See 84 Bradford Street.
James J. Holmes, whose family lived here, turned 18 in May 1944. He enlisted in the Army three months later. Nazi Germany was collapsing. The Allies were closing in through France and Latvia. The U-boat havens were on the verge of being knocked out. Hitler had nearly been assassinated by his own generals. Perhaps Holmes dreamed of witnessing the European war come to an end. Instead, he was killed in Germany on 8 February 1945, exactly three months before V-E Day. The family sold the house in 1994 to Christopher Hall Sands, who turned it into the Hotel Piaf. He sold it in 1999 to Daniel A. Wolf (b 1957), pictured, and Heidi A. Schuetz of Harwich. At this writing, Wolf represents the Cape and Islands in the Senate and is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor. More pictures and history»
Crowne Pointe Historic Inn & Spa (Captain’s House)
Since 2000, this house has been an annex to the Crowne Pointe, 78-82 Bradford Street. It was built by Joseph Enos Brown, whose father, Joseph Flores, had been a whaler. Brown married Julia Almeida. Julia’s sister, Mary (Almeida) Mello (±1874-1966), also lived here. Arthur Joseph “Brownie” Brown (1911-2004), the son of Joseph and Julia, and Arthur’s wife, Evelyn “Evie” (Bradley) Brown (b 1905) are most closely associated with this house. “Brownie,” an accountant and retired stock broker, served on the town’s Finance Committee (Fin Com). More history»
(Former) Burr’s Barber Shop
In my walks through town, I’ve noticed a small cohort of truly neighborhood beauty salons and barber shops (most of them, unhappily, now shuttered). I imagine that these were welcome oases from the craziness downtown; places where old friends could reminisce and kvetch among themselves without much bother from tourists and wash-ashores. The property at 10 Prince Street included a main house and a garage that fronted on Cudworth Street. This was transformed into Burr’s Barber Shop, operated by Gordon H. Ferreira (1940-2011), the son of Jessie Ferreira (b 1916) and Rosemarie F. “Rose” Ferreira (b 1915), who lived here; More history»
Church of St. Peter the Apostle (Campus)
The Unitarian church and the old Methodist church have steeples that pierce the skyline. The Episcopal church is an artistic treasure house. The old Congregational church, full of commercial tenants, sits next to Town Hall. The modern Methodist church can’t be missed on your way to the supermarket. And the old Christian Science church is a gallery owned by a renowned family of artists.
The only church that casual visitors might miss is the Roman Catholic Church of St. Peter the Apostle. That’s a pity, because it was far and away the most important unifying force in the town’s social and spiritual life through much of the 20th century. St. Peter’s was — and in many ways still is — the heart of the Portuguese community. There’s a reason the annual Blessing of the Fleet begins here. The Rev. Leo J. Duart, pictured above, was an ambitious parochial leader, responsible for the construction of a parish hall and a school in the 1950s. Separate entries will cover the old and new churches. This entry concerns St. Peter’s campus generally, before and after a fire in 2005 that destroyed the church pictured in the post card above. More pictures and history»
Church of St. Peter the Apostle (1874)
Tu es Petrus, et super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam meam. The words of Jesus, taken from the Gospel of Matthew, can be seen clearly in the scroll held by the right hand in the figure of St. Peter at the church that bears his name. “You are Rock, and on this rock I will build my church.” There could be no more fitting a patron for Provincetown than Peter, the fisherman, to whom Jesus gives the keys to the kingdom of heaven, which the figure holds in its left hand. The church building was completed and blessed on 11 October 1874 during the pastorate of the Rev. John J. Maguire (d 1894).
Though the priesthood was a late vocation for the Rev. Henry J. Dahl (b 1941), pictured at left, he found himself involved in the arduous — if ultimately rewarding — challenge of church building within four years of his ordination in 1996. After helping the Rev. Marcel Bouchard construct a new home for Corpus Christi in East Sandwich, Father Dahl might reasonably have expected that he’d had his once-in-a-priest’s-lifetime experience in church development. Perhaps he imagined that his principal task when called to the pastorate of St. Peter’s in 2002 would be the maintenance and conservation of a building at 11 Prince Street that had after all been standing stoutly for 130 years; defying the Portland Gale and the Hurricane of 1938, among other onslaughts.
Provincetown offers nothing if not surprises, however. Only three years into his service on the lower Cape, Father Dahl was confronted — overnight in the dead of winter — with the worst catastrophe to befall the parish. St. Peter’s burned to the ground. And it fell to him to rebuild. Two-and-a-half years later, the deed was done, to designs by Tom Palanza of Mansfield, an architect and a deacon of the church.
Alfred Volton (±1896-1974), a native of Cambridge and member of the United States Coast Guard, and his wife [?], Isabelle M. Volton (b ±1900), bought this house in 1927 from Frank J. Roderick. Volton, a boatswain’s mate first class, was posted to the Wood End Life-Saving Station in the 1930s. In his retirement years, he was a devoted whist player. The Volton family held this property until 1991. • Map • Historic District Survey, main house • Historic District Survey, shed • Assessor’s Online Database ¶ Posted 2013-08-03
14 Prince Street in 2013, by the Town Assessor, 25 July 2013
The Italian barque Castagna, long overdue from Monte Video for Boston with phosphate rock, hit the perilous Peaked Hill Bars during a 60-mile-an-hour snowstorm and gale in February 1914. In the freezing night and mountainous seas, the crew were too numb to make use of the breeches buoy whose lines Surfman Joseph Francis (1883-1936) and his mates from the United States Life-Saving Service had shot out to the stricken vessel. The surfmen were forced to wait for a lower tide, lesser wind, and calmer seas. But Francis and the others finally managed to rescue eight sailors from the complement of 13. “If it were not for him the results might have been different,” Donna Silva, Francis’s great-great-niece, told me in 2020.
Ellen T. “Nellie” (Marshall) Francis; her husband, Joseph Francis; and their daughter, Ethel E. Francis (later to be Ethel Ross). Undated photo by I. L. Rosenthal, Provincetown, courtesy of Donna Silva.
This house and 16 Prince Street next door were at various times owned and occupied by Francis; his wife, Ellen T. “Nellie” (Marshall) Francis (±1878-1960); their daughter, Ethel E. (Francis) Ross; Ethel’s husband, George A. Ross; and the Rosses’ daughter Ellen (Ross) Cook. (Ellen’s sister Josephine married Raymond G. Alves of Galeforce Farm.) It was sold out of the family in 1998.
Joseph Francis stayed with the Life-Saving Service as it was transformed into the United States Coast Guard. In 1936, Silva related, he and another man were working on a battery in the basement of Station Race Point. “It exploded,” she said, “engulfing Joe in fire. After several months in the naval hospital in Chelsea, he succumbed to burns that covered most of his body and died.”
Joseph Francis in an undated photo, courtesy of Donna Silva.
¶ Last updated on 20 July 2020
14 Prince Street on the Town Map.
It was fitting that the accountant John F. Cook Jr. (1931-2010) should have lived across the street from St. Peter’s Church. A recipient of the Marian Medal, Cook was a member and president of the Holy Name Society and of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, and he was a Faithful Navigator Fourth Degree in the Knights of Columbus. (“John F. Cook Jr., of Provincetown,” The Provincetown Banner/Wicked Local, 25 February 2010.) In ±1951, he married Ellen Ross (1931-2005). More history»