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Gosnold and Commercial Streets Provincetown photo
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The mortar and pestle sign hangs outside of Adams’ Pharmacy, which also advertises “ice cold sodas all flavors” in this pre-1899 view. Clearly visible on the left is the plank sidewalk begun in 1838 with the town’s share of the revenue distributed by the state during Andrew Jackson’s administration, and the oil-burning street lamps, installed in 1884 and converted to electricity 20 years later.

The bakery sign hangs on the building at 244 Commercial Street, which housed Joshua T. Small’s bakery and, upstairs, the meeting rooms of the Nautilus Club, a ladies’ group that still exists. Mr. Small, who had succeeded N. H. Drie as baker in 1878, purchased this location from Jacob Gross in 1882. By 1886 he advertised that he sold not only “fresh pies, cakes and breads,” but also “Coming flour” which contains more gluten than any other, as well as paper, bags and twine.

In June 1883, the Cape Cod Item, a regional newspaper published in Yarmouthport, commented in their Provincetown column: “Some of the nicest pieces of artistic work that have been done in this place were the cakes that were got up for the graduating class supper by J. T. Small. The class cake with monogram and several members’ cakes with mottoes and initials were really fine pieces of work. There is no need of going out of town for wedding or fair cakes as he furnishes these articles at less than Boston prices.”

This was from the book Old Provincetown in Early Photographs by Irma Ruckstuhl, 1987.

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