From 1995 to 2018, the old Nickerson compound on either side of Ericsson Avenue was under the common ownership of Robert E. McCamant and John W. “Jack” Croucher, residents of 72 Commercial Street. This lot, No. 72B, includes a sweet little three-quarter Cape. The property was owned for many years by the Rodgers family, who may have given their name to Rodgers Court, as Ericsson Avenue used to be called.
Capt. Neadom Oscar Rodgers (1875-1953), a native of Guysborough, Nova Scotia, who skippered Cormorant in the early 20th century and then worked for Atlantic Coast Fisheries, lived here for much of his life. His first wife was Adelaide A. “Addie” (Williams) Rodgers (1875-1918), whose death at 43 of bronchopneumonia was “deeply deplored by the people of Provincetown,” The Advocate said. His second wife, Lillian Udavilla (Stanley) Rodgers (1885-1979), was the widow of Neadom’s brother, William Rodgers (1878-1920). Neadom and Lillian were wed in 1923. She was active in the Centenary Methodist Church, welcoming the Girls’ Choir, the Choir Mothers, and the Willing Workers groups to this house. Lillian’s daughter Louise (1912-1934) shared this home with Neadon, who was both her uncle and step-father. She died at 22 of lung cancer.
Steven M. Ballerini and his husband, Colin K. Bohrer, of San Francisco, bought 72B Commercial Street in 2018 from McCamant and Croucher. The next year, they began a “restoration to bring her back to her former glory,” in Ballerini’s words. He said their guides through the process were John Dowd, of 112 Commercial Street, and John Derian, of 396 Commercial Street — both of whom have applied a respectfully light touch to the restorations of their respective Provincetown homes, leaving many of the historical quirks and charms in place.
An especially important feature at 72B Commercial is a beehive bread oven in the main fireplace, which suggests that the house was constructed in the mid-18th century. (Ballerini believes it may have been built in 1748.) The only other beehive ovens I know of in Provincetown are at the “Oldest House,” 72 Commercial Street, and in the former Martin House at 157 Commercial Street.
Though it has a Commercial Street address, No. 72B actually overlooks Ericsson Avenue, a grassy lane between Commercial and Tremont Streets. Photo, 2013, by David W. Dunlap.
A splendidly intact three-quarter Cape (two windows on one side of the door, one window on the other), 72B Commercial has a central chimney, steep roof, and lovely Greek Revival flourishes, including a fanlight over the entryway. David W. Dunlap (2011).
The long kitchen ell is itself a venerable addition. It can be seen on street atlases as early as 1889, if not earlier. David W. Dunlap (2011).
In 2011, the tenants used a “Peace” rainbow flag for window drapery. David W. Dunlap.
A 1910 atlas identifies Ericsson Avenue as “Rogers Ct.” This may have derived from the Rodgers family, which owned 72B Commercial. (Misspellings abound on this particular atlas.) I’ve added the light green tint and the bright red outline around No. 72B. They’re not part of the original map, which is in the collection of Kenneth Janson and Robert Vetrick.
¶ Last updated on 13 January 2019.
72B Commercial Street on the Town Map.
Also at 72B Commercial Street:
Thumbnail image: Photo, 2013, by David W. Dunlap.
For further reading online
• Adelaide A. (Williams) Rodgers
Find a Grave Memorial No. 154440841.
• Lillian Udavilla (Stanley) Rodgers
Find a Grave Memorial No. 155301792.
• Louise A. Rodgers
Find a Grave Memorial No. 155301775.
• Capt. Neadom Oscar Rodgers
Find a Grave Memorial No. 154543825.
• William Rodgers
Find a Grave Memorial No. 155301751.