Wednesday, August 10, 2016

A Bit of History - A Pilgrim Monument Moment

This vintage postcard shows the type of "Accommodation" driven by
Si Young in 1907, before motorized versions took over around 1911.
Josiah L. “Si” Young made his living driving the “accommodation,” Provincetown's horse drawn, covered, open air wagon that carried people from one end of town to the other for a nickel a ride around the turn of the twentieth century.
On Aug, 20th, 1907, he was asked to drive a rented Victorian carriage that had been brought down from Boston for a special occasion. Surrounded by Secret Service agents, Young carried President Teddy Roosevelt the short distance from Town Wharf, where he had arrived by presidential yacht, to the top of the hill behind Town Hall, where a grand ceremony had been planned, and Roosevelt would lay the cornerstone to begin construction of the Pilgrim Memorial Monument.
The newspaper later quoted Young, who called the drive “…the most jittery experience I ever had and I thought we would never get to the top of that hill.” The President tipped him a dollar, which Young pressed between the pages of the family bible for safekeeping.
Photo of "Si" Young on the right, "holding down the bench" with friends.
Around 1911, when motorbuses became the mode of transportation for town folks running their errands, Young continued to drive the “Accommodation.” In the 1940s (and his 80s) Young became a fixture on the bench in front of the family antique business at 375-377 Commercial Street, where he chatted with friends who would stop by to rest a little and shoot the breeze. A 50s era postcard shows him there in his rocking chair.
Shops there have sold, glass, bamboo, Portuguese crafts, and even gourmet foods, but of all the shops operated here over the years, Silk and Feathers, with its eye-catching window displays of free-spirited clothing, may be the one best remembered.