2020 Commercial 164Prince Albert Guest House.

This great Second Empire-style confection was once the residence of the mayor of Provincetown. You object: the mayor of Provincetown? Well, all right. The “mayor” of Provincetown. That would have been Frank Howard Barnett (1898-1971). Ubiquitous, opinionated, sometimes downright reactionary, and obviously hard-working, Barnett headed the Board of Selectmen so long and so conspicuously that he came to be known as the town’s chief executive. In fact, the only significant interruptions in Barnett’s many years of public service as a selectman and assessor were the times he was thrown in jail for stealing the taxpayers’ money.

If you’ve ever read the infamous “Appeal to All Decent People in the Town of Provincetown” of 1952, which calls on citizens to rid the place of homosexuals — “the lowest form of animal life” — you’ve seen the imprint of “Mayor” Barnett.

On a happier note: since the 1970s, this has been a guest house. At this writing in 2020, the eight-room accommodation enjoys a 5.0 rating on TripAdvisor, which has awarded the Prince Albert a certificate of excellence. It’s owned by Paul Richard Schofield, who runs it, and Dr. Andrew Carl Jorgensen.

2020 Commercial 164Left: 164 Commercial Street in 2008. Right: 174 Commercial Street, the White Wind Inn, in 2011. The resemblance between the two Second Empire-style houses is striking. Both photos by David W. Dunlap.

The house itself is conspicuous. It is one of a few decorated, mansard-topped beauties — like 151 Bradford Street, 10 Carver Street, 12 Center Street, 174 Commercial Street, 230 Commercial Street, and 584 Commercial Street — that stand out in a town where modesty and understatement were once the rules of domestic architecture. The builders here were Abner Bicknell Rich (1829-1892) of Truro, a director of the Central Wharf Company and of the Seamen’s Savings Bank, and his wife, Clarissa (Atwood) Rich (1835-1903) of Wellfleet.

Abner Rich purchased this parcel, described in the deed as “the Wesley Chapel,” from Cornelius O’Connor in 1876.¹ The chapel was a remodeled version of the old Christian Union Church, which had been transferred in the 1840s to the Methodists, who renamed it after John Wesley, and used it until building the nearby Cententary Church in 1866. This lot was denominated 163 Commercial Street under the old numbering system.

Robert W. “Bob” Sanborn, the former proprietor of the Prince Albert, believes that this house and 174 Commercial (now the White Wind Inn) were designed by the same architect.² They certainly are stylistic first cousins, if not identical twins, with recessed entrance pavilions flanked by two large bays, and second stories that rise from deep cornices and double as overscaled mansard roofs.

2020 Commercial 164164 Commercial Street, at right, in a detail from a postcard photograph posted by Donna Silva on the My Grandfather’s Provincetown Facebook page, 29 June 2020.

Abner Rich died in 1892, Clarissa Rich in 1903. The next year, their son Clarence A. Rich (1874-1937) and his wife, Edna Blanche (Wallace) Rich (1879-1949), sold the property to Capt. Joseph Cabral (1853-1923). His family owned the house until 1927, when the children sold it to Frank and Marion I. Barnett (1909-2000). They were joined in this house by Barnett’s mother, Mary (Cook) Barnett (1866-1952), who had recently retired after running a grocery store on Pleasant Street that had been started by her parents, Frank Gracie Cook and Anna Amelia (Oliver) Cook.³ In some seasons, the Barnetts rented out rooms here, doing business under the name La Belle Vue.

Selectman Barnett first attracted national attention in 1935 when he refused a request to hold an anti-war meeting in Town Hall on the ground that it was a front for what the board described as “Reds and agitators.” Seven hundred artists, authors, members of the clergy, and business proprietors signed a petition protesting the decision. Barnett threatened to publish the full list of signatories, and expose the fellow-travelers.⁴

Scarcely had the furor over this censorship abated than Barnett was at it again — this time forbidding the performance of the Clifford Odets play Waiting for Lefty in the Town Hall auditorium. The play, the first by Odets to be produced, had made its debut at the Group Theatre in New York only months earlier, to an enthusiastic notice from Brooks Atkinson in The New York Times: “His saga, based on the New York taxi strike of last year, is clearly one of the most thorough, trenchant jobs in the school of revolutionary drama. It argues the case for a strike against labor racketeering and the capitalist state by using the theater auditorium as the hall where the taxi union is meeting.”⁵

As if that weren’t bad enough for the reactionary Board of Selectmen, the play contained profanity, which had occasioned the arrest of four out of the nine cast members when Waiting for Lefty was presented at the Dudley Street Opera House in Boston.

