this continuum, starting with this little fish shack,” Edward (Ted) Chapin (b 1950) said in 2003, after his renovation of 6 Pearl Street changed the building envelope significantly for the fourth time in its 120-year history. Chapin explained to Life in Provincetown magazine that the building had begun as a gable-roofed fish shack. In the first big change, a kitchen angle expanded the house. The second big change was the addition of a gambrel roof. The third big change came with the construction of a porch. His renovation, however, was the most dramatic. “Basically, the only constraints were the three antique walls and the shape,” he said. “Everything else is completely reconceived.” The extra floor area that Chapin added to 6 Pearl was subtracted from the workshop and garage at 6B Pearl that he and his partner, Torrence C. Boone, also purchased in 2000 from the Souza family.
The Historic District Survey dates this house to the early 1800s. Capt. Peter J. Cabral (b 1963), now the skipper of the Terra Nova, lived here in the 1980s with his wife [?], Deborah A. Cabral (b 1952), and his mother [?], Anna C. Cabral (b 1922). It was purchased from the Cabrals in 2001 by Gary M. Marotta, the proprietor of the Gary Marotta Fine Art gallery at 162 Commercial Street. • Historic District Survey, main house • Historic District Survey, shed • Assessor’s Online Database ¶ Posted 2013-06-01
The workshop and former garage that comes with the 6 Pearl Street property was built in the early to mid-20th century, according to the Historic District Survey. Edward “Ted” Chapin and Torrence C. Boone purchased it in 2000 from the Souza family. By tearing down the small ell in the front of the structure, as pictured below (before and after), they were able to add floor area to the main house. And it enabled them to create an open yard with a small koi pond. “It just worked a lot better sculpturally,” Chapin told Life in Provincetown magazine in 2003. • Historic District Survey • Assessor’s Online Database ¶ Posted 2013-06-01 More pictures»
Seaside Apartments Condominium
The adjoining one- and two-story structures were built in 1940, according to the Historic District Survey. They were converted into a two-unit condominium 1994. • Historic District Survey, two-story house • Historic District Survey, one-story house • Assessor’s Online Database, Unit 13 • Assessor’s Online Database, Unit 14 ¶ Posted 2013-06-02