Subscribe to stay up to date with the latest in Provincetown!
Subscribe to ptownie

    Provincetown History Snippet: Provincetownsend

    John Waters
    May 17, 2019

    It was said to be a place for “runaways and other gay street youth,” but Prescott Townsend’s home at 1 Bradford Street—known as “Provincetownsend”—provided much more than a place to stay. It was supposedly magical: John Waters claimed that trees grew in the living room and part of it was built from a submarine.

    Townsend was one of the first advocates for gay rights, and it seemed oddly appropriate that he should end up in Provincetown; his mother was a descendant of Myles Standish. He founded the Boston chapter of the Mattachine Society, and lectured both in Boston and Provincetown about his Snowflake Theory of human personality and sexuality: the human mind, he claimed, is like a snowflake in that no two are alike, and each has six opposing sides: I/You, He/She, Hit/Submit.

    A portrait by Al Kaplan of one of the residents at Provincetownsend is available here. There were apparently always young men coming and going. John Waters’ future star, Mink Stole, was staying at Provincetonsend when they met, and Waters later described the house and its occupants as “a lunatic Swiss Family Robinson.” It burned down in 1968.

    Image: John Waters in the 1960s

    Click here to check out all of our Provincetown History Snippets!

    More Recent Provincetown News

    February 8, 2024. The ptownie dispatch!
    February 7, 2024
    ptownie dispatch February 8th
    RuPaul’s Drag Race Viewing Party  Every Fridays through April 26, 2024 at The Crown and Anchor Provincetown’s premiere RuPaul’s Drag Race Viewing Party is BACK at The Crown & Anchor! Join Austin Tyler & Mackenzie as the host season 16,...
    December 14, 2023. The ptownie dispatch!
    December 14, 2023
    Townie Holiday Extravaganza  December 14 thru 17, 2023 Provincetown Theater Townie Holiday Extravaganza annual year-end production Provincetown Theater with approximately two dozen participants in a yuletide variety show One Night Only December 15 at 8pm! A...