“I believe the thing was brought here by the Reds,” Selectman Jesse D. Rogers said of the play. “The Reds and agitators won’t get anywhere in this town if I can prevent it.” Barnett and Selectman William J. McCaffrey objected that the performance of the play might incite a public disturbance.⁶

2020 Commercial 164A photograph of 174 Commercial Street on display at the Prince Albert Inn. The tower at right is that of the Centenary Methodist Church, 170 Commercial Street.

Susan Glaspell, a Pulitzer laureate, and John Dos Passos led the protest against the permit revocation. Presciently, Glaspell called Odets “the most promising young playwright in America since the emergence of Eugene O’Neill.” (And for a time, he seemed to be, with Awake and Sing!Paradise Lost, and Golden Boy.) “I had thought this boy might bring a fresh spirit of the drama to Provincetown, such as Gene O’Neill brought and which enabled this town to become known the world over,” she said in a statement. Critics noted the paradox of such censorship in the home of the Mayflower Compact.

A year later, Barnett and the board imposed themselves once again on the exercise of free speech at Town Hall when they banned an appearance by Communist candidates for office, including Earl Browder, who was running for president. Barnett said no public meetings of the Communist Party would be permitted in Provincetown.⁷ (In the general election, Browder wound up getting 12 votes in town, against 681 for the Democratic incumbent, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and 587 for the Republican, Alf Landon.)

“Your decision unworthy Pilgrims who anchored in Provincetown seeking freedom to worship on basis of conscience,” Phil Frankfeld, the state secretary for the Communist Party told the selectmen in a telegram. “We are legal political party on ballot in Mass. and 39 other states. Stop. Our candidate for governor Otis Hood direct descendant of Robert Cushman who arrived on Mayflower.” Frankfeld’s plea did not persuade Barnett.⁸

2020 Commercial 164After being jailed twice for stealing the taxpayers’ money, Frank H. Barnett exhorted the citizens of Provincetown in 1952 to rid the town of homosexuals. Detail of a flyer in the Borkowski Collection of the Provincetown History Preservation Project, Page 5390.

Barnett did not want the citizens of Provincetown exposed to Communism, but he did not mind them being exposed to the flesh of ever-more scantily clad visitors. At a time when the selectmen were regularly asked to ban the wearing of shorts in public, Barnett espoused freedom of dress. “We do not give a hang what they wear so long as it is decent,” he told The Boston Globe in the summer of 1936.

“Wearing of shorts is an old story down here. We have never gone out with a tape measure and I do not think we ever shall. The manner of dress is regarded in quite a liberal sense. Anyone here in the summer can go about in a bath towel, provided the bath towel is securely fastened. One bath towel for men and two for women.”⁹

At home, Barnett was caring for his aging, infirm mother. That cost money he did not have. In 1943, Barnett borrowed $100 (about $1,500 today) from G. P. Sullivan, the president of the Independent Coal Tar Company of Boston, a contractor with the Town. To pay off the loan, Barnett added $100 for “18 drums of heavy Sealcoat” to a legitimate $177.10 bill from Independent. Barnett, as a selectman, then approved the inflated $277.10 charge for payment. When the Town auditor grew suspicious, he questioned the highway superintendent, who said he’d never received any such thing as 18 drums of heavy pavement sealant. Finally, Town investigators spoke with Sullivan, the contractor, who explained what had happened. At his arraignment, Barnett pleaded guilty and — at the insistence of the presiding judge — wrote out his resignation then and there. He was sentenced to four months of hard labor at the House of Correction in Barnstable.¹⁰

Released on probation after two-and-a-half months, Barnett put his name on the ballot for re-election in 1944. But a month later, he withdrew, saying he had “recently accepted a position in private employment.” Whether Barnett knew it or only intimated it, state investigators were closing in on him again. In April, a 19-count indictment in Superior Court charged him with larceny, forgery, false representation of the right to collect taxes, and misrepresentation. At first, he pleaded not guilty.¹¹

Assistant Attorney General George F. Fingold laid out the state’s case: “Barnett would either approach an old person, a destitute person, and, in several instances, people who were practically unable to get about.”

