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!