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...
Provincetown History Snippets: The Gropius House

Provincetown History Snippets: The Gropius House

At 2 Commercial Street you can look up and possibly spot part of the Gropius House, also known as the Murchison House. Commissioned by Dr. Paul Murchison and created largely by Walter Gropius, it was based on a Japanese temple design with minimalist lines and large...
Provincetown History Snippets: The “Great Dying”

Provincetown History Snippets: The “Great Dying”

Between 1616 and 1619, a plague struck native villages of coastal New England from Maine to Cape Cod. It killed tens of thousands of people, among them hundreds of men, women, and children from the Wampanoag Nation. The exact nature of the “Great Dying,” and how it...
X