Tom Sharp Designs | Sixty Special Home Store | Fisherman’s Cove Condominium (Units M1C-M3C, M1R-M3R).
Years before these buildings were turned into a residential and commercial condo complex, 145 Commercial Street and 147 Commercial Street were united under common ownership in the late 1950s by Elmer Joseph Souza (1924-1989). With his wife, Vivian A. “Viv” (Santos) (Guertin) Souza (1921-2006), he operated the Cove Shoppe at No. 147, and the Fisherman’s Cove rooms and apartments, at both addresses.
As the 19th century turned into the 20th, this L-shaped house — then denominated 138 Commercial Street — belonged to members of the Paine family. A fish house stood on the beachfront from which the 500-foot-long Artemas Paine’s Wharf had once stretched. In 1912, the property was sold to Andrew T. Powe by Artemas’s brother, his sister-in-law, and his niece. From Powe’s estate, it passed to Euphemia E. Hayden of Groton, Ct., who sold it in 1932 to Ralph E. Atkins and his wife, Mae E. Atkins. Nine years later, the Atkinses sold 145 Commercial Street to Alfred R. Enos, a fisherman (and the future proprietor of Al’s Fish Market, 141 Commercial Street), who married Josephine F. “Josette” (Silva) Enos, the proprietor of Josette’s Beauty Salon, 135A Commercial Street.
Josette’s moved in 1942 to this building. “Rose-colored walls and white trim add an air of cheerfulness to the two spacious rooms which look out over the bay,” The Advocate reported.¹ (Cheerfulness anywhere was much prized during the dark early months of World War II.) By the late 1940s, a second business — the Fishermen’s Cove restaurant (“-men” plural) — was advertising itself “on the beach” at No. 145, in the building now known as Unit B5 — or at least on the site of it. For at least one summer season, in 1955, Emma and Charles Taylor offered art classes here.
In the Provincetown Business Guild’s guide book for 1979, the name Fisherman’s Cove (now a singular -man) applied to the entire complex at Nos. 145-147. From the collection of David Jarrett.
The Souza family bought 145 Commercial Street in 1957. The next year, they bought 147 Commercial Street from Ernest C. DeSilva and Mary L. DeSilva. By 1962, Alfred Cabral Souza (1927-1981), a fisherman; Joseph E. Souza (1919-1972), a fish handler; and Muriel Souza, a homemaker, were in residence at No. 145, along with Curtis J. Stoddard, a cook. Vivian and Elmer were at No. 147, living over the store. The Souzas and Stoddard sold both parcels in 1970 to Richard W. Felton and Horace E. Stowman.
During the 1970s, Felton advertised both the Fisherman’s Cove rooms and apartments (now “-man” was singular) and the Cove Shoppe, a combination grocery and variety store, and newsstand. Rooms were offered by the week or by the day. The complex was among those highlighted by John Francis Hunter in his 1972 guide book, The Gay Insider USA. “S&M welcomed,” Hunter noted.
Felton sold both properties in 1980 for $240,000 to Joseph P. Segar, a real-estate developer. The next year, 1981, Segar created the Fisherman’s Cove condo, with 24 units; 11 of them here at 145 Commercial, with another 13 units at 147 Commercial Street.
At some point — certainly by 1981 — the Commercial Street frontage was divided into three small storefronts, each under separate ownership. Culturally speaking, the most important tenant was Larry Collins Fine Art, in the center unit, M2C.
Larry Collins Fine Art occupied the center commercial condo unit from 2004 to 2014. David W. Dunlap (2010).
Collins not only served in Vietnam, but photographed the young men who, like him, were caught up in it. Fear, above, by Larry R. Collins, was taken at Camp Evans in 1968. It was exhibited in 2017 at the Amarillo Museum of Art.
Left: The location of Camp Evans pinpointed on a contemporary Google map. Right: Three Bathers (Camp Evans, Vietnam, 1968), by Larry R. Collins.
Self-Portrait (Camp Evans, Vietnam, 1968), by Larry R. Collins.
Left: An ad in the 2010 Provincetown Arts shows Lena Horne, by George Platt Lynes, one of many prominent photographers whose work Collins offered for sale. Right: The 19th-century Portland Vase by Wedgwood was shown in the 2013-2014 Provincetown Gallery Guide.
Larry R. Collins was born in Spokane and grew up in Oklahoma, where he demonstrated an artistic penchant early in life. In the midst of the Vietnam War, he earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the University of Oklahoma. Collins was drafted into the Army in 1967 and deployed in 1968 to Vietnam, where he served as an artist and photographer with the First Air Cavalry Division at Camp Evans, about 15 miles northwest of the city of Huế. His remarkable photographs of men at the camp have secured his reputation. “The collection consistently resists the notion of war as high adventure,” Dan Frambach wrote in the 2003 issue of Provincetown Arts.
