New Provincetown Book inspired by Town Crier history

Provinetown, Cape Cod vintage postcard

Provinetown, Cape Cod vintage postcard

A rare antique postcard shows two of Provincetown’s early 20th century Town Criers together in one photograph: George W. Ready and Walter T. Smith. George Washington Ready wore regular street clothes while practicing his profession, clothes that gradually became more old and dilapidated as he advanced in age.  He was known to have a remarkable vocabulary, but in his official capacity as Town Crier, restricted his language to what he was contracted to recite.

Walter T. Smith, known as “Hoppy” Smith served as the Provincetown Town Crier for 27 years and at age 78 resigned his post due to lameness in 1927.   (Perhaps he walked with a hopping gait and thereby the nickname?) The July 16, 1927 Farmers Advocate newspaper published in their weekly issue that “he is believed to be the last Town Crier in the country”  But of course her was not the last Town Crier, because Amos Kubik went on to succeed him, as documented in a 1938 Provincetown Advocate article about Kubik making a trip from Provincetown, Massachusetts to Washington D.C.  to perform at the National Folk Festival on the Mall.

In the 1980s Gene Poyant went on to revive the Town Crier Tradition on Cape Cod and now the calling of being a Town Crier has been revived in many cities globally. There is a World Invitational Town Crier Championship from August lst to August 5, 2013 in Kingston Ontario.

And while Provincetown doesn’t currently have a Town Crier it might have been an inspiration for the name of a local magazine because freedom of the press and breaking up the monopoly of one small town newspaper is a big issue with the characters in the new Provincetown book Remaining in Provincetown by S.N. Cook.   Antique postcards are also important in the story. Native son Sonny Carreiro is an obsessive collector.  Haven’t read the book yet? Signed copies are for sale at the Provincetown Bookshop and copies are also available online  in trade paperback and on kindle.  Find out what people are talking about on our Facebook page.

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!

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

Best Provincetown Books for Summer Reading

Reading some books about Provincetown will get you in the mood for your visit.

Reading some books about Provincetown will get you in the mood for your visit.

Whether you are visiting Provincetown for the very first time or returning to Cape Cod for your annual summer visit, there is nothing like reading a few good books to get you in the mood. Here are some favorites!

Time and the Town by Mary Heaton Vorse

Mary Heaton Vorse (1874-1966) arrived in Provincetown in 1907. The book was published in 1942 and it is the last of the sixteen books that she wrote. An activist in the American labor movement and a roving foreign correspondent, she was a woman ahead of her time. Her book is a story of the town and its people, rich with history and interesting antidotes. Her story is both a memoir and a social commentary, with lovely descriptions of the way the town once was years ago. y If you have an interest in Cape Cod, Provincetown history, and women writers, don’t miss out on reading this classic.  A reprinted version published by the Rutgers University Press and listed under editor Adele Heller is available online  in paperback. Earlier collectible versions are available from antiquarian book dealers.

The Outermost House: A Year on the Great Beach of Cape Cod

By Henry Beston

Published in 1928 this beloved book that puts the focus on nature, is now available in paperback , and  chronicles a year spent on the Cape Cod Beach , now known as the Coast Guard Beach in Easton. Beston describes the desolate beauty of life living on the sand dunes. You are transported.  Available in paperback, hardback, and a kindle version as well as an audio version, it could be the perfect book to listen to as you drive towards the tip of Cape Cod.

Remaining in Provincetown by S.N. Cook

A perfect beach read, this recently released mystery novel set in the early 1990s, takes you inside the minds of a diverse set of characters whose lives intersect when one of the town’s leading citizens, a real estate entrepreneur and native son, is murdered. “Described Provincetown to a T” says one of the Amazon customer reviews. “Finally an author has been able to successfully capture the flavor of that quirky town on the end of Cape Cod and do it well,” says another reader review.  Available in trade paperback in bookstores, online, and as a kindle version.

Ptown Poem

Art and gossip at Provincetown Town Hall

Located on Commercial Street, in the center of Provincetown, the recently renovated Town Hall, was not the very first Town Hall built in the town located on the tip of Cape Cod. The first Town Hall was located on HIgh Pole Hill and was built in 1853, but burned down in 1877.  The 22,000 square foot Victorian era

Provincetown Town Hall was completed 1886

Provincetown Town Hall was completed 1886

building, completed in 1886, was constructed to serve as a community gathering place.  Commonly in New England, town’s held their town meetings in churches until Town Halls were constructed to insure the separation of church and state. At one time or another the Provincetown Hall served many functions that included, dance hall, basketball court, and even rolller skating rink.
The Provincetown Art Association and Museum held their early art exhibitions at the Provincetown Town Hall until they were able to acquire and renovate a building of their own.  Along the way, the town amassed a significant art collection that includes two paintings by Charles Hawthorne, “The Crew of the Philomena Manta ” and “Fish Cleaners.” Hawthorne founded the Cape Cod School of Art in 1899.  Ross Moffet completed two murals in 1934 , “Gathering Beach Plums” and “Spreading Nets” funded by the Public Works of Art Project that helped many struggling artists during the Great Depression.

Visit the Provincetown Town  Hall when you visit the town and see many fine paintings hanging on the walls and in meeting rooms. And yes, the Town Hall does figure into the storyline of the new mystery novel Remaining in Provincetown. There is something going on between the newly hired Town Manager and the publisher and editor of the weekly newspaper. What could it be? Get your copy of the book just released last month and now available at local bookstores and online at Amazon.com in trade paperback and as an ebook. Like us on Facebook. Keep the conversation going.