“He would discuss with them the possibility of having their tax abated. They, of course, knew he was assessor, knew that he was a selectman, and, as I understand it, he was more or less known as the mayor of the Town of Provincetown. He would tell these people that he would take the matter up with the assessors at the next meeting of the board.

“Later he would return to their homes and tell them that their tax, for example — to use a hypothetical case — assuming that their tax was $80, he would tell them that he had been successful in having their tax abated to the extent of $40, and if they would give him the remaining $40, that would clear up their taxes. These people — in every instance, I believe, over 60 years of age — would give him the money.”¹²

Barnett returned one more time to the victims’ homes, Fingold said, this time with a receipt marked “Paid” over the forged signature of the Town tax collector. In the ledgers in Town Hall, Barnett would indicate that the tax on his victim’s property had been fully abated. Because of that, the Town had no idea that it, too, was being fleeced. Not a penny of the victim’s $80 “tax” payment to Barnett would wind up in the public treasury.

2020 Commercial 164Photograph of the side entrance porch by Susan Wasson, undated.

Barnett wound up pleading guilty to seven of the charges. Fingold asked Judge Arthur J. Baker to send Barnett away for two-and-a-half years.

Urging clemency, Barnett’s lawyer, Joseph H. Seaman, told Judge Baker: “Unfortunately, they pay that mayor of the Town of Provincetown, or they paid him, $1,200 a year [roughly $18,000], and he has devoted all of his time — with the exception of a little job in the summer time on the side — to that job, and he had to, out of his earnings, take care of an aged mother and a home.”

Seaman advanced a novel reason in asking the court’s mercy: Basically, Barnett was desperate for money because he had been forced to resign his public offices — and his salaries — when he was convicted of defrauding the Town.

Judge Baker acknowledged that Barnett’s much-diminished standing in the community was a kind of punishment in itself. “On the other hand,” the judge said, “he has violated his duties as an officer and, according to the story as I get it, has taken advantage of people who trusted him. I think he should have what I consider a rather substantial punishment.” In the end, Barnett was sentenced to 18 months in jail in Barnstable.

Not long after he was out, Barnett was back on the ballot. In February 1948, the voters returned him to the Board of Selectmen by a vote of 600 to 416 over his opponent, John Dennis, and to the Board of Assessors by a vote of 589 to 421. Soon enough, he was chairman of the selectmen again. In that role, he and Ralph S. Carpenter and William A. White promulgated the “Appeal to All Decent People” in 1952.

“We are at this moment overrun with a throng of men described by Archbishop Cushing [of Boston] as ‘the lowest form of animal life.’

“Unbelievable as it may seem, they have friends, defenders, and supporters among our own people. And the number of such is not inconsiderable. Many of the women who run lodging houses willingly house them. The night club operators cater to them. We are not getting the support we should in our effort to rid our town of these degenerates. We must make an attempt to eliminate illegal operation of liquor establishments, especially the night clubs which are nests where the homosexuals congregate and the attraction that brings them here. … Exert the power of your influence to help stamp out this degrading and soul destroying influence. Save our boys and girls from complete moral degradation. … Let us not permit our town to become a Sodom or Gomorrah.”¹³

Readers can judge for themselves the long-term effect of the appeal.

