Provincetown Mass. Walker Lith., Pub Co.
Rare Large-Scale, Bird's-Eye View of Provincetown
Provincetown, Massachusetts.
[Boston, 1910]

Provincetown Mass.

17 1/2 x 27 inches, Chromolithograph. Toned with tide marks along lower edge; very good overall.

This is the rare large-scale issue printed on heavy paper of this striking bird-eye view, wich was also published in a smaller, more commonly seen, folding version on thin paper (see Reps no. 1608). Centered on Pilgrim's Monument, which was completed the year our view was published, it captures the highly distinctive town that follows the crescent of the outer hook of Cape Cod. At the time, Provincetown was transitioning from a community dependent on fishing to one whose economy and culture were increasingly tied to the annual influx of summer residents, who were increasingly artists and writers. Evidence, however, of its still thriving fishing industry is the far greater number of piers seen on the view than exist today. The future is embodied by the New York, New Haven & Hartford rail line, now defunct, which ran directly to the town's main wharve.

Still Provincetown's most striking architectural feature, the Pilgrim Monument, a 252-foot Italianate tower, had its cornerstone laid by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1907 and was dedicated by President William Taft upon it completion in 1910. To buttress the town's historic significance, the monument commemorates the Mayflower's five-week stay at the tip of Cape Cod before the Pilgrims decided to shift their base to Plymouth Bay.

Numerous steam and sailing ships, both commercial and recreational, ply the harbor in the view. Three cold storage plants for processing fish (Consolidated Weir, Provincetown Cold Storage, and Fisherman's Cold Storage) reflect the towns reliance on maritime industries during the 19th century. On the other hand, several hotels (the Pilgrim, New Central, Atlantic, Gifford, and Mt. Pleasant Houses, some of which still exist) and the Star Theater, listed in the legend below the view, suggest the town's developing tourist industry of the early 20th century.


* Reps 1609; Garver, J. J. Surveying the Shore, pp. 188-89, pl. 85; Leventhal Map Center, Boston & Beyond, pp. 138-39, pl. 48.

Price: $6,500.00

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