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This page contains an overview and links for Provincetown government, finances, libraries, natural resources, recreation, real estate, and schools as well as miscellaneous links.

Photos courtesy of the
Provincetown Chamber of Commerce


Provincetown is blessed with an excellent harbor, which Vikings reportedly used on fishing voyages as early as the 15th century. Provincetown was the site of the first landing of the Mayflower, and the Pilgrims signed the Mayflower compact in the harbor to codify the administration of the colony they intended to establish.

Although rich fishing grounds resulted in the seasonal leasing of fisheries with licenses granted for bass, mackerel and cod fishing, the first permanent settlement was built in 1700. Provincetown grew very slowly during the 18th century, and its population fluctuated with the price of fish. Farming was of secondary importance and aside from the fishing industry, there were some salt works and one mill.

In the forty years a after the American Revolution, the town's population almost tripled. By the middle of the 19th century, Provincetown had developed as the prime maritime, fishing and commercial center of the Cape. The Civil War, which destroyed so much New England business, provided more markets for Provincetown's fish. Portuguese sailors, picked up by American ships in the Azores and Cape Verde Islands to fill out their crews, came to Provincetown to live. Additional Portuguese immigrants moved to town in the 19th century to work on the whaling boats and coastal fishing vessels. In 1875, there were 25 coastwise and 36 ocean vessels operating in town, more than any community in the state including Boston. Provincetown was a bustling place with all of the ancillary maritime businesses operating, such as ship chandlers, shipwrights, sail makers, caulkers, riggers and blacksmiths.

The picturesque setting and salt air also began attracting artists and writers by the end of the 19th century. Poets, novelists, journalists, socialists, radicals and dilettantes formed a colony, which in 1915 opened the Provincetown Players in a converted fish house on the wharf. Among the writers whose works were performed there was Eugene O'Neill. When the fishing industry faltered from competition with cheaper Nova Scotia cod, and the Portland Gale of 1898 swept away half of the town's wharves, the resort population of the town provided jobs to take the place of those lost. In the 1920s the artistic and literary productions gained an international reputation. Abandoned sites of maritime businesses became the new homes of the seasonal visitor, and sail lofts, warehouses and barns became studios, galleries and shops. Today, the wealth of preserved historic buildings combines with the lure of the sea to support a huge tourist and summer home industry.

(Narrative in part courtesy of the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development.)

Provincetown Government
Demographic, Economic, and Government Profile
Helpful Telephone Numbers
  Links and Information from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
  Official Provincetown home page


State Report of Provincetown's Finances

Employment and Wages

Search Cape Cod Libraries
  Provincetown Public Library Information
Natural Resources
Tide Charts
  Cape Cod National Seashore Species List
  Cape Cod National Seashore
  Provincetown Weather Report from the Weather Underground
  Cape Cod Water Web Site
  Cape Cod Rail Trail
  List of Cape Cod Golf Courses

Real Estate

Barnstable County Registry of Deeds
  Cape Cod Commission
  Valuation (Real Estate) certification statistics (PDF document)


Provincetown School and District Profiles



Business Links from
Provincetown Chamber of Commerce
  Complete Transportation Information
  Historic Provincetown
  Provincetown Pocket Book
  The Provincetown Banner
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