Central 14


Central Wharf Company.

Technically, there is no such address as 14 Central. The lot at the southwest corner of Bradford is actually 49 Bradford Street. But it’s very much worth remembering as a parcel that once belonged to the Central Wharf Company (“Cent. W. Co,” on the accompanying map), which gave the name to this street — through its 1,000-foot-long Central Wharf, which stood roughly where the Boatslip now abuts the Sandpiper Beach House. (To wrap your mind around 1,000 feet, it’s the distance from this corner to the Grace Hall Parking Lot up ahead.) The company was founded in the late 1840s, as the intensive wharf-building period began in Provincetown. An 1880 advertisement in The Advocate gave a rundown of the company’s interests: “Packers of Mackerel, Commission Merchants, Proprietors of Central Marine Railway. Agents for Brand’s Patent Bomb Lance [for use against whales]. Dealers in Mackerel, Codfish, Ship Chandlery, Ship Stores, Seamen’s Outfits, Groceries, Paints, Oils, Wood, Coal, &c.” The Central Wharf was destroyed in the Portland Gale of 1898 but as late as the 1940s, stones from its ballast room — which had been designed to weight the structure down against the force of violent seas — could still be discerned littering the beach at the foot of Central Street, having failed a crucial test decades earlier.

¶ Last updated on 27 March 2018. ¶ Image from the Atlas of Barnstable County (1880), courtesy of Ken Janson and Robert Vetrick.

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