Manuel Silva’s studio.
The former out building at 153 Commercial Street was labeled “Paint’g” in an 1889 street atlas — the painting of boats, undoubtedly, not of gessoed canvases — and “Carp’n” in a 1912 atlas. But by 1932, under the ownership of Manuel Silva, it was described in The Advocate as “one of the most popular buildings rented during the summer by out-of-town artists,” apparently including Jack Tworkov (1900-1982) in the summer of 1931. During Prohibition, rumrunners would set fires around town to distract the local constabulary while they were landing bootleg liquor. On 29 February 1932, someone torched this building. “The flames had gained such a headway before the discovery,” The Advocate reported, “that when the fire apparatus arrived on the scene, half of the building had been destroyed. … The next morning Mr. Silva spent in salvaging the sorry appearing wreck of a building. The roof and sides of half the building remained, but so charred and burnt that they are but fit for kindling wood.”¹
¶ Last updated on 6 January 2020.
153 Commercial Street on the Town Map.
Also at 153 Commercial Street:
Thumbnail image: Sanborn Fire Insurance Map From Provincetown, Barnstable County, Massachusetts (1889), at the Library of Congress Geography and Map Division. Digital ID No. g3764pm.g038261889.
¹ “Building Destroyed by Fire,” The Provincetown Advocate, 3 March 1932.