The renovation of 8 Bradford Street in 2020 for its new owners, Dr. James J. Rifino Jr. and Harry F. Pihl III of Belmont, revealed the historical layering of the house. Like so many other structures in town, it has grown by accrual. The strata are sometimes hard to discern under clapboards or shingles. Fortunately, the painter and photographer Pete Hocking caught 8 Bradford in mid-transformation, with the gable ends indicating the volume of the original L-shaped building. The property was owned until 1874 by Frank Rogers, back in the day when Bradford Street was called Parallel Street. Rogers sold the house to Anna Patrie for $700, unadjusted for inflation, and she passed it on to the Patrick family, where it wound up for many years in the hands of Bertha (Patrick) Francis (1880-1969), a homemaker and housekeeper. (Her brother Joseph Patrick was the founding proprietor of Patrick’s News Store at 306 Commercial Street.)
Bertha had been living at 280 Commercial Street with her husband, Antone Francis. He died in 1935. Four years later, Bertha took sole title to 8 Bradford from other members of the Patrick family. She was to live here for the next 30 years. In time, she was joined by her sister Mary (Patrick) Rogers (1868-1948), who died in this house, and her brother, Levi Patrick (1878-1963), who also died here.
Mary Joy McNulty, best known today as the proprietor of the Lobster Pot, bought the property from the Francis estate in 1972, with Jean Ann Siar. McNulty had just arrived in Provincetown from Bedford Hills, N.Y. She and Siar soon opened J’s Port of Call restaurant at the Crown & Anchor, 247 Commercial Street. A Zoning Board of Appeals filing by Rifino and Pihl stated that the addition of rooms to the rear of the house was done sometime in the 1970s, as was an addition to the second floor.¹
“Fat Jack” himself — John E. Albacker — lived at 8 Bradford from the 1970s to the 2000s, with Richard J. Blanchette. They ran Fat Jack’s Café. The illustration shows part of a full-page advertisement in the 1988 volume of Provincetown Arts.
John E. “Fat Jack” Albacker and Richard J. Blanchette of Newtown, Conn., purchased the property from Siar in 1978, for $39,500. They ran Fat Jack’s Café, 335 Commercial Street, in what had been the Fo’csle bar and is now the Squealing Pig. An advertisement in Provincetown Arts in 1988 quoted New England Monthly as saying about Albacker: “Rising from the end of the bar like an aproned Buddha, Fat Jack nods hello to customers while the kitchen serves up.”
Albert R. Perkins, the manager of the Surf Club, bought 8 Bradford Street in 2004 for $630,000, though Blanchette and Albacker were listed as living here for a couple of years afterward. In 2017, HSBC Bank USA foreclosed on the property, selling it two years later to Rifino and Pihl for $650,000.
Rifino is an emergency physician who trained as an osteopathic physician. He is the president of Toys for Joys, a nonprofit charitable organization that he cofounded with Pihl in 2002. The volunteer group holds an annual gala whose purpose is “to collect and donate new toys and gifts for the underprivileged children and teens throughout the state of Massachusetts.” The gifts are distributed by the Eastern Service Workers Association, Inquilinos Boricuas en Acciòn, the Joseph M. Tierney Learning Center, the Multicultural AIDS Coalition, the Teddy Bear Foundation for Foster Children, and United South End Settlements.
8 Bradford Street in 2004, in a photo taken for the Massachusetts Historical Commission.
The house in 2010, from the Town Assessor, Key 761.
In 2016, when it was owned by Albert R. Perkins, manager of the Surf Club. Photo by David W. Dunlap.
Existing and proposed south elevations of the house, from an application by Dr. James J. Rifino Jr. and Harry F. Pihl III to the Zoning Board of Appeals for a special permit.
Pete Hocking took this photograph of the house under reconstruction and posted it to his Instagram account on 1 June 2020.
Pihl and Rifino filed plans in 2019 to renovate, expand, and raise the house. “Currently, the home is in extreme disrepair, with rotting wood shingles as well as rotting sills, doors, and windows,” their application to the Zoning Board of Appeals stated. “House is currently unlivable. The proposed plans do not go out of the current footprint of the home at all. The proposed second-floor addition will add less than 300 square feet.” Raising the house by three feet, they said, would elevate it above street level for runoff water mitigation. It would also create a habitable basement that “may be used for an accessory apartment in the future.”¹ Work began in 2020.
¶ Last updated on 14 October 2020.
8 Bradford Street on the Town Map.
Thumbnail image: Photo, 2011, by David W. Dunlap.
• Bertha (Patrick) Francis (1880-1969)
Find a Grave Memorial No. 107076684.
• Levi Patrick (1878-1963)
Find a Grave Memorial No. 107076668.
• Mary (Patrick) Rogers (1868-1948)
Find a Grave Memorial No. 125254750.
¹ Application by James J. Rifino and Harry F. Pihl, Zoning Board of Appeals, ZBA 20-25.