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(May 2008.)

Each in this pair of homes, under common ownership, is notable in its own way: No. 12 (pictured) for its monumental Doric columns and No. 14 for a front porch that looks like a former storefront, because it is. The property has long been under the ownership of Joseph Perry (d 1928) and his descendants, through to his granddaughter Ann V. Welles (b 1952) in the present day. But before we begin, let it be noted — as if there weren’t enough Perrys and Silvas in town to confuse all but the most intrepid washashore historians — that Joseph Perry was also known as Joseph P. Silva, and sometimes as Joseph Silvia. An affidavit to that effect was filed by Judge Robert A. Welsh in 1947. We’ll call him Joseph Perry.

Perry remodeled the house at No. 12 in the 1920s for his second wife, Phoebe (Philomena) Silva Perry (d 1964), Welles told me in a wonderful 2012 family history. “Prior to that, it was a typical L-shaped, steep-roofed Provincetown home with the front door to the side. My grandfather centered the front door, added the columns, added the dormers and an addition for a bath and attached kitchen (v. the outdoor ‘summer’ kitchen) and made significant interior changes, more or less informed by the Arts and Crafts style then popular.” Welles’s father, Reginald P. Perry, was born in the upstairs back bedroom in 1920.

Joseph Perry ran a grocery store next door, at No. 14, presumably under his own name. He also dealt in automotive products, to judge from a 1923 ad that lists him as an agent for Coffield Tire Protectors, a special lining that — when installed between an outer casing and an inner tube — was supposed to prolong tire life. After Perry’s death, the store was taken over by, and known as, Jackson Cabral. But Perry’s other son, Joseph Kermit Perry, took over the business when he returned from military service. The store was known, beginning in the late 1940s, as Kermit’s Market: “Last Store Going to New Beach — First Store Coming Back!” (New Beach was the old name for Herring Cove.) In what may have been its last commercial incarnation, No. 14 was Joe’s Paint Shop.

Reginald “graduated high school at age 16 and went over the bridge to college where he met my mother,” Welles recounted, using the Cape Cod idiom for the mainland. He never again lived full time in Provincetown. But he married very well: Dr. Helen N. (Niemi) Perry (d 2004) was one of four women to have graduated in 1943 from the Tufts University School of Medicine with a doctorate degree. Dr. Perry was an obstetrician-gynecologist in the Boston area for 41 years. “One way or another, sometimes too neglectfully, we kept No. 12 and No. 14 as a summer home and as rental property,” Welles told me in 2012, not long after returning to her ancestral homestead from Framingham, where she had been a member — and chairperson — of the Planning Board.

¶ Last updated on 10 July 2016.


Ann V. Welles wrote on 13 September 2012: How delightful to see my home on this blog — but there appears to be a little confusion about its history. [The entry on the original Building Provincetown site stated that No. 12 had once been Manuel Enos’s filling station, based on a 1934 legal notice and a 1942 advertisement.]

My grandfather, Joseph Silva (sometimes Silvia) Perry, owned this house and remodeled it for his second wife, Phoebe (Philomena) Silva Perry, in the 1920s. Prior to that, it was a typical L-shaped, steep-roofed Provincetown home with the front door to the side. My grandfather centered the front door, added the columns, added the dormers and an addition for a bath and attached kitchen (v. the outdoor “summer” kitchen) and made significant interior changes, more or less informed by the Arts and Crafts style then popular. Joseph Perry ran a grocery store in No. 14 Bradford and was an engineer of the Provincetown Fire Department until his death in 1928. There was a gap in the running of the store until my uncle, Joseph Kermit Perry, returned to town from a stint in, I believe, the Navy. He brought with him his wife Gladys, and they occupied the apartment above the store. Eventually they moved to Florida.

No. 12 Bradford was never a gas station. (For a period of time, my grandmother apparently did own the garages farther west on Bradford that are now the metal sculptor’s — could be form whence the gas station concept arises?) She died in 1963 after living here for six decades. My father, Reginald Perry, was born in the upstairs back bedroom in 1920, graduated high school at age 16 and went over the bridge to college where he met my mother, Helen. He never again lived full time in Provincetown after he left for college. He died in 1979, and my mother continued to live in Wellesley until she joined me in Framingham. One way or another, sometimes too neglectfully, we kept No. 12 and No. 14 as a summer home and as rental property all the way to the present.

I have just recently retired and moved here full time and am looking forward to, among other things, researching more of my family history. The above is reasonably accurate, I think, at least for the moment.

 

 

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