The center of Provincetown in the 1920s looks less crowded with its colorful roadsters, green lawn, and trees around Town Hall. But the architecture is the same as it is today in 2014. On the postcard from which this picture was taken it says,” Provincetown on the tip of the Cape, is frequently described as being two miles long and two streets wide. The streets are narrow and winding and traffic enters on Commercial Street and returns on Bradford. The Town Crier with his bell is still seen on the streets of Provincetown. ” (The postcard was published by E.D. West & Co.) If you love reading about Provincetown, check out the murder mystery novel Remaining in Provincetown by S.N. Cook., available at bookstores and online in trade paperback and as an ebook. Like us on Facebook and keep the conversation going.
This Provincetown Town Crier is dressed in traditional pilgrim attire, and I’m not certain if he is based on one of the professional Town Criers that walked the streets of Provincetown during the 20th century when this postcard was published. By the car in the background, and style of the printing, this particular Cape Cod postcard was published by the Mayflower Sales Company in approximately 1950. Titled, “Ye Old Town Crier, Provincetown, Cape Cod, Mass” the description on the back of the card says, “In keeping with the old colonial tradition, the custom of having a town crier walk up and down the streets cryng the news and events has been carried down through the years in quaint old Provincetown.” Spreading the news in a personal way was certainly inspirational to a number of the characters in the new murder mystery novel, Remaining in Provincetown by S.N. Cook. Find out what everyone’s talking about. You can purchase a signed edition at the Provincetown Book Shop on Commercial Street or buy a copy online in trade paperback or kindle. Read all the reviews at Amazon.com. Like us on Facebook and keep the conversation going.
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.