The Barnetts sold this property in 1957 to the fisherman Albert Domingo Perry (b1925) and his wife, Helen E. (Rogers) Perry. They arrived with a brood of six: Lillian C. Perry, later Lillian Perry Hjorth (1949-2017); Susan Ellsworth “Sue” Perry (1950-1968); Joseph Stephen “Joe” Perry, later Domingo Pereira (1952-2019); Albert Manuel Perry (b1953); Diane Perry; and James “Jimmy” Perry (b1957).

2020 Commercial 164The name of the inn was changed in 1975 to the Captain and His Ship. This photograph, by Jim McElholm, was posted by Salvador R. Vasques III on his My Provincetown Memorabilia Collection Facebook page, 6 December 2017.

2020 Commercial 164Left: Advertisement in A Guide to Provincetown, 1975-1976, in the Municipal Collection of the Provincetown History Preservation Project, Page 5851. Right: Screenshot from the Officers Quarters website.

2020 Commercial 164The Captain and His Ship flew the Grand Union Flag of 1775, as well as the current American flag. Postcard posted by Salvador R. Vasques III on his My Provincetown Memorabilia Collection Facebook page, 3 May 2015.

While living here, Albert Perry participated in an amazing rescue, when a small airplane piloted by Manuel Phillips and carrying the photographer John D. Bell as passenger crashed off Long Point in February 1961. At the time, F/V Michael Ann, on which Perry was a crew member, was undergoing emergency repair after beaching on the shore. Perry, his brother Joseph Perry, and Donald Thomas waded into the water to extract the two injured fliers and bring them back safely to shore.

Albert and Helen divorced in 1966 and sold 164 Commercial the next year. Their daughter Sue disappeared — seemingly without a trace — just after Labor Day in 1968. It wasn’t until the following March that her remains, and those of three other young women, were unearthed in Truro. Antone “Tony” Costa, whom Sue knew, was charged with all four killings, but was eventually tried and convicted only of the murders of Patricia Walsh and Mary Ann Wysocki of Providence. Costa hung himself in 1974 at the Massachusetts Correctional Institute in Walpole, where he was serving two concurrent life sentences. Sue was buried in the Cemetery of the Church of St. Peter.

John H. Quinn owned this property from 1967 to 1975, when he sold it for $60,000 (around $290,000 today) to Robert E. Charron and Thayer Raeburn Park. The late Leonard Paoletti, a Provincetown innkeeper and historian of gay life in town, identified Charron as the owner who converted 164 Commercial into a guest house, called Roses of Charron. At the end of the 1975 season, Charron and Park sold the property, for $85,000, to Donald M. Vining and Arlan Fred Doughty.

Vining and Doughty changed the name of the place to the Captain and His Ship. “I stayed there quite frequently and also ran it for them once while they went on vacation,” Gary Will said in a 2014 comment to Building Provincetown. “I remember it as a gracious guest house neatly furnished, and they used one of the front rooms as a little antique shop.” The Vining-Doughty period was short. They sold 164 Commercial Street in 1976 for $90,000 to Thomas G. Higley and Marvin Everett Coble III (1941-1994), who continued the business under that name.

Coble was a graduate of Wake Forest College, an Army veteran, and a former editor at The Washington Star and editor in chief of The Montgomery County Sentinel in Maryland. He was very active politically. With the help of members of the newly formed Provincetown Business Guild, Coble was elected to the Board of Selectmen in 1979.¹⁴ I believe he was the first openly gay man to serve on the board. (This was five years after Elaine Nobel was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives as the first openly lesbian or gay candidate for a state legislature.) Coble was also a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals.

James F. Baer and George P. Berry bought the property in 1980 for $118,000. Baer “embarked on a project to restore the property during the early 1980s,” Bob Sanborn recalled. The effort paid off, with a warm write-up in the 2003 edition of Fodor’s Cape Cod: “Jim Baer, who has owned the house since 1980, fills his spacious rooms with period antiques and Oriental carpets. Room 3, done in subtle earth tones, has a king-size bed, a gas fireplace, and private access to the garden.”

Richard McMaster and Mark Majeski bought the Captain and His Ship from Baer in 2003 for $1,262,250, and changed its name to Officers Quarters. The narrative gets a bit complicated at this point, so please hang on. In 2004, McMaster purchased the Prince Albert Guest House next door, at 166 Commercial Street, from Owen H. Hart and John M. Gordon. So, for a couple of years, Officers Quarters and Prince Albert operated side-by-side, under different names but common ownership.

