79 Commercial Street | Sandbar Club Condominium (Unit 1) | Former Studio 79.
This is one of the best preserved storefronts in Provincetown, an assertion that can easily be proved by reference to Edwin Rosskam’s evocative photos of the Port o’ Call shop, taken in 1940. (See the image gallery below.) Port o’ Call did business in the late 1930s and early ’40s in Chimayo jackets from New Mexico, copperware, costume jewelry, dresses, hats, Nundah hand-stitched rugs from India, scarves, tweeds, weavings, yarns, and — to judge from Rosskam’s pictures — lots and lots of ceramic, glass, and metal tchotchkes. Excuse me. I mean, “Gifts of Distinction.” The building was then briefly home to the Penguin Shop (gifts and handicrafts), followed in 1952 with a store operated by Robenia Myrer Smith (1917-2009), a hand weaver and textile designer, and Shirley Noble-Smith, a Modernist jeweler.
Robenia’s parents, Angèle E. (Cormack) Myrer (1896-1970) and Raymond L. Myrer (1893-1988), purchased 77A Commercial and 79 Commercial in 1950; 81 Commercial in 1951; and 77 Commercial in 1954. The cultural high point for this complex occurred in the 1957 and 1958 seasons, when two buildings functioned simultaneously as Studio 77, used by the printmaker Ferol Sibley Warthen, and Studio 79, used by Angèle Myrer, who had studied under Karl Knaths and Blanche Lazzell, from whom she learned the technique of white-line printmaking. Myrer and Warthen used their studios to call attention to the early woodcuts of the Provincetown Printers.
Ann M. Maguire, Harriet A. Gordon, and James L. O’Connor bought the properties from Robenia Smith in 1998. The two-unit condo was created by Maguire in 2006.
For a view of the former Studio 77, please see 77 Commercial Street.
For a view of Joshua Nickerson’s Wharf, please see 77A Commercial Street.
For a view of the former boat house, please see 77A-79 Commercial Street.
¶ Last updated on 21 July 2018.
An advertisement in The Advocate of 6 July 1939, from the Provincetown Online: The Advocate Live! website, courtesy of the Provincetown Public Library.
The 16-light windows, doorway, and transom are virtually unchanged between 1940 and 2008. “Souvenir shop, Provincetown,” by Edwin Rosskam (1940), courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Permalink No. 2017729177.
“Wharf,” a white-line print by Angèle Myrer. Courtesy of The Bakker Project.
For further reading online
“Angèle Myrer,” by the Bakker Project, under Artists.