Anchor Inn Beach House | Former Anchor and Ark Club House.
America needed lumber! And the Carey Lombard Lumber Company was there to supply it in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. “In its early days, Carey Lumber followed the railroads as they wound their way through Kansas, Texas, and Oklahoma,” Marilyn Staton wrote in The Oklahoman in 1981, “assuring the company of a way to get its lumber to those who needed it.” And what does that have to do with 175 Commercial Street? It was built as the imposing summer home for one of the company’s founders, Arthur C. Lombard (1866-1936), and his wife, Estella Elwood (Hatch) Lombard (1876-1966). Though Carey Lombard Lumber was headquartered in Wichita, Estella and Arthur Lombard gravitated toward Cape Cod. She was born in Truro and graduated from Provincetown High School. For a time, she taught there, too.
Note that the north corner turret was at first only two stories tall, and that the roof set back at the south corner. The building with the cupola in the right background is B. H. Dyer & Company. Collection of David W. Dunlap.
The corner turret grew to three stories while the building was used as a Masonic club house. Posted by Salvador R. Vasques III on his My Provincetown Memorabilia Collection page on Facebook, 11 February 2019.
By the 1980s, as seen in this photograph by Edmund V. Gillon Jr., the south corner of the building had been expanded, but not yet given a monumental pediment. One of Peter Boyle’s vintage automobiles is parked in front. Posted by Salvador R. Vasques III on his My Provincetown Memorabilia Collection page on Facebook, 3 October 2018.
The facade as it looked in 2008. Photograph by David W. Dunlap.
Arthur acquired this property, formerly the shipyard of George W. Standish, Master Carpenter & Spar Maker, in 1900. The Historic District Survey gives the construction date as 1917, but a 1910 street atlas and a 1910 bird’s-eye view clearly show this house in place, complete with its distinctive corner turret. A detailed 1912 Sanborn insurance map shows something even more revealing: the basement of the house originally served as both a garage and a boat house. In other words, when the Lombards wanted to go boating, they had only to walk downstairs and get aboard.
The Lombards owned this property until 1924, when they sold it to the Anchor and Ark Club of Provincetown Inc., a social organization connected with King Hiram’s Lodge, for use as its club house. The symbolism of the devices is explained in the lecture attending a ceremony by which a member is elevated to the Third Degree, or Master Mason: “The Anchor and Ark are emblems of a well-grounded hope and a well-spent life. They are emblematical of that divine Ark which safely wafts us over this tempestuous sea of troubles, and that Anchor which shall safely moor us in a peaceful harbor, where the wicked cease from troubling and the weary shall find rest.”
Left: The Lombard house is highlighted in this axonometric drawing that was made shortly after it was constructed. Could those be doors to the boat house on the beach side? Detail of Walker’s Bird’s-Eye View of Provincetown, c1910, by George H. Walker. Norman B. Leventhal Map Center, Boston Public Library, Call No. G3764.P78A3 1910. W3. Right: With its turret and deep porch, the profile of the house is unmistakable on this insurance map. The label says, “Auto & Boat Ho. B’s’t.” Detail of the Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Provincetown, Barnstable County, Massachusetts (1912), from the Library of Congress Geography and Map Division. Digital ID g3764pm.g038261912.
From 1933. Posted by Salvador R. Vasques III on his My Provincetown Memorabilia Collection page on Facebook, 16 December 2016.
Among the prominent members of Anchor and Ark were David C. Stull (1844-1926), the “Ambergris King”; Dr. Daniel H. Hiebert (1889-1972), the renowned town physician, who served as club president; and James Frank “Jimmy” Crawley (1932-2004), the longtime chef at the Provincetown Inn and the Sea View Club. Like Hiebert, Crawley served as president of the Anchor and Ark Club.
Within living memory of those who were children in the 1950s were Christmas parties at the club house, organized by members of the Order of the Eastern Star, a Masonic affiliate. Santa Claus would be in attendance — something sure to impress wide-eyed youngsters.
The Sea Gull Tea Room, open to the public, operated in the club house in the 1930s. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner were served. The draw for patrons was a dining room overlooking the sea. The draw for Anchor and Ark, I assume, was revenue to defray operating costs.
Under the presidency of William W. McKellar (1897-1987), members of the club voted unanimously on 1 April 1958 to sell the club house and its equipment and furnishings to Henry J. F. Winter of Boston, for $25,000 — or nearly $225,000 in today’s money. He and his wife, Eilena M. Winter (d1970), lost no time in converting the club house into a guest house. The renamed Anchor Inn was open by mid-June: “Singles and doubles with twin beds.”
The Anchor and Ark Club House in 1942, with the B. H. Dyer & Company hardware store at right. From Book 2, Page 95 of the Scrapbooks of Althea Boxell in the Dowd Collection of the Provincetown History Preservation Project, Page 808.
Left: Advertisement in the Provincetown Advocate, 25 November 1959. Advocate Online, Provincetown Public Library. Right: Advertisement in the 1977 booklet, Provincetown 250 Years, in the Municipal Collection of the Provincetown History Preservation Project, Page 4988.
Contrast this 2011 view of the Anchor Inn beach facade with that shown in the line drawing above, from 1977. Photo by Dunlap.