2020 Commercial 164Left: Entrance sign in 2017. Right: Robert W. “Bob” Sanborn in 2014. Both photographs by David W. Dunlap.

“Unfortunately, they were upside down in both properties and decided to forfeit 164 in order to salvage 166,” Sanborn told me in a 2020 email, referring to McMaster and Majeski’s financial position in 2007. “Countrywide Mortgage restructured their debt and rolled all the unpaid debt onto 166 (making it more upside down). At the point I purchased 164, because it was up for foreclosure sale, Majeski-McMaster had stripped the place of all furnishings, including bathroom mirrors. It was an empty piece of real estate.”

Sanborn, a 1978 graduate of the University of Connecticut, had spent three years with the accounting giant Peat Marwick Mitchell (now KPMG) in its Washington office before joining the Federal National Mortgage Association. He worked for Fannie Mae in Washington, Los Angeles, and Dallas, ultimately becoming the vice president of national servicing and national underwriting. During this time, he bought 3 Atlantic Avenue in Provincetown as a second home.

And that’s where he was in 2007, when he lost his job at Fannie Mae after nearly 25 years. “I was doing some soul searching at my second home,” Sanborn recalled. “I would walk by the guest house every day, and one day I decided to call up Countrywide Mortgage, who was about to auction it on the foreclosure steps in three weeks, and make them an offer. They ultimately accepted.”

2020 Commercial 1642011.

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2020 Commercial 1642019.

Commercial 1642017. Photographs by David W. Dunlap.

“I had to turn it back into a business,” Sanborn said. “I renamed it the Captain’s Inn because I bought the real estate and not the business, so I did not have the rights to ‘Officers Quarters.’ I was about to have a sign made, when I befriended the former owners, who were now my neighbors. They gave me the sign to Officers Quarters, along with the domain name. So I quickly changed the name back to Officers Quarters.”

A few months later, Sanborn said, McMaster and Majeski raised the prospect of selling him the Prince Albert next door. “Because it was upside down, again I had to negotiate with Countrywide Mortgage,” Sanborn said. “I was successful in buying 166 as ‘Prince Albert Guest House.'”

County records show that Sanborn paid $1,200,000 for 164 Commercial (Officers Quarters), and $1,300,000 for 166 Commercial (Prince Albert).

“Once I purchased it, I realized the importance of branding,” Sanborn told me. “The phone was ringing off the hook because everyone remembered the name ‘Prince Albert.’ I quickly made the decision to run both 164 and 166 as a compound under the Prince Albert Guest House brand, with one website and one phone number, rather than running two separate businesses.”

Naturally, I asked Sanborn about the origin of the name. He credited the owners Hart and Gordon, who chose it as being evocative of the Victorian period during which 166 Commercial Street was constructed. Not everyone was convinced.

“I once had an Irish nun (picture Angela Lansbury) stay there, and at breakfast one morning — with a bunch of gay men sitting around — she inquired about the significance of the name Prince Albert. While the gay men snickered and made eye rolls, I quickly responded that the architecture was Victorian, which she accepted.

“The next morning, she raised the topic again, telling me that other guests had told her there was another meaning to the term. I told her to Google it, which she did, and proceeded to tell everyone the following morning about the pictures she observed on Google. Of course, then she wanted to understand why a piercing was named after Prince Albert. I had to explain that allegedly Prince Albert was well endowed and trousers were tighter in Victorian times, requiring him to strap it down.

“The life of an innkeeper!”

Prince Albert Guest House, 2019

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Commercial 164

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2020 Commercial 164 Room 1Room 1 is also known as the Captain Standish room.

