East Harbor? Pilgrim Lake?

East Harbor? Pilgrim Lake?

Once a natural embayment deep enough to serve as winter quarters for Provincetown’s fishing fleet, the body of water across from Beach Point was once known as Eastern Harbor, then as East Harbor. It was diked in 1868 (so that the railroad connecting Provincetown to...
Provincetown History Snippets: Mary Heaton Vorse

Provincetown History Snippets: Mary Heaton Vorse

Mary Heaton Vorse was a Provincetown resident, American journalist, labor activist, social critic, and novelist. She was outspoken and active in peace and social justice causes, such as women’s suffrage, civil rights, pacifism, socialism, and affordable housing....
Getting to Provincetown

Getting to Provincetown

By the mid-18th century, the whaling industry was in decline and Provincetown had to find a new way to make a living, so it began cultivating tourism. By the 19th century people were traveling either by boat or stagecoach out to Ptown. In 1848 the first train service...
Provincetown History Snippet: Painting in Plein-Air

Provincetown History Snippet: Painting in Plein-Air

The Cape Cod School of Art was the first outdoor summer school for figure painting, becoming over time one of the country’s leading art schools. The school was founded and directed by Charles Hawthorne, who gave weekly criticisms and instructive talks, guiding...
Provincetown History Snippet: It’s Carnival Time!

Provincetown History Snippet: It’s Carnival Time!

Provincetown’s carnival began in 1978 as a fundraiser for the brand-new Provincetown Business Guild, which was seeking to make the town more of an LGBT vacation destination. We love themes here in Ptown, and so The first theme was A Night in Rio, and since then themes...
Provincetown History Snippets: Tennessee Williams in Ptown

Provincetown History Snippets: Tennessee Williams in Ptown

Tennessee Williams spent four summer seasons in Provincetown (1940, 1941, 1944, and 1947) where he wrote plays, short stories, and glowing poetry. He experienced a lot of drama offstage as well as on, falling in love, having his heart broken, surviving a purported...
When Smallpox Hit Provincetown

When Smallpox Hit Provincetown

In 1848, when smallpox was still a powerful and frightening disease, a small treatment building called the pestilence house—known as the Pest House—was built a few hundred yards north of present day Route 6, meant to keep those infected safely away from the rest of...
Shakespeare and the Mayflower

Shakespeare and the Mayflower

Stephen Hopkins was one of the Mayflower “Strangers,” and later settled both Plymouth and Jamestown. It’s believed that Shakespeare based a character on him! Though he wasn’t among the first Jamestown settlers, he did arrive within the first three years. He might have...
Provincetown History Snippets: Race Point Light Station

Provincetown History Snippets: Race Point Light Station

As early as 1808, Provincetown’s residents asked for a lighthouse at Race Point. Travel was treacherous for vessels negotiating the bars at Cape Cod’s northern tip. Race Point Lighthouse was first lighted on November 5, 1816, and was one of the earliest revolving...
Did She Fall or Was She Pushed?

Did She Fall or Was She Pushed?

The Mayflower had to cross the Atlantic at the height of storm season, making the passage both unpleasant and dangerous passage. Many of the passengers were so seasick they couldn’t move, and waves were so rough that one passenger was swept overboard. Through what...
Provincetown History Snippet: North Truro Air Force Base

Provincetown History Snippet: North Truro Air Force Base

The North Truro Air Force Station was one of the first of twenty-four stations of the Air Defense Command radar network created to spy on the Soviet Union immediately after it tested its first atomic bomb. From 1951 to 1985, the mission of North Truro AFS was to...
Provincetown History Snippets: Provincetown’s Origins

Provincetown History Snippets: Provincetown’s Origins

Along with the rest of Cape Cod, the area that would become Provincetown was formed sometime between 17,000 BCE and 15,000 BCE. Glaciers had covered North America throughout the various Ice Ages; the last glaciation—called the Wisconsin Glaciation—left behind rock...
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