PHOTO GALLERY: Provincetown in black, white and sepia

Jun 24, 2023 | A Day in Photos


One hundred years ago unloading and transporting fish was a much more arduous task. “Fishing vessels were run up on the soft sand, and their cargos thrown into the water, where, after being washed free from salt, the fish were taken up and carried to the flakes in handbarrows,” -Samuel Adams Drake. Courtesy of Lisa King, photograph by JR Smith.

By Doreen Leggett

Provincetown is a fascinating place, with a rich fishing history. We never tire of looking back at photos of the fleet, its characters and learning about how the fishing village helped build a nation. Lisa King, daughter and sister of fishermen, has been collecting and curating images and stories of the town at the tip that she shares on two Facebook pages, My Grandfathers Provincetown and Provincetown, A Fishing Village. With her permission, we pulled together snapshots that depict moments in the town’s history that are part of a larger story. We weren’t able to include nearly as many as we’d like; hopefully we’ll open Lisa’s photographic portal more often.

Fish flakes on Hillard’s Wharf. Couresy of Lisa King. (According to Building Provincetown this wharf was 600-feet long and unusually wide so it could accomodate a large number of fish flakes.)

Picture of “Codfish in the Bilge of a Portuguese Fishing Dory” – by John Collier Jr. Courtesy of Lisa King.

Mackeral schooners at rest on a moonlit night around 1875. The train on the newly built Old Colony Railroad Wharf can be seen in the lower left. Courtesy of Lisa King.

Seining along Railroad Wharf in 1910 , look how deep the water is and how far it extended inland. Courtesy of Lisa King.

Cutting heads off whiting during the summer of 1937. Photo by Edwin Rosskam, courtesy of Lisa King,

Brailing 30 tons of tuna out of the bag of the purse seine of the Silver Mink Image by Elaine Browell, courtesy of Lisa King.

F/V Joan & Tom, captained by Manuel “Dr. Foo” Thomas, grounded in the East End after a particularly nasty storm.


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