Bradford 264-270A Oaks.jpg


The Oaks (No. 264B).

Behind Mount Pleasant House stands a house called the Oaks and a smaller cottage known appropriately as the Acorn. The Oaks was a restaurant opened here in 1915 by Christine Ell, a year after Polly Holladay opened Polly’s, at 484 Commercial. Both proprietors also ran popular restaurants in Greenwich Village and all four establishments drew the Village Bohemian crowd, led by Eugene O’Neill. The Oaks was more like a speakeasy, Leona Rust Egan wrote in Provincetown as a Stage, serving whiskey distilled in Truro. O’Neill likened it to “tiger piss.” Later, Polly Burnell said, Adele and Lester Heller used the Oaks for visitors working at the Provincetown Playhouse on the Wharf.

¶ Adapted from Building Provincetown (2015).

Polly Burnell wrote on 23 June 2014: The Oaks has a back room that was an artists’ studio for years and looks like it might have been built or remodeled as such. Arnold [Dwyer] told me this, and mentioned a few contemporary artists (I believe Alfred Leslie was one of them) whom he’d rented to years back. He thought that artists were too messy and put up wood paneling and carpeting, but it still looked like a studio with the high ceiling and big north window up top.

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