2020 Commercial 164 Room 1Room 1.

2020 Commercial 164 Room 1Room 1.

2020 Commercial 164 Room 1Room 1.

2020 Commercial 164 Room 8Room 8, the Patio Room.

2020 Commercial 164 Room 8Room 8.

2020 Commercial 164 Rooms 8 and 3Left: Room 8. Right: Room 3.

2020 Commercial 164 Room 3Outside Room 3.

2020 Commercial 164 Room 3Room 3.

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2020 Commercial 164 Room 4Room 4.

2020 Commercial 164Photographs by David W. Dunlap.

For the next seven years, Nos. 164 and 166 operated under the same name and ownership. Sanborn entered into negotiations in 2014 to sell No. 166 to Dale J. “Josh” Scaturro and Stanley J. Cottner. They did not want to pay a premium for the Prince Albert name, Sanborn said, but “they told me that they wanted to somehow link the two properties, even though they were once again separate businesses. I had actually thought about this already, in the event that I had to give up the name Prince Albert. I told them they should name it Queen Vic Guest House, which they instantly made their own.”

Sanborn held on to the Prince Albert until 2018, when he sold the property to Paul Schofield and Dr. Andrew Jorgensen. Schofield, who manages the Prince Albert, is a native of Nova Scotia. He moved to Boston, where he worked as a certified public accountant. That’s when he began coming to Provincetown. He was joined in 2007 by Dr. Jorgensen. They decided in 2015 to live here year-round, when Dr. Jorgensen — a graduate of the Saint Louis University School of Medicine who is board-certified in pediatrics and internal medicine — joined Outer Cape Health Services. At this writing, he is the chief medical officer and site medical director in Provincetown and Wellfleet.

There’s something very Provincetown — don’t you think? — about the fact that 164 Commercial Street, a Second Empire-style house, now bears a name that was meant to evoke the Victorian-era architecture of the building next door.

2020 Commercial 164Left: Current logo. Right: Paul Schofield and Dr. Andrew Jorgensen, from the Prince Albert Guest House website.

¶ Last updated on 22 July 2020.

164 Commercial Street on the Town Map.

Also at 164 Commercial Street:

Christian Union Church | Wesley Chapel.

Bob Sanborn wrote on 23 November 2011: Descendants of the Rich family (the original owner) recently provided me copies of a ledger with the original acquisition cost of the land and the construction cost of the dwelling. The lot and title was purchased in 1876 for $1,310. On April 5, 1877, Mr. Rich moved into the newly constructed home, at which point the cumulative cost for the land and the structure was $5,193.80.

Additionally, I recently corresponded with Jim Baer, who owned the property from 1980 to 2003, when it was known as the Captain and His Ship. Mr. Baer told me that when he acquired the property in 1980, the house had fallen into a state of disrepair following the 1960s and 1970s. He embarked on a project to restore the property during the early 1980s.

In 2003, it was acquired by Richard McMaster and Mark Majeski, who changed the name to Officers Quarters. I acquired the property from them in May 2007. In December 2007, when I also acquired the property next door at 166 Commercial Street, known as Prince Albert Guest House, I began running both properties under the same business name.

Denise Avallon wrote on 6 September 2013: This might be the site where Adams Hall was located before it was burnt in 1875. Check out the March 10, 1875, issue of The Advocate, Page 2, for a description of the fire and hints of its location. The abutters match the names in the 1880 atlas. An auction was held at the end of March for what remained of the building and the land. On May 3, 1876, The Advocate reported: “Adams Hall is being razed. Glad of it.”

Leonard Paoletti wrote on 24 February 2014: In the 1970s, this house was purchased by Robert “Bob” Charron, who converted it into a guest house called Roses of Charron. Before that, it was the private home of a prominent Provincetown lawyer. Bob owned the Normandy House at 184 Bradford Street, left town, and returned with a lover to purchase this house. The romance did not last and after two or three years, they split up. Bob sold the house, I believe, to Jim Baer who renamed it the Captain and his Ship. Bob moved to Colorado to open a bakery where he died of a heart attack sometime about 2009.

Gary Will wrote on 10 July 2014: I believe in the early ’80s it was also owned for a short time by a couple named Donald Vining and Arlan Doughty. I stayed there quite frequently and also ran it for them once while they went on vacation. I remember it as a gracious guest house, neatly furnished, and they used one of the front rooms as a little antique shop. I still pass by it now and then when I’m in Ptown. It brings back fond memories.

