Francis “Flyer” Santos returned to Provincetown in 1944 from his wartime occupation of building PT boats (patrol torpedo) at the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company in Bristol, R.I. After operating briefly at what is now the West End Lot, 55-57 Commercial Street, Flyer moved his boat-building operations to Flyer’s Beach, a vacant waterfront parcel at 103 Commercial Street, directly opposite his home at 94 Commercial Street. Flyer leased the property for 10 years from the owner, Ralph R. Lawrence.¹ It is shown in the thumbnail image in 1910, when it belonged to Capt. Marion Augustine “Bertie” Perry (1866-1937).
Flyer’s “work crew included several men who had returned to Provincetown after serving all over the world fighting during World War II, Janet Santos Greenquist wrote in a memoir published in the 2015 Provincetown Portuguese Festival booklet.
By the summer of 1947, several boats had already been built. I was on hand, with curled hair and fancy dress, to christen Joe Thomas’s Old Glory; smashing a burlap-bag-covered Champagne bottle on the bow. Captain Thomas gave me a tea set with tiny cups and saucers for my efforts. The work crew included Frank Aresta, James Sants, David Foster, Roy Blaney, and Joe Andrews. Many local men, young and old, helped hold the rope used to guide her down to the beach.
Flyer moved his operations in 1950 to 131A Commercial Street, where the business remains, still controlled by the Santos family. Edwards sold this property in 1955 to Edith Linwood Bush (1882-1977), of 96 Commercial Street. The parcel was acquired by Frank McKenna of Brooklyn, who sold it to the current owner, John B. Morway, in 1986.
¶ Last updated on 6 September 2018. ¶ Image from the Atlas of Barnstable County (1910), courtesy of the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum.
Francis “Flyer’ Santos and his son Francis John “Grassy” Santos, when the beach in front of his house, 94 Commercial Street, was still undeveloped.
¹ Lawrence to Santos, 20 October 1944, Barnstable County Registry of Deeds, Book 619, Page 513.