Coincidentally, the Winters also owned the other great turreted house in the neighborhood, 165 Commercial Street, which they managed as the Harbor Terrace Inn. At the end of the 1958 season, Winter announced the Ocean Acres Beach and Cabana Club project in North Truro, with a 446-foot beach frontage, adjacent to Highland Light. A year later, saying publicly that he “must confine my efforts to Ocean Acres development,” Winter put both Provincetown guest houses on the market; asking $32,500 for the Anchor Inn. The Harbor Terrace was purchased by Robert B. Frederick, who renamed it the Sandpiper Beach House.
The Anchor Inn was purchased in February 1960 by David K. Goldie and Samuel Weiss, of the Willows on Tremont Street. They sold it in 1964 to Joanne and George A. Thornton, of Chatham. The Thorntons, in turn, sold the Anchor Inn in 1966 to Roland L. “Chick” Chamberland (1920-1990); Chamberland’s partner, Peter E. Ryder; and Charles E. “Chuck” Mehr (1919-2014). By and by, this team controlled much of the waterfront from Atlantic Avenue to Winthrop Street. In 1971, they bought both the Sandpiper and the Boatslip, 161 Commercial Street. Chamberland and Mehr sold their interest in the Anchor Inn to James L. Belt in 1969.
Over the years, the octagonal corner turret on the north grew from two stories to three, while the south facade was expanded outward and given a large pediment to complement that over the entry to the deep porch, which is ringed with handsome Ionic-style columns.
Left: Peter Leo Boyle II, who owned both Delft Haven and the Anchor Inn, at a White Party. Courtesy of Kenneth J. Kruse and Dr. Donald E. Cote. Right: A 2011 ad showed Boyle’s Ford woodie station wagon out front. The number (508) 487-0432 is still correct, as is the URL of the inn’s website.
The famously flamboyant Peter Leo Boyle II (1945-2002) purchased the property in 1975 and expanded its name to Anchor Inn Beach House & Motor Court. That same year, he bought the Delft Haven complex at 7 Commercial Street and 10 Commercial Street, which he was soon to convert into a condominium, one of the first such conversions in Provincetown. Boyle was born in Youngstown, Ohio, and educated at Georgetown University. He served one term on the Board of Selectmen (as it was known at the time) and brought an unmistakable style to the Anchor Inn, where he lived for a while.
“He was outgoing and outrageous, a bigger-than-life kind of guy who knew everybody in town by name,” Alix Ritchie, publisher of the Provincetown Banner, told Tom Long of The Boston Globe for Boyle’s obituary. “He had the quickest wit of anyone I ever met, razor-sharp and faster than a laser beam.”
“Live the life you have imagined,” were the watchwords of the Anchor Inn Beach House under Boyle. His best remembered trademark were the vintage automobiles from his collection that he would park conspicuously on the apron of the entryway. One year, it would be a 1936 Ford woodie station wagon. Another year, it would be a 1936 Mercedes Benz. Under his management, the inn was an early member of the Provincetown Business Guild. Bea Smith managed the 23-room inn for Boyle.
“He really wanted people to feel at home here,” Smith told The Globe, after Boyle died of a heart attack at 57. “We have clients who come back year after year and when they come in the front door, they say, ‘Hello, we’re home again.'”
Detail of the original pediment, Dunlap, 2012.
The “ark” in the Anchor and Ark name referred to a boat, like Noah’s, not the Ark of the Covenant. This sailing vessel was once part of the Anchor Inn sign. Dunlap, 2008.
In this classic Provincetown view, the Anchor Inn is on the right. Dunlap, 2019.
Following his death, an entity called the Peter L. Boyle II Irrevocable Trust Agreement granted five parcels — 175 Commercial Street, in its entirety; three units in the Webster House Condominium, 176 Commercial Street; and 10R Commercial Street (then designated 23R Bradford Street Extension), which may have been Boyle’s home after he moved out of the Anchor Inn — to a Florida corporation called 3471 Inc. The president and treasurer of 3471 was A. J. Wasson IV.
Only a year later, in 2004, 3471 Inc. sold the Anchor Inn Beach House for $3.7 million to Red Inn L.L.C., composed of the principals in the Red Inn, 15 Commercial Street: David L. Silva, Phillip Mossy Jr., and Sean F. Burke. For six years, the Anchor Inn and the Red Inn were affiliated properties. Silva, the designated innkeeper, had double-sided business cards for both inns.
They were succeeded in 2010 by 175 Beach House L.L.C., managed by Christopher J. Andrews, Michael J. Zeppieri, and Sandra Ann Zeppieri. They paid $3.825 million for the property. As of this writing, the Anchor Inn carries an overall “Excellent” rating (4.5) on Tripadvisor. Out of 414 reviews, the inn was rated “Excellent” or “Very Good” in 371 cases.
The lobby. From the Anchor Inn Beach House website.
Photo posted by the Anchor Inn Beach House management to Tripadvisor, September 2016.
Photo posted by the Anchor Inn Beach House management to Tripadvisor, September 2016.
Photo posted by OnlineNewsGuy to Tripadvisor, February 2014.
¶ Last updated on 17 December 2020.
175 Commercial Street on the Town Map.
Also at 175 Commercial Street:
• George W. Standish, Master Carpenter & Spar Maker.
Thumbnail image: Detail of the original pediment, 2008, by David W. Dunlap.
• Peter Leo Boyle II (1945-2002)
Find a Grave Memorial No. 171771056.
• Arthur C. Lombard (1866-1936)
Find a Grave Memorial No. 186917297, Truro.
• Estella Elwood (Hatch) Lombard (1876-1966)
Find a Grave Memorial No. 186917291, Truro.
• William W. McKellar (1897-1987)
Find a Grave Memorial No. 191655403.