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2020 Commercial 129R Worskhop AddTaves Boatyard workshop.

Another era might have looked dismissively at this homely, utilitarian, 50-by-25-foot corrugated-metal shed with its distinctly amateur lettering. In my eyes, it is an irreplaceable gem — a perfect evocation of the rough-edged waterfront precinct this used to be. Frank “Bisca” Taves (1905-1984) built the 20-foot-high shed in 1947, three years after the marine railway out its front doors. Among the first jobs to be handled in the shed was the transformation in 1947-1948 of Mary Madelyn from a 40-foot dragger to a 52-foot dragger, with a new keel and a 90-horsepower diesel engine made by the Superior Engine Division of the National Supply Company.

The 1960s were the apogee of activity inside this workshop, when the Taves yard undertook to build two large vessels: the 43-foot-long cabin cruiser Columbia, for Elmer Costa of Orleans, in 1964; and the 38-foot-10-inch lobster boat Mayflower, for Herbert Lovell of Barnstable, in 1966.


2020 Commercial 129R Workshop 02The workshop today looks much as it did a half century ago, when Ross Moffett photographed it. David W. Dunlap (2012).

2020 Commercial 129R Workshop 03Ross Moffett’s photo of the Taves workshop, at left, looking along its Good Templar Place facade, is on the Provincetown History Preservation Project website, Page 1223.

2020 Commercial 129R Workshop 04Frank “Bisca” Taves and Columbia, in 1964. From the collection of Joseph Andrews.

2020 Commercial 129R Workshop 05Joseph Andrews and Marion “Rocky” Taves, Bisca’s brother, working on Columbia‘s garboard in 1964. Joseph Andrews collection.

2020 Commercial 129R Railway AddElmer Costa, working on Columbia. Joseph Andrews Collection.

2020 Commercial 129R Workshop 06Andrews and Columbia, from his collection.

2020 Commercial 129R Workshop 07Left: Construction advancing on Columbia. Joseph Andrews collection. Right: Taves at the pot-bellied stove in his workshop. From the collection of Leo E. Gracie.

2020 Commercial 129R Workshop 08Mayflower under construction in 1966. Photograph, by Dick Medeiros, from the collection of Joseph Andrews.

2020 Commercial 129R Workshop 09Dick Medeiros’s photo of Mayflower under construction in the Taves workshop was published on Page 1 of The Advocate on 6 January 1966, and comes from the collection of Joseph Andrews.

2020 Commercial 129R Workshop 10Taves Boatyard while it was still operating under Bisca. Joseph Andrews collection.

2020 Commercial 129R Workshop 11The view from Good Templar Place. David W. Dunlap (2011).

2020 Commercial 129R Workshop 12The workshop as seen from the boatyard. David W. Dunlap (2012).

Taves died in 1984 and the yard ceased operation soon thereafter. But it was reopened by Alfred J. Pickard Jr. of Wellfleet, who purchased the property in 1994. Pickard and his wife, Donna (Harrington) Pickard, run the Wellfleet Marine Corporation, which was founded in 1954 by her parents, Warren “Bing” Harrington and Irene Harrington. A longer discussion of the boatyard’s history, and its marine railway, is in the preceding entry for 129R Commercial Street.

¶ Last updated on 1 January 2019.


129R Commercial Street on the Town Map.


Also at 129R Commercial Street:

Taves Boatyard marine railway.

Taves Boatyard winch house.


Thumbnail image: Photo, 2012, by David W. Dunlap.


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