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Pilgrim Monument, line drawing by Ewa Nogiec
Cape Cod Cold Storage, c. 1910


Who are those men? We have some names, but not all. If you know any person on the photograph, please let us know - email to ewa@iamprovincetown.com. Thank you!

Cape Cod Cold Storage - 125-129 Commercial St., near the bend in Commercial Street sometimes called Kelly’s Corner; today location of the Provincetown US Coast Guard Station.

Cape Cod Cold Storage, c. 1910Cape Cod Cold Storage, c. 1910 - back with names

1. Bill Days
2. John "Peacy" Cook
3. Joe Days
4. Frank Days
5. John "Partsy" Silva
6. Jim Callahan (?)
7. Chic Roderick
8. Albert Silva
9. Frank Silva
10. Manuel "Pooper" Silva
11. Steve Perry
12. Charlie Rich
13. Leon Rogers
14. Manuel Prada
15. Justin Veara
16. Tony Bent (The Carpenter)
17. Jesse Meads
18. ? Cabral
19. ? Paine

The Cape Cod Cold Storage (date of construction circa 1850) was a major trap fishing and cold storage facility which functioned as a principal local industry and employer in Provincetown during the mid-late 19th and early 20th centuries. As such it represents contemporary technology for the off-landing and processing of fish from a typical Provincetown trap fishing and cold storage operation. The off-loading wharf associated with the Cape Cod Cold Storage, knows as Freeman's Wharf, and all structures of Cape Cod Cold Storage were demolished when Coast Guard Station was established.

At the peak of its development, during the 1940s, the Cape Cod Cold Storage was one of five cold storage fish processing operations in Provincetown owned and operated by the Atlantic Coast Fisheries Company. The plant on 125-129 Commercial Street had power house, machine shop, pump house, freezer/cold storage, cannery, blacksmith shop, fillet plant/cannery, trap shed and wharf.

In 1935, the Cape Cod Cold Storage operation utilized three trap boats with a crew of five men in each and between 50-100 workers in the cold storage itself. In spite of the capacity, there apparently were days when the freezer could not hold any more fish. In 1935, Provincetown landed 30 million lbs of fish, of which 20 million lbs were from fish traps.

The Cape Cod Cold Storage relied upon steam power (supplemented later with electric generators) for operation. The power house was Greek Revival-styled building fronting on Commercial Street.

The Atlantic Coast Fisheries Company, est. 1917, was well integrated to catch fish, process fish, pack fish and market fish for the inland consumer. The company produced well-known "Nordic" label for its frozen fish products, and it is credited with the utilization of the first steam trawlers employed in the fish industry in 1917, and with developing and patenting innovative fish filleting machinery.

There were seven major cold storage operations in Provincetown during the first half of the 20th century. In addition to the Cape Cod Cold Storage facility, Atlantic Coast Fisheries gained control of four of the remaining cold storages including Fisherman's Cold Storage (183-185 Commercial Street), Puritan Cold Storage (131 Commercial Street), Colonial Cold Storage (229 Commercial Street) and Consolidated Cold Storage (497-501-503 Commercial Street). The company held eleven local trap fishing licenses off Provincetown and Wellfleet during the 1940s.

By the 1960s trap fishing era in Provincetown came to the end. The Cape Cod Storage property was purchased by the United States Coast Guard in 1975 following demolition of the trap shed building on Freeman's Wharf and the cold storage structures.

 

Photograph courtesy Mrs. Antone Valentine / www.valentinesguesthouse.com

[Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record]

 

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