16 Alden Street. [2012, Dunlap]
Three generations of the Roda family knew this mid-19th-century house as their home. Remigio Santos Roda St. (1883-1957) and his wife, Mary Elizabeth (Foster Furtado) Roda (1896-1981), purchased the property in 1924 from his sister, Anna Joseph (Roda) Malaquias (1877-1959), and her husband, Remigio Joseph Malaquias (1873-1951).
“My grandparents paid $1,000 for this house in 1924 and raised their eight children there, following which some 30-ish members of our generation came back from far and wide to spend many a summer making amazing memories,” Joanne Roda McKenna told me in 2022. “Sunday-morning flippers, mid-day big dinners and light suppers, party-line telephone, Gramma’s sewing machine in the kitchen and cold storage room off the kitchen. Playing out under the very same pear tree to which our grandmother used to tie our parents when they were young children. Eating fresh vegetables from Uncle Anthony’s garden, skipping up to the corner to get a Popsicle for a nickel. And at the end of the day running as fast as we could up the very steep staircase to the dormitory-style sleeping quarters on the second floor, where we would whisper and giggle into the night. The house was in our family for nearly 60 years.”1
Remigio Roda was born in Cova, in the northwest district of Braga, an unusually inland starting point for an émigré bound for coastal Provincetown. He landed at Boston at age 22, and was married a decade later in Fairhaven. The Rodas had eight children who lived past infancy: Anthony Santos “Moose” Roda (1917-2007); Remigio Santos “Ray” Roda Jr. (1919-1994), born in town; Mary Elizabeth “Liz” (Roda Dunn) Donaldson (1924-1996), born in town; Richard Francis Roda (1926-1971), born in town; Patricia Anne (Roda) Curtis (1934-2007), born in town; Jean Frances (Roda) Fish (1935-1998), born in town; Ruth (Roda) Souza; and Nancy (Roda) Codispoti.
Remigio Senior was a fisherman. Toward the end of his career at sea, he worked aboard the dragger Ethelvina, owned by Manuel Viegas. After his retirement, he and his wife — like so many homeowners in Provincetown — rented out rooms. She also cared for the children of working parents. So they welcomed a boarder named Gerald Sylvester, from Brooklyn, who arrived in June 1950 with his two-and-a-half-year-old “son,” Robert. Sylvester found work as a counterman in a local restaurant. He and the boy lodged with the Rodas for three weeks while a 13-state manhunt was being conducted for them. You see, Robert’s actual father was Charles Kaplan of Elmont, Long Island, and Sylvester had taken the boy from a friend’s home. On 26 July, Sylvester was arrested in Brooklyn and charged with kidnapping. Robert was traced to the Rodas’ — they were never implicated in the crime in any way — and reunited with his mother, Barbara Kaplan, the next day. Sylvester claimed that Robert was his son, through an illicit liaison with Barbara. Later that year, he was acquitted of kidnapping by a jury in Mineola, Long Island.
[2014, Town Assessor]
Remigio Junior was married to Amelia Catherine (Abbott) Roda (1919-2011). They lived in Paris, where he was the chief meteorologist for Trans World Airlines, from 1946 to 1960. Anthony Roda worked in the Provincetown Post Office from the mid-1930s until 1975, a stint of nearly 40 years interrupted only by service in the Navy during World War II, in the Pacific Theater. He was married to Doris (Johnson) Roda (d2006). Anthony and his sister Patricia died on the same day in 2007.
By that time, their childhood home was in other hands. The family sold the property in 1982 to Edward J. Steblein, for $35,000. Over the next 37 years, 16 Alden Street changed hands again five more times, until its price had reached a breathtaking $955,500. This fantastic inflation — depressing as it is — is that much more accurate a barometer of the market as it reflects only “qualified sales”; that is, arm’s-length transactions between unrelated parties. The current owners reside in South Boston.
16 Alden Street on the Town Map, showing property lines.
• Anna Joseph (Roda) Malaquias (1877-1959)
Find a Grave Memorial No. 128900692.
• Remigio Joseph Malaquias (1873-1951)
Find a Grave Memorial No. 125272307.
• Anthony Santos “Moose” Roda (1917-2007)
Find a Grave Memorial No. 190279848.
• Mary Elizabeth (Foster Furtado) Roda (1896-1981)
Find a Grave Memorial No