Prince Freeman Westend Waterfront Compound | Nathaniel Freeman house.
The story begins in 1818, out at the Long Point settlement, in what has been identified as the Nathaniel Freeman house, which is now on Commercial Street, at No. 51. (Actually, at the time of this writing in June 2018, it is several feet above Commercial Street, on timber and steel bracing.) The property passed in 1883 from Nathaniel Freeman (1813-1874) — the son of Prince Freeman (1775-1847) — to his children: Triphenia L. (Freeman) Smith (1840-1894), Nathaniel W. Freeman (1842-1904), Adelaide P. (Freeman) Williams (1844-1924), and George W. Freeman (1852-1927). Then, in 1937, it was transferred again; this time to George’s widow, Maria A. (Landers) Freeman (1855-1949). Maria Freeman sold the property in 1937 to Rena L. Johnson of Worcester, together with “all my right, title and interest in land situated on Long Point (so-called) being the same premises conveyed by Prince Freeman to Nathaniel Freeman by deed dated November 27, 1835.”¹
Four subsequent transactions bring us at last to the Dahill family. In 1949, Edward J. Dahill (1916-1998) and Catherine C. (Fink) Dahill (1915-2004) bought the old Freeman home. They opened it as the Prince Freeman House: “Apartments, Rooms, and Bath.” I can only guess that “Prince Freeman” sounded better that “Nathaniel Freeman” as a business lure. Catherine, who held a master’s degree in social work from Boston College, ran the lodging, while Edward taught math at Provincetown High School. Family members were also known as sailors, according to a brief profile in The Advocate in 1966. Eventually, the compound included two other buildings.
Thomas F. Dahill (1954-2009), one of Catherine and Edward’s sons, took over the business. Tilley hats were his trademark. “Like the swords of Knights Templar, they were quickly broken in, the brim stained with dirt, the buttons stained with rust from toil in the ocean air,” his son T. K. Dahill wrote in the 2010 Long Pointer, which was dedicated to Thomas. The family continued to own the compound until 2016, when Margaret K. Dahill, trustee of the Thomas S. Dahill Trust, sold the properties to Jay C. Anderson of Fort Lauderdale for $5 million. Anderson, the manager of 53 Commercial Provincetown LLC, has undertaken a substantial resiliency, renovation, and construction project at the site, designed by Hammer Architects of Cambridge, which is why No. 51 was up in the air in mid-2018.
For a view of the waterfront cottage, please see 51-53 Commercial Street.
For a view of the proposed renovation, please see 51-53 Commercial Street.
For a view of the shed, please see 51-53 Commercial Street.
For a view of the Prince Freeman Apartments, please see 51-53 Commercial Street.
For a view of the proposed replacement, please see 51-53 Commercial Street.
For a view of the proposed streetfront house, please see 51-53 Commercial Street.
¶ Last updated on 26 June 2018.
¹ Freeman to Johnson, 13 October 1937, Barnstable County Registry of Deeds, Book 530, Page 579.