N. C. Brooks & Son Livery Stable.
Originally, in the 1860s and 1870s (if not earlier), Newell Cyrenus Brooks (1833-1907) dealt in lumber. But a shift in business was already evident in 1874, when a lumber advertisement in The Advocate mentioned prominently that N. C. Brooks also offered “horses and carriages to let and a general express to any part of the town.” An 1878 ad noted that Brooks dealt in groceries, fruits, vegetables, wood, and straw. By 1886, he had been joined in business by his son Eben. The company was styled N. C. Brooks & Son and its headquarters were at 96 Commercial Street, as this parcel was denominated at the time, under the old address system. As the ad below makes clear, the stable was a transportation hub. You’ll note the references to the barges Empress and Myrtle. These are not flat-bottomed boats, but wagons — designed for “carrying picnic parties or conveying passengers to and from hotels,” according to the Century Dictionary of 1914, which noted further that the usage was peculiar to New England. In 1880, for example, passengers arriving in town on the steamer Acushnet would board the Empress at Steamboat Wharf, with their luggage. It was also possible to rent the barges for excursions to the Cape Cod Highlands, roughly eight miles distant. “Private parties furnished with teams [of horses] for the Highlands, or any point, on reasonable terms,” an advertisement from 1886 stated. “Careful drivers,” it promised.
For a view of Brooks Wharf, please see Brooks Wharf.
For a view of the N. C. Brooks wagon house (now Blue Shutters), please see 109 Commercial Street.
Advertisement in The First Resident Directory of Provincetown, Mass. (1886). Courtesy of the Provincetown History Preservation Project, Page 171.
¶ Last updated on 15 September 2018. ¶ Image courtesy of the Provincetown History Preservation Project, Page 171.