There are three entirely separate buildings and tax lots with 61 Commercial in their address. The main house, a Long Point floater and classic full Cape, carries the plain number 61. Behind it, on the water, are two cottages: No. 61A, which has been owned by the Alemany family since 1946, and No. 61B, an entirely reconstructed version of the old fish house that used to stand in its spot.
The main house was built on the Point around 1820 and was originally owned by John Ghen.¹ Once on Commercial Street, it was for many years the home of Fannie C. (Atwood) Chipman (1865-1954), the daughter of Stephen F. Atwood and Adelia C. (Morgan) Atwood, and the widow of Capt. Henry T. Chipman, a menhaden fisherman, who died in 1910. Mrs. Chipman was active in the affairs of the Centenary Methodist Church in the West End, as organist, choir director, chorister, and Sunday school teacher.
Perhaps the most noteworthy owner over the years was the writer Hazel Meyer (1909-1979), who shared this and other properties — and business ventures — with Alice F. Bartoli (1914-2006). They bought the house in 1960 from Raymond H. and Annie Marston.² (Marston, who died that year, had been a cemetery commissioner and the town’s moth supeintendent.)
Meyer was the author of The Complete Book of Home Freezing (which The New York Times called a “most conscientious, all embracing and orderly treatment”), The Carlton Fredericks Cook Book for Good Nutrition (Fredericks was a popular if skeptically regarded radio-based health expert), and The Gold in Tin Pan Alley. With Bartoli, Meyer also ran the Viewpoint lodging next door, at 63 Commercial Street, and the Ho Hum Restaurant downtown, at 334 Commercial Street. They sold this property in 1977 to John V. Cunney Jr.³
Sixty-one Commercial was the setting of one of the earlier same-sex marriage ceremonies in America. Matthew A. Clark, a marketing consultant, and Dr. Jonathan L. Worth, a psychiatrist, were married in the main house — which they owned from 1999 to 2016 — on 30 May 2004, 13 days after Massachusetts became the first state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The house is currently owned by Richard Moore and Matthew Lafond of New Hampshire.
For a view of 61A Commercial Street, please see 61A Commercial Street.
For a view of the original 61B Commercial Street, please see 61B Commercial Street.
For a view of the new 61B Commercial Street, please see 61B Commercial Street.
¶ Last updated on 2 July 2018.
² Marston to Bartoli et alia, 14 July 1960, Barnstable County Registry of Deeds, Book 1083, Page 241.
³ Bartoli et alia to Cunney, 12 October 1977, Barnstable County Registry of Deeds, Book 2597, Page 131.