Satori Condominium (Units A, B, and C).
If 133 Commercial Street was the heart of Cookie’s Tap, 135 Commercial Street was its soul. For it was from this kitchen that the glories of Cookie’s — fava beans, stuffed sea clams, squid stew, kale soup, galvanized tinkers, vovo Cabral, and peixe frito em molho de tomate — emerged, under the hand of Clara (Cabral) Cook (1900-1988). She was materfamilias of the Cook-Cookie’s clan and, not incidentally, the holder of the victualler’s license for the business. But she would not cook at Cookie’s. “All her cooking was done at the house next door, in her kitchen and basement, where her sons would come and get whatever she cooked up,” Geneva Cook-Gervais told me. That would be Wilbur and Joe; sometimes Philip or Ralph. Their father, and Clara’s husband, Frank “Friday” Cook (1898-1946), had died at the age of 48.
Could Norman Rockwell have done better? Clara Cook presides over a holiday dinner at 135 Commercial Street with her six sons, her daughter, and nearly a dozen grandchildren. This charming photograph comes from the collection of Clara Spatafore.
The handsome house with a cross-gable roof had been home in the 1880s to Harvey O. Sparrow, a dealer in stoves and tinware. Sparrow was heavily involved in Masonry. He served two terms, in 1879-1880 and 1884-1887, as high priest of the Joseph Warren Royal Arch Chapter in Provincetown. By 1910, both this house and 133 Commercial Street were owned by Joseph Botelho Amber (1859-1934), who ran a confectionery and tobacco store at No. 133. After Amber died, Clara and Friday purchased both properties simultaneously from his estate. They opened Cookie’s Tap in the old Amber store, but soon tore it down to construct an entirely new restaurant building at No. 133.
The house was large enough that its rooms could be let. In fact, one three-room unit in the house was known, at least for the 1961 season, as the Friday Cook Apartment. Georgie E. (Smith) Williams (1860-1932) lived and died here, as did her son-in-law Joseph Francis Souza (1886-1938), a fisherman and native of São Miguel in the Azores, who succumbed to lung cancer at 52. Frank Almeida (1884-1952), a retired fisherman whose parents came from São Miguel, was living here in 1950 with his 38-year-old son Edward and his 39-year-old son Manuel. The roster of inhabitants in 1963 included Clara Cook and her brother, Joseph Cabral; Frank Souza Aresta (1882-1970); Joseph Bent; Judith and Ernest L. Carreiro, both young teachers; and Helen J. (Merrill) Flores (1911-1997), a maintenance worker at the Cape Cod National Seashore, and her husband, Frank Flores (1902-1975), the superintendent of town cemeteries during some tumultuous years. (For Christmas 1967, vandals stole the figurine of baby Jesus from the crèche outside Town Hall, and hung it by the neck at the entrance to the Gifford Cemetery.)
Clara and Frank “Friday” Cook at the doorstep of their home at 135 Commercial in the late 1930s or early ’40s. And how do we know their location for sure? Look at the distinctive woodwork pattern over Friday’s left shoulder (also shown in the central inset). It’s still there to this day. The vintage photo of the Cooks comes from Clara Spatafore. David W. Dunlap took the 2016 photo.
135 Commercial Street in 2016. David W. Dunlap.
Three years after Clara’s death, in 1991, the Cook family sold the house and the abutting cottage, then known as 135A Commercial Street, to Mark McNab, for $180,000. Five years later, McNab sold to Rae F. Gill of Boston for $380,000. Gill sold the property in 1999, for $715,000, to Mindy F. Baransky and David Baran. In 2003, Baransky converted the property into a four-unit condo called the Satori, a Buddhist term (悟り) that might be translated as “awakening.” Certainly the price appreciation at 135 Commercial in the previous decade would have awakened just about anyone. At this writing, Unit A is owned by a group of New Yorkers, Unit B by a Bostonian, and Unit C by a resident of Jamaica Plain. Unit D is the freestanding cottage fronting on Commercial Street, now known as Little Darling.
¶ Last updated on 30 January 2019.
135-135A Commercial Street on the Town Map.
Also at 135-135A Commercial Street:
Thumbnail image: Photo, 2016, by David W. Dunlap.
For further reading online
• Frank Almeida (1884-1952)
Find a Grave Memorial No. 106904730.
• Joseph Botelho Amber (1859-1934)
Find a Grave Memorial No. 135557544.
• Frank Souza Aresta (1882-1970)
Find a Grave Memorial No. 162733806.
• Clara (Cabral) Cook (1900-1988)
Find a Grave Memorial No. 91341793.
• Frank “Friday” Cook (1898-1946)
Find a Grave Memorial No. 91341721.
• Frank Flores (1902-1975)
Find a Grave Memorial No. 154936971.
• Helen J. Flores (1911-1997)
Find a Grave Memorial No. 88304440.
• Georgie E. Williams (1860-1932)
Find a Grave Memorial No. 154468217.