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Center 14

(2010)

Center Garden Condominium (Units 1, 4, A, B, C, D, E, and F).

A somber old funeral home on Center Street is joined to a utilitarian commercial structure fronting on Bradford Street to form this odd — but vital — property, now known (at least on paper) as the Center Garden Condominium. It’s best known these days as the home of Ruthie’s Boutique (Unit 2) and Provincetown Magazine (Unit 3).

The original house was occupied for many years by Capt. Thomas Seabury Taylor (1840-1919), one of the last of Provincetown’s whaling masters. His son, William Wilson Taylor, lived at 7 Center Street. After his whaling days, Captain Taylor became an undertaker. His funeral parlor was at 309 Commercial Street, but he lived here. The association between 14 Center Street and the undertaking business survived Taylor’s years. This became the Williams Funeral Home and then, in 1952, the Provincetown branch of the half-century-old Nickerson Funeral Service, which also operated in Wellfleet, Orleans, and Bourne. This home was managed by Richard Nickerson, Henry W. Carlson and Anthony P. Tarvers. The Nickersons renovated the ground floor “with the aim of making it both attractive and comforting,” The Advocate reported. The second floor was turned into a casket showroom. Six years later, in 1958, they demolished the west end of the building, on Bradford Street, and constructed a new addition, with a two-car garage, a preparation room, a smoking room, and a display area for funerary merchandise. The home operated at least through the mid 1960s.

By 1976, To the Lighthouse Press was operating here, offering offset printing, composition and silkscreen printing. That was the beginning of a time in which 14 Center Street was a something of a media center — WOMR-FM radio and Provincetown Magazine were both here. The late ’70s saw the arrival of Health Associates of Provincetown Inc. and the Women’s Health Clinic, which offered complete gynecological and family planning services. Gary L. Chefetz of Provincetown and Lester J. Murphy Jr. of East Dennis converted the property into a residential and commercial condo in 1984.

¶ Adapted from Building Provincetown (2015).


John Golden wrote on 8 February 2012: In the 1980s, the house and the street were in the movie Where Are the Children? with Jill Clayburgh.

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