Atlantic House or A-House, a historically gay place

Atlantic House, Provincetown, Massachusetts and owner Frank Potter Smith

Atlantic House, Provincetown, Massachusetts and owner Frank Potter Smith

The Atlantic House, now affectionately known as the A-House, was given its current name by Portuguese sailor Frank Potter Smith, pictured in this antique postcard printed in the late 19th century. Smith (probably not his original family name) purchased the tavern in the early 1870s. Provincetown’s first Postmaster Daniel Pease built the historic building at 5 Masonic Place in 1798.

Before trains ran out to Provincetown you could reach the small town on the tip of Cape Cod by stagecoach. You could get on the stagecoach in Orleans and arrive in the center of Provincetown to be let off at what was then called the Alllstrum House (now the A-House).  You had literally reached “the end of the line.”

Considered by many social historians to be the oldest Gay Bar in the United States, among the memorabilia and art that grace the walls is a nude photograph of Tennessee Williams strolling on the beach.  Williams was one of many famous patrons in the 1940s.

Under the management of Reggie Cabral, who purchased the building with his sister and brother-in –law Mr. And Mrs. Frank Hurst in 1950 and subsequently took over full ownership, the business continued to become a favorite gathering place for locals and visitors, with its several intimate bars and happening dance floor.  Having a good time is definitely on the mind of several of the characters in Remaining in Provincetown. Will it cloud their judgment? When you live in a small town its hard to remain anonymous.

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