Provincetown Cape Cod setting for mystery and love

Fishing Boats at Provinetown, Cape Cod Mass. circa 1900

Fishing Boats at Provincetown, Cape Cod Mass. circa 1900

The above antique postcard shows the beauty of the Provincetown shoreline, viewing it from the harbor. While fishing boats are fewer, the beauty of the Cape Cod town known for its art galleries, bars, restaurants, and shops has gone through many evolutions through the decades, but is still a compelling place.  As described in the new murder mystery Remaining in Provincetown by S.N. Cook, “Whatever their disagreements, members of the Provincetown community were united in their love of the sea and sand dunes, along with the winding, narrow streets and nineteenth century architecture that dominated this small New England town.” Want to read more? The 306 page paperback is available at a number of online sites and at bookstores including Amazon.com and is also available as an ebook on kindle. Don’t forget to like us on facebook. We’ll be giving away one more FREE book this week to a facebook fan.

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!

Provincetown Cape Cod once had a Peter Hunt Lane

Peter Hunt Lane, Provincetown, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Peter Hunt Lane, Provincetown, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

The caption on this vintage postcard says “Peter Hunt Lane”. The east end street today goes by a different name– Kiley Court, home of Ciro & Sal’s Restaurant and various art galleries. But once upon a time this real estate was frequented by the multi-talented Peter Hunt who could take a beat up piece of old furniture and turn it into an decorative and functional item of beauty.  His store and studio were known as “Peter Hunt’s Peasant Village.” He was inspired by Pennsylvania Dutch design motif styles, but gave his creations their own unique twist.  Hunt was a successful entrepreneur in Provincetown, Massachusetts during the 1930s and 40s and developed a following of collectors and imitators. By 1960 he had sold his Provincetown real estate and moved his studio and business Up Cape to Orleans where he opened Peacock Alley. Peter Hunt products with his original signature are valuable collectors items but when he died in 1967, his style of decorating had fallen out of favor.  The novel Remaining in Provincetown takes place in approximately 1990 and Guest House owner Bruno does have one of his rooms, “The Yellow Room” decorated in the Peter Hunt style, because just a few decades after Hunts death, antique and design buffs recognized the significance of his artistry and Bruno is a character who appreciates the finer things in life.

Town Crier once a Provincetown tradition

Town Crier in Provincetown late 19th century

Town Crier in Provincetown late 19th century

Town Criers were once a New England tradition. Walking the streets they verbally spread the news and in tourist communities such as Provincetown on Cape Cod, they were often employed by the Chamber of Commerce to promote commerce.
Usually the image of a New England Town Crier is a plump man dressed in Pilgrim style garb. The Town Crier in the black and white postcard printed in Germany, shown above, carried the bell and the broadside, but is certainly not dressed like a pilgrim.  Through Provincetown’s history there  have been many different Town Criers, and they are documented in antique post cards.  The last Town Crier for Provincetown, Gene Poyant, walked the streets in the early 1980’s and died in 1998.  A Town Crier figures into the plot of the novel Remaining in Provincetown in more than one way, just as there are a variety of Town Criers. We’ll be sharing some more pictures of Town Criers from the past in the weeks to come.

Is it New Beach or Nude Beach in Provincetown on Cape Cod?

Loading Fish at the tip of Cape Cod in Provincetown

Loading Fish at the tip of Cape Cod in Provincetown

Written on the back of this antique postcard it says Hell Town, New Beach.  Yes, long ago there was a  fishing settlement between Woods End and Race Point called “Hell Town”. It’s a pretty ironic name considering that Provincetown, located at the very end of Cape Cod, through the years became known as a wild party town where just about anything goes.  As for the term New Beach, it has not been used for decades to my knowledge. When I google the term “New Beach” what I get is “Nude Beach”.  Well yes, there has always been an unofficial and then official Nude Beach over at Herring Cove Beach.  If there is a secluded place, naturists will remove their clothes, it’s just natural. Just like it’s natural for folks who live in a beautiful place like Provincetown will want to enjoy spending as much time on the beach, listening to the sounds of the waves crashing on the shore and the sounds of the seagulls calling to one another flying  above and looking for some tasty dinner. Partaking in tasty food is something many of the characters in Remaining in Provincetown like to do, particularly Bruno the owner of a popular Bed and Breakfast. Want to learn more? Keep posted to learn more about the soon-to-be released novel everyone’s talking about.

Fishing in Provincetown, Massachusetts

Provincetown fishermen baiting up trawl

Provincetown fishermen baiting up trawl

 

Provincetown once had a booming fishing industry. The harbor on the tip of Cape Cod was filled with fishing boats in early morning, on their way out to sea, heading as far as Georges Bank, the most westward of the great Atlantic fishing banks.  Sought after fish species included cod, haddock, herring, and flounder.  While the fish populations have decreased due to the high demand for seafood, fishing is still an important part of the Cape Cod economy. A common way of fishing in the 19th and early 20th century was called trawling. Large nets were used to drag behind the boat to gather up fish.  Thus the term dragger referred to boats that were trawlers.  Fishing boats would also troll with baited line.   Dragging baited lines behind a boat is referred to as trolling. The antique postcard above shows fishermen in Provincetown, Massachusetts baiting trawl.

Provincetown developed alternative ways to support its economy by promoting tourism and the arts. It’s a great town to visit and to read about. Don’t forget to put Remaining in Provincetown on your reading list this summer. It’s a novel with more than one mystery in the plot.

Provincetown fishing industry

Image

It wasn’t that long ago that you could walk down to the end of the wharf and see lots of fishing boats. The  photo for this postcard was taken in the 1960s.  The Blessing of the Fleet is still going strong, however, and its a great celebration. Read about it in the soon to be released novel Remaining in Provincetown.