Provincetown is a beautiful town located at the extreme tip of Cape Cod in Barnstable County, Massachusetts. Originally a fishing and whaling center, it became one of America’s earliest art colonies in the late nineteenth century. Today, Provincetown continues to attract dozens of eclectic art galleries and atmospheric studios as well as cultural events, exhibitions, and festivals throughout the year.
Provincetown’s sandy beaches welcomed the Pilgrims in 1620 when they reached North America on the Mayflower. It took the group two months to cross the Atlantic in search of religious freedom. As they went ashore, the Mayflower Compact was signed, a governing document that would later serve as a model for the Founding Fathers.
Several Portuguese families live in Provincetown, a community deeply rooted in the Town’s fishing industry. Portuguese immigrants were originally sailors, and within decades, the fishing industry would be dominated by them. Soon after the sailors arrived, Portuguese families followed, bringing their food and strong ties to the Catholic Church.
Provincetown Portuguese Festival and Blessing of the Fleet are annual events celebrating Portuguese influence. Provincetown’s bohemian lifestyle attracted painters, playwrights, and poets during World War I. Among the famous residents were the writer Norman Mailer, the playwright Eugene O’Neill, and the abstract expressionist Hans Hofmann, who also opened a summer school there.
Some fascinating historical photos show Provincetown, MA, in the 1940s.