Rear Adm. Donald Baxter MacMillan (1874-1970).
Under an unassuming stone lies Provincetown’s most famous native son — an intrepid and imaginative Arctic explorer, anthropologist, geographer, and naturalist. Though he traveled more than 300,000 miles in 30 trips to the far north, he lived just blocks from where he was born on Commercial Street. MacMillan was the last survivor of the 1908-09 expedition in which Robert E. Peary claimed to have reached the North Pole. But “Mac” was no mere adventurer. His goal was “to bring back to scholars of all kinds bits of useful knowledge about this little-known great domain.” In nine later journeys, he was joined by his wife, Miriam Look MacMillan (1905-1987), who is buried next to him. He donated memorabilia to the Historical Museum, now housed at the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum, which is why visitors are greeted by a polar bear. And, yes, if you hadn’t guessed it already, MacMillan Wharf is named in his honor.
¶ Last updated on 4 July 2017.
Provincetown’s Historic Cemeteries and Memorials, Key N-31, Page 8.