In a setting where one would logically expect to find signs of ceaseless chaos and noise, one encounters image after image suggestive of calm, quiet, and peace. … [T]he context formed by our knowledge of the nearness of violence taints the tranquillity depicted here with the sinister atmosphere that fills a jungle with sudden stillness. It is the hush of danger, more alarming in its way than the sight of a fireball or a wall of smoke.
Collins was living in New Hampshire in the early 1990s when his partner of 17 years died of AIDS-related illness. A friend suggested that he spend a short time in Provincetown. “I packed my van, threw the easel in the back, and stopped when I spotted Pilgrim Lake,” Collins told Susan Rand Brown of The Banner in 2017. “I got out and started to paint. Being outside in the air felt so good. I said to myself, ‘I’m going to move here.'”³
After serving as the photography curator at the Schoolhouse Gallery, Collins opened his own gallery, at 145 Commercial, in 2004. He was in business here for a decade, until 2014. Besides contemporary and vintage artwork and photography — his own and others — Collins specialized in bronzes, majolica pottery, jewelry, fine glass, and porcelain.
“Browsing through his collection of photographs, paintings, artifacts, and memorabilia — including works by such renowned artists as James Bidgood, Mike Disfarmer, Damien Hirst, and Wilhelm von Gloeden — it quickly becomes clear that Collins’s curatorial scrutiny is sharp, studied, and eclectic,” Jason Roush wrote in The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide in 2010.⁴
Another high-profile tenant in recent years was the Monument Barbershop, owned and run by Joseph M. “Joey” Casto, who bought the eastern unit, M1C in 2009; the same year he moved his business here from 129 Bradford Street. The shop moved after the 2016 season to a new home at 34 Court Street. This unit has a circular cellar below.
A composite triptych shows all three retail units of 145 Commercial Street in 2016. David W. Dunlap.
Left: A calling card from the Monument Barbershop, which moved here in 2009. Right: Some of the T-shirts and sweatshirts carried by Tom Sharp Designs, which opened here in 2016, in images taken from the Tom Sharp website.
Guy Barbarulo’s Sixty Special Home Store opened in 2014. Photo by David W. Dunlap.
Other tenants at 145 Commercial Street have included:
• Adonis. Unit M3C, the westernmost storefront, was purchased in 2003 by Albert L. Bowen Jr., who opened an art gallery here that year.
• Beachfront Realty. The 1990 Provincetown Business Guild guide lists a property rental and sales business here, under Segar, who also lived on the property.
• Christopher Street. A clothing store by this name was here in 2007 and 2008.
• Country Inc. Yuriy Litvinov’s store, in Unit M3C, lasted through the 2012 season.
• Galleria Raffaello. We met Raffaello LaMantia in his home at 46 Commercial Street. He opened a gallery here in 2002.
• Kathleen & Company. Kathleen Keenan Snow had her popular antiques store here in 2000 and 2001, and also across the street at 142 Commercial Street.
• M.I.T. Gallery. In 2008, Miriam Preissel opened an art gallery in Unit M3C. The Provincetown Art Guide described the show “Men in Tutus” at this gallery as a “stereotype-smashing examination of masculinity and femininity.”
• Provincetown Gym Nutrition Outlet. It seems to have been here a couple of years at least, from 2006 to 2008.
• Santo. Santo Garufi applied for a transient vendor’s license in 1999.
• Simply Danish. Linda Irving opened this store in Unit M3C in 2009.
• Sixty Special Home Store. The annual churn in Unit M3C seemed to come to an end in 2014 with the opening of this home furnishings store and interior design consultancy by Guy Barbarulo, who originally based his design studio in Manhattan. Sixty Special has evidently made it to a fifth anniversary, the year of this writing.
• Strength and Clarity Pilates. After Simply Danish closed, this business briefly occupied Unit M3C in 2011, quickly followed by Country Inc.
• Tom Sharp Designs. 2016 was a big year here, with the opening of Sharp’s store in Unit M2C (the former Larry Collins space). Sharp sells “artisan apparel” that is “made and hand-screened in Brooklyn,” as well as accessories. At this writing in 2019, he’s still here.
• Tomorrow’s Treasures. A retail business run by Edward Steblein, who applied for a license in 2002.
• Wildflower Gallery. A short-lived outlet of the Wildflower of Provincetown business opened here in 2010.
The current owners of the three residential units here make their homes in Cotuit, Norwalk, and Philadelphia.
¶ Last updated on 9 April 2019.
145 Commercial Street on the Town Map.
Also at 145-147 Commercial Street:
Thumbnail image: Photo, 2008, by David W. Dunlap.
¹ “Beauty Shop Moves Into New Quarters,” The Provincetown Advocate, 26 March 1942.
² “Fishermen’s Cove” (Advertisement), The Provincetown Advocate, 14 July 1949.
³ “Larry Collins: Out of the Heart and Onto Canvas” by Susan Rand Brown, The Provincetown Banner, 24 June 2017.
⁴ “Larry Collins: Painter, Photographer, Curator,” by Jason Roush, The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide, 1 November 2010.