2020 Commercial 104 Boxell 01-006 PHPP 0329.jpg


Benjamin Lancy (I) house | Thomas W. Dyer store.

It’s hard even to picture where this historical building stood, since its site was eradicated in the 1920s by the smoothing out of a hazardous 95-degree right turn on Commercial Street. Benjamin Lancy [I] (1780-1863) lived at what is now 104 Commercial Street and maintained a salt works behind his house. When the county commissioners proposed bisecting his property with an extension of the road, Lancy objected forcibly. “Whoever saws through my salt works saws through my body,” he declared, according to The Provincetown Book by Nancy W. Paine Smith. To which Joshua Paine is said to have replied, “Where’s a saw?” Nonetheless, Lancy prevailed and a dogleg was created that was known by some as Lancy’s Corner. (It was also called Brooks’s Corner, Kelly’s Corner, or simply the Turn.)

2020 Commercial 104 Gallery Boxell 01-006 PHPP 0329.jpgDyer’s paint store in 1890. From Book 1, Page 6 of the Scrapbooks of Althea Boxell, digitized by the Provincetown History Preservation Project, Page 329.

This building was labeled “B. Lancy” as late as the 1880 Atlas of Barnstable County, but it was listed in the 1886 directory as the store of Thomas W. Dyer (1826-1900), who sold “paints, oils, varnishes, etc.” — no doubt in much demand at the wharves across the street. At the time, the address was denominated 97 Commercial Street. The building had been reduced to a near ruin by 1939 but, at the request of Gertrude Lancy (Snow) DeWager (1871-1948), president of the Research Club, the Atlantic Coast Fisheries Company salvaged some key elements. The fireplance mantle, corner cupboard, and wainscoting were donated to the Historical Mansion at 230 Commercial Street — a Second Empire concoction built by Lancy’s grandson, Benjamin Lancy [III] (1847-1923).

¶ Last updated on 6 September 2018. ¶ Detail of the 1890 photograph.

Denise Avallon wrote on 30 September 2012: In the 1886 directory, Thomas W. Dyer’s store was listed at 97 Commercial Street, N. C. Brooks at No. 95, Jeremiah Quinn at No. 93, and Addison Nickerson at No. 91. The 1888 Sanborn map shows the house at the bend, No. 97, as a grocery. The 1912 and 1919 Sanborn maps show it is still there, renumbered as No. 104. So is Brooks’s old house, renumbered as No. 102 and moved forward. Then comes Quinn’s old house, renumbered as No. 100, situated as it is now. The 1929 map shows that the bend in the road has been widened and the house at No. 104 (originally No. 97) is gone.


Grave sites in Provincetown

DeWager, Gertrude. Find a Grave Memorial 52906748.

Dyer, Thomas. Find a Grave Memorial 137332494.

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