100 Bradford Street

Former Provincetown Advocate

100 Bradford Street. [2008, Dunlap]

100 Bradford Street as the telephone building, in 1945. [Scrapbooks of Althea Boxell 2:40/Dowd Collection/Provincetown History Preservation Project Page 1338]

The central Provincetown switchboard of the New England Telephone and Telegraph Company at 100 Bradford Street. [Courtesy of Duane Steele and Mary-Jo Avellar]

Mary-Jo Avellar and Duane Steele at home in 100 Bradford. [2012, Dunlap]

Text last updated on 29 September 2022 | Provincetown had hand-cranked telephones until 1938, when 100 Bradford was built as the switching center for the New England Telephone and Telegraph Company, allowing customers to lift their receivers to summon an operator. Until 1966, 16 telephone operators stood by, greeting callers: “Number please.” After the town converted to direct dialing, this was briefly the Chrysler Glass Museum, home of Walter Chrysler Jr.’s collection of Sandwich glass. The Advocate moved here in 1975. It undertook an expansion and modernization in 1977, designed by John Moberg of Mobic Design-Build, with a newsroom, composing room, and two darkrooms. (The presses were situated out of town.)

Duane A. Steele, a veteran of The Springfield Union and of The Providence Journal and its sibling Evening Bulletin, and his wife, Elizabeth H. “Betty” Steele, bought the Advocate in 1976. Amazingly, Steele was the first editor and publisher of Portuguese descent in the newspaper’s long history. He attended Provincetown High School, served in the Navy, and came close to getting a bachelor’s degree at UMass Amherst. When the Steeles later divorced, Duane became the sole owner. He was later joined as proprietor of the newspaper and owner of 100 Bradford Street by Mary-Jo Avellar, a member of the Board of Selectmen (as it was known then) who married him in 1982.

Steele inaugurated the Wellfleet edition of the Advocate in 1978. In 1993, one year before the paper’s 125th anniversary, the Steeles’ son, Peter A. Steele, became the editor of the Advocate, and their daughter, Rose M. Steele, became the general manager. Peter was a 1983 graduate of P.H.S. and an alumnus of Colby College. Rose was a 1982 graduate of P.H.S. and an alumna of Cape Cod Community College and Northeastern University. Duane retained the title of publisher and resumed editing the paper in 1998 after Peter left to establish The Twin City Times in Lewiston-Auburn, Me.

¶ Republished on 17 September 2023.

100 Bradford Street on the Town Map, showing property lines.

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