Peter Mellett wrote on 22 July 2020: We used to call the Captain and His Ship “The Captain and His Whip.” [It had to do with one of the proprietors.]

Thumbnail image: Photo, 2011, by David W. Dunlap.

In memoriam:

• Frank H. Barnett (1898-1971)

Find a Grave Memorial No. 106334187.

• Mary (Cook) Barnett (1866-1952)

Find a Grave Memorial No. 138821117.

• Capt. Joseph Cabral (1853-1923)

Find a Grave Memorial No. 106712896.

• Marvin Everett Coble III (1941-1994).

Find a Grave Memorial No. 84347040.

• Susan Ellsworth “Sue” Perry (1950-1968)

Find a Grave Memorial No. 24056316.

• Clarissa (Atwood) Rich (1835-1903)

Find a Grave Memorial No. 51025679. Truro.

• Abner Bicknell Rich (1829-1892)

Find a Grave Memorial No. 51025580. Truro.

¹ O’Connor to Rich, 16 May 1876, Barnstable County Registry of Deeds, Book 125, Page 78.

² Bob Sanborn email to the author, 9 July 2020.

³ “Mary Barnett Dies, Funeral Saturday,” The Provincetown Advocate, 21 August 1952.

⁴ “700 Demand Free Speech,” The New York Times, 11 August 1935.

⁵ “The Play: ‘Waiting for Lefty’ and a Program of Sketches and Improvisations at the Group Theatre,” by Brooks Atkinson, The New York Times, 11 February 1935.

⁶ “Provincetown Bans ‘Waiting for Lefty,'” The Boston Globe, 10 August 1935.

⁷ “Provincetown Bars Red Rally,” The New York Times, 20 September 1936.

⁸ “Board of Selectmen Refuse to Rent Hall to Communist Party,” The Provincetown Advocate, 24 September 1936.

⁹ “Bay State Resorts’ Censors Tend to Leniency on Shorts,” The Boston Globe, 5 June 1935, Page 17.

¹⁰ “Selectman Frank H. Barnett Sentenced to Four Months in House of Correction,” The Provincetown Advocate, 21 October 1943.

¹¹ “Frank H. Barnett Is Indicted by Grand Jury on 19 Counts Today,” The Provincetown Advocate, 6 April 1944.

¹² “Court Sentences Barnett to 18 Months in Barnstable Jail for Theft of Taxes,” The Provincetown Advocate, 12 October 1944.

¹³ “An Appeal to All Decent People in the Town of Provincetown,” from the Borkowski Collection in the Provincetown History Preservation Project, Page 5390.

¹⁴ Provincetown: From Pilgrim Landing to Gay Resort, by Karen Christel Krahulik, New York and London: New York University Press, 2005, Page 164.

2 thoughts on “164 Commercial Street

  1. What a wonderfully rich story of the past history of the early colorful owners of 164 to its present day renaissance.

    I remember Frank Barnett well, as he gave me — as a very young boy — a silver cornet which helped launch my early career as a young man with a horn. He always chomped/smoked a stogie, I recall, and his wife was very nice and reserved compared to him. As a gentle suggestion, your footnote 11 could use an edit from “indicated” to “indicted,” by the way.

    Marvin Coble, in my humble opinion, should be further described, I believe, as a former Board of Selectmen member (perhaps chair) and past member of the Finance Committee, and very politically active in town, as perhaps a coincidental legacy from the ghost of Mr. Barnett residing within 164.

    On the whole, I found your piece to have been, as usual, thoroughly researched and well-written piece. It is thoroughly entertaining to have read and reminisced upon.

  2. Thank you for your very kind words, which mean so much to me as they come from man who knows the town’s history intimately (because he’s often been at the center of it).

    I especially appreciated your encouragement to expand the profile of Marvin Coble, who was — as you suggested — an important character in his own right.

    And leave it to an attorney to flyspeck the footnotes! I’ve made the suggested change.

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