Long Point Light is the final welcoming beacon home for anyone approaching Provincetown from the sea. The sandy peninsula, stretching about one-and-0ne-third mile from the foot of the West End Breakwater offers a marvelously uncrowded prospect of Cape Cod Bay. The popular harbor-side beach can be reached in summer by water shuttle. Long Point is perhaps best known as the site of a fishing village of that name in the first half of the 19th century. (This was not Helltown, despite what you might hear. That later, smaller settlement was at Herring Cove.) Claude Jensen’s lovely blue-and-white plaques identify “floaters” — houses that were transported whole on scows from Long Point to the town proper.
Building Provincetown notes nearly 30 of the dwellings with respect to their approximate location in the Long Point settlement, running from west to east. The “Long Point Settlement No.” in each title refers to the hand-drawn map to be found in the Scrapbooks of Althea Boxell (Book 10, Page 59) and in The Provincetown Book, by Nancy W. Paine Smith (Page 35). The corresponding upland locations were compiled by the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum.
It should go without saying that the “floaters” in their current condition would scarcely be recognized by their original inhabitants, who would have known them as spartan and far more modest dwellings. It’s also worth saying that a lot of what surrounds Long Point history is best described as “lore” — trustworthy records are hard to come by. But that seems fitting for such a transitory, ephemeral place; which was as much of the sea as of the land.
¶ Last updated on 12 February 2017.