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Alden 026

(May 2008)

Grace Gouveia Building.

In a town whose economy turned on the luck of the fishery, poverty was often no farther away than one capsized boat or a couple of empty nets. By 1870, there were so many poor people that Provincetown constructed this large Alms House, also known as the Town Asylum, to shelter them. In 1956, it was transformed into a municipal nursing home called Cape End Manor, which was housed here until a new facility was built at 100 Alden Street. The asylum was converted into town offices and renamed the Grace Gouveia Building, in honor of Grace Gouveia. This beloved teacher, poet, and social activist immigrated from Portugal in 1915 at the age of 6. She died in 1998. — From Building Provincetown


When Henry David Thoreau came to town in the 1840s, he asked how many people were in the Alms House. “Oh, only one or two, infirm or idiotic,” he was told. But by 1870, the number had increased so much that this large Alms House, also known as the Town Asylum, was built. In 1956, it was transformed into a municipal nursing home called Cape End Manor, which lasted 20 years until a new facility was built at 100 Alden Street. This building was converted for use as town offices and renamed the Grace Gouveia Building in honor of Grace (Gouveia) Collinson, a poet, teacher and activist who immigrated from Portugal in 1915 at the age of 6. Collinson was a beloved elementary school teacher for nearly three decades before becoming an advocate for the elderly and founding the municipal Council on Aging. She died in 1998. Additions to 26 Alden Street were designed by Brown Lindquist Fenuccio & Richmond Architects.

¶ Last updated on 27 October 2012.


David L. Mayo wrote on 2 February 2010: My mother, Margaret Mayo, was at the Monument/Museum for twenty five years and retired in her mid eighties. Going through her papers I found this information about 26 Alden: During an epidemic of smallpox in 1801 a private dwelling surrounded by a high board fence was set aside as a hospital. In 1806 it was converted into a poor house and was used for that purpose until the erection of a new building on Alden Street in 1870. It was later used as an infirmary and in August, 1956 it was opened as the Cape End Manor.

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