Provincetown History Snippets: Library on the Move?
If you’re looking at the Provincetown Public Library, then you’re looking back in time! It started life as the Center Methodist Episcopal Church and was impressive for its time, with a 162-foot tower housing a bronze bell. The spire was damaged during the Portland Gale.
In 1958 the building was sold to Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., son of the founder of the Chrysler Corporation; he made it into an art museum, but was handicapped by the lack of parking in the area, finally closing the building and taking his significant art collection to Virginia.
The building sat abandoned for several years. It had a brief moment of life when two locals bought it in the hopes of starting a special Center for the Arts, but funding wasn’t available and the building was repossessed.
The town then got involved and opened it as the Provincetown Heritage Museum in 1976. (This was when the half-scale model of the schooner Rose Dorothea was built and installed in the building.) The Heritage Museum operated on a seasonal basis with a minimal staff and a dedicated group of volunteers through the summer of 2000.
As interest in the museum waned, the library—housed down the street, where the PTV studios are now—was outgrowing its small space; and by 2005 it had moved into the old Heritage Museum… but kept the ship!