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2020 Commercial 125 Paine 01J. Paine Jr. Lumber & Coal Yard.

A generation before the enormous cold storage plant that many older townspeople remember so keenly — on the site of Coast Guard Station Provincetown — stood a large lumber and coal yard, under the proprietorship of Joshua Paine Jr. (1819-1891). In 1853, he founded the fishing firm that was to become J. & L. N. Paine, after his brother joined the partnership. Joshua Paine was also the president of the Atlantic Mutual Fire and Marine Insurance Company, which had its office in the Seamen’s Savings Bank, just around the Turn at 90 Commercial Street, in which he was a corporator.

Paine apparently leased — rather than purchased — a key tract at the Turn from the estate of Elisha Freeman. Paine was married to one of Elisha’s first cousins once removed, Martha Freeman (Atwood) Paine (1831-1913). The J. Paine Jr. Lumber & Coal Yard was in existence by 1886, when it was listed in the directory as “mfg. boxes and dealer in lumber, etc.” In 1888, Paine applied for permission to extend Freeman’s Wharf, which he did own, by 200 feet. The layout of the yard in 1889 is shown clearly in the map reproduced below.


2020 Commercial 125 Paine 02Detail of the Sanborn Fire Insurance Map From Provincetown, Barnstable County, Massachusetts (1889) at the Library of Congress Geography and Map Division, Digital ID No. g3764pm.g038261889.

Seth Smith and John Rosenthal bought a key parcel in 1897 from the Freeman estate, though the wharf and its upland footing was owned by Mrs. Paine until 1912. It’s unclear to what use they put the land, but they didn’t own it long. The Cape Cod Cold Storage Company purchased it in 1911, setting the stage for the next significant development on the site.

I believe the lumber yard office on Commercial Street survived long enough to have a second life as John J. Duarte’s shoe shop.

¶ Last updated on 27 November 2018.


125 Commercial Street on the Town Map.


Thumbnail image: Detail from Bird’s Eye View of the Town of Provincetown (1882), by A. F. Poole, in the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library, Call No. G3764.P78A3 1882.P6.


Also at 125 Commercial Street:

Elisha Freeman’s Wharf.

John J. Duarte Shoe Shop.

Cape Cod Cold Storage Company | Atlantic Coast Fisheries Cold Storage (Overview).

Cape Cod Cold Storage engine house.

Cape Cod Cold Storage freezer.

Cape Cod Cold Storage filleting department.

Cape Cod Cold Storage trolley and tramway.

Coast Guard Station Provincetown boat house | Former Cape Cod Cold Storage cannery.

Cape Cod Cold Storage trap shed.

United States Coast Guard Station Provincetown.

United States Coast Guard Pier.


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