Downtown Provincetown Freeman Street History

Glimpse of Freeman Street Provincetown, Cape Cod

Glimpse of Freeman Street
Provincetown, Cape Cod

During the busy summer months its easy to miss all the lovely side streets in Provincetown which join the main two thoroughfares–Bradford Street and Commercial Street. The above postcard, a color lithographic print from the late 19th century is entitled “Glimpse of Freeman Street”. What you don’t see is the building , donated by Nathan Freeman in 1873, which once served as the Provincetown Public Library. The Freeman Street library opened to the public in June of 1874.  In the mystery novel Remaining in Provincetown by S.N. Cook, set in approximately 1990, the library is at that location on the corner of Freeman and Commercial Streets. Today the library resides in what was once the Center Methodist Episcopal Church built in 1860.  During the time period in which Remaining in Provincetown takes place, the building (once the Chrysler Art Museum) is still the Provincetown Heritage Museum. In 2005 it became the Provincetown Public LIbrary. Want to read a story that takes place in Provincetown a few decades ago? Remaining in Provincetown is available online and at your favorite bookstores. Like us on Facebook and keep the conversation going.

Remaining in Provincetown  By S.N.Cook.  Truro Works. 306 pages  $12.95 Trade Paperback

Remaining in Provincetown
By S.N.Cook.
Truro Works. 306 pages
$12.95 Trade Paperback

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Railroad Wharf Provincetown Cape Cod Sailing Vessels

Provincetown Railroad Wharf

Provincetown
Railroad Wharf

This postcard, a hand colored photograph, was mailed from Provincetown Massachusetts to Bethehem  New Hampshire in 1908. Titled  “Fishing & Pleasure Boats, Railroad Wharf, Provincetown, Mass” it was published by The Robinson Brothers in Boston and was printed in Germany and distributed by the Metropolitan News Company.
It is a lovely picture which shows the gracefulness of the sailboats used for recreation and the handsome schooners used for fishing. Before there was  a Macmillan Wharf, the main downtown wharf in Provincetown was known as Railroad Wharf because the railroad tracks ran all the way down to the end in order to easily load fish off the fishing boats for shipping (with some ice of course) straight to major cities that included New York. It was back in the days when men wore bowler derby hats and a child might carry a parasol. Horses and carts were still being used, along with the first automobiles. That was long ago and times have changed. The town on the tip of Cape Cod continues to evolve. What was it like a few decades ago? To get an impression, read the new mystery novel Remaining in Provincetown by S.N. Cook. Available online where books are sold and locally in Provincetown at the Provincetown bookshop (autographed). Like us on facebook and keep the conversation growing.

Truro Cape Cod Pamet River

Early 20th century Truro Postcard showing Pamet River.

Early 20th century Truro Postcard showing Pamet River.

If you live in Provincetown, you spend time in Truro–the adjacent township which is more rural in its setting.  Or maybe you work  in Provincetown and live in Truro. One of the beautiful spots in the town is the Pamet River. Over four miles in length, the river is named for the Paomet Indian tribe who lived on Cape Cod. It is probably their corn the pilgrims stole from Corn Hill after  they initially landed in Provincetown Harbor and then went further down the Bay in pursuit of food.
WIth the changes that winter storms have wrought on the coastlines during the past few years, its interesting to see this old postcard that was mailed in 1927 from Truro to Carver Road.   The writer was evidently staying in Truro but talks about going into Provincetown to enjoy parades and celebrations.  So even back in the 1920s, Provincetown was the place for parties.  Want to learn more about Provincetown read Remaining in Provincetown by S.N. Cook, available online and in local bookstores. Like us on Facebook and keep the conversation going. Pick up a copy of this week’s Provincetown Magazine and read a brief excerpt from the book.

Champion Provincetown Clam Digger

"Carl" Champion Provincetown Clamdigger

“Carl” Champion Provincetown Clamdigger

Quahogs and steamers were once in plentiful supply in Provincetown harbor.  The above antique postcard is a  19th century color lithographic print published in Germany by F. H. Dearborn, Provincetown Massachussets. The card shows a champion clam digger, “Carl”, wheeling his haul down Commercial Street standing in front of what is now Marine Specialties.
Clams were often used for fish bait. Nowadays  Cape Cod clams are enjoyed fried, stuffed, steamed, and in chowders. Because the clam population has become depleted due to overfishing, clam digging is closely monitored and restricted according to season.  But during the Great Depression, shellfish was an important source of protein for Cape Codders.
Everyone loves a creamy hot bowl of Clam Chowder on a cold damp day. A number of Provincetown restaurants serve delicious homemade chowder and one restaurant “Sally’s Chowder Bowl,”–a fictional location,  is a favorite dining spot of several of the characters in Remaining in Provincetown, the mystery novel by S.N. Cook.  Who likes to eat there and why? Read the book everyone’s talking about available online and at local bookstores. Like us on Facebook and keep the conversation going.

Provincetown Cape Cod Seining Fish

Seining FIsh Provincetown Massachusetts

Seining FIsh Provincetown Massachusetts

This antique Provincetown postcard is entitled “Seining Fish” and was published by the Provincetown Advocate in the late 19th century. The American Indians used weirs, stationary nets to capture fish and fishing weirs were still a common sight in parts of Cape Cod  Bay in the 20th century. But another fishing technique, popular in the 19th century as depicted in this antique Provincetown postcard, was seine fishing. Seine fishing uses nets that are hung vertically in the water, set in place to catch a school of fish and then removed. The bottom edge of the net is held down by weights while the top of the net edge is held aloft by floats.  Purse seine fishing uses rings on the edges of the nets to gather the net together like a purse. That’s where it gets its name—purse seine.

Names can be very descriptive. What is the significance of the name of the novel, Remaining in Provincetown by S.N. Cook? Who is remaining? Is it the murder victim or is it the characters who have chosen the town as their home and have chosen to stay? Want to learn more? Read the murder mystery available at your local bookstore or online as a trade paperback or ebook. Like us on Facebook

At bookstores that include the Provincetown Bookshop.

At bookstores that include the Provincetown Bookshop.

Like our facebook fan page and you may be selected to receive a FREE advance cppy!

Like our facebook fan page and you may be selected to receive a FREE advance cppy!

and keep the conversation going.