Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Moonlit Provincetown Harbor Sparkles in Gorgeous, Rarely Seen, Vintage Postcard

Click to enlarge ithis gorgeous image of PTown Harbor by moonlight., ca 1907.
This unusual postcard view of Provincetown Harbor by moonlight shows a fisherman and his young son setting out in their dory in the wee hours of the morning, heading off for a day's work, long before the sun would rise behind them.

I'm guessing that this postcard dates back to about 1907, give or take a year or two. In a small boat like this one, these two could have gone out to sea, but perhaps working close to shore would have been more likely. They may not have even left the harbor. Not all fishermen of that day shipped out for months at a time in a Grand Banks schooner.
Although many sailed with a large crew of men, aboard a big schooner bound for the distant, rich fishing grounds of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, there were several other ways to fish close to home. The deep waters surrounding Provincetown had long been summer feeding grounds for many varieties of schooling fish such as mackerel, herring and tuna. In fact, PTown had nearly been named Herringtown when it was incorporated in 1727. There were often large schools and sizable fish close to shore, and even right in the harbor.

This pair of fishermen may have used hand-held lines, or perhaps they were seiners. See my post about seining in Provincetown, learn how it was done, and enjoy another great old postcard on that page. It shows two men fishing from a small boat right in Provincetown Harbor, using a purse seine, which was one of the most environmentally friendly fishing methods ever developed.
On that page you'll also see how tiny fishing shacks, houses, markets and big industrial buildings were packed in cheek-to-jowl along the waterfront. Some were squeezed in four and five deep between Commercial Street and the harbor beach, with little docks and enormous wharves jutting into the harbor, leaving hardly any open beach at all along great stretches of the shoreline during the height of our fishing era.
I'll bring you more of these great postcards in upcoming posts, along with vintage photos and tidbits of Provincetown's incredibly rich history. In the meantime, clicking on pictures and other links on these pages will lead you to more information and wonderful images of PTown, both past and present.
Thanks for reading and sharing my blog!

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Spiritus Pizza Opens PTown's 2019 Season Today With Their Annual Free Slice for All

Get a steaming-hot, free, opening day slice at Spiritus today, beginning at 1 PM.
If you look closely, you can see the steam rising from this hot pepperoni pizza, fresh out of the oven at Spiritus,
At this time of year, with the door open almost constantly, it's always a little chilly inside, hence the steaming pizzas lining up in the front window as each one waits just a moment to be sliced and handed across the counter.
There will be dozens of folks at a time queuing up for their first Spiritus slice of the season. Today's the day, so get to Spiritus for a free slice of that legendary thin-crust pizza. Starting at 1 PM, Spiritus will offer a free slice to everyone who comes by, ushering in the new season as they do every year on March 28th.

Thick slices of pepperoni are a Spiritus hallmark.
Spiritus got it's start in 1971 at 193 Commercial, a little building across the road from the joint we've all known and loved since 1978. That's when Jingles and his merry band decided to buy the old optometrist's office at 190 Commercial Street, moving their pizza operation (and by then, ice cream, too) across the street.
This spot has been the home of Spiritus ever since, with their unique pizzas, strong coffee, premium ice creams, and a "gallery" that gives a variety of local artists a chance to display and sell their work.
Spiritus is widely known as a late-night gathering spot. At one time crowds there late on a summer night could number around a thousand people, with the street closed to cars, and police officers milling through the enormous crowd, which often resembles the after-Carnival crush of wall-to-wall revelers caught up in the party.
A lot of folks call these pies their favorite PTown pizza. There's something about that nice, thin crust, with a good bit of whole wheat flour mixed into the dough, along with the generous amount of toppings, all of which make a Spiritus pizza different from any other in Provincetown.
Be sure to get there this afternoon for a free slice of this iconic PTown treat, heralding the true arrival of spring at the tip of Cape Cod.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Frigid Cold in PTown Recalls Coldest Winter in Memory, 101 Years Ago

About once every winter season we get a brutally frigid day or two, and people ask me about Provincetown's most notorious winter, along with the ice floes that were more than 10 feet high, clogging the harbor for a month.
Robert Lewis illustrates the 10-foot-two-inch "icebergs" settled on the harbor flats
at low tide. Photo by Robert's father, Captain William Lewis.
Read my original article, which included this photo of ice floes more than 10 feet high, which took over the harbor in Februaury of 1918. Fishermen were unable to go to work, and the coal barges were unable to navigate the harbor to replenish Provincetown's exhausted heating fuel supply for weeks on end. Click on Provincetown's Most Miserable Winter to learn more about that dreadful winter.