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Born on Long Point, Capt. William Chester Sparrow (1858-1932) spent his life on the sea, poised at its edge, or evoking it with model ships of his own making. After commanding the schooners Oliver Cromwell, Longwood, and John F. Nickerson, he became the first officer at the newly commissioned Wood End Life-Saving Station in 1897, participating in the rescue of Jordan L. Mott‘s crew in Novermber 1898. He was appointed commander of the Point Allerton Life-Saving Station in Hull in 1902, and left Provincetown for 20 years. When he returned, he took up model making. Captain Sparrow was working on a miniature of CDR Richard E. Byrd’s City of New York, with only two masts left to model when he died of a heart attack in this home, which he shared with his remarkable wife, Mary Evelyn (Williams) Sparrow (1862-1961). With Grace Hall and Gertrude (Snow) DeWager (1871-1948), she established the historically minded Research Club in 1910. The greatest legacy of the club was the collection of artifacts that is now housed up at the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum. Mrs. Sparrow was remembered in her own time, The Advocate said, as standing out “among her fellow townswomen as a cultured lady of the old school, a true artistocrat of the spirit, ever given to all good works.”

Mary Sparrow’s heir, Isabel S. Spooner, sold the house in 1973 to Ruth E. Hiebert (1922-2004), a prominent landlord and philanthropist, who also owned and managed Captain Jack’s Wharf, at 73A Commercial Street; the Skiff, at 67A Commercial Street and 67B Commercial Street; and Dinghy Dock, at 71 Commercial Street. Her mother, Emily Hiebert (1894-1985), lived here for the last 13 years of her life, on the first floor. The upper two floors were rented out, Ed Fitzgerald told me in 2014. The Hieberts sold the property in 1995. It was purchased in 2014 for $2.85 million by Keith Leslie Hayes of Ashprington, England, who went on to buy 23 Commercial Street in 2015 for $3.2 million.

¶ Last updated on 12 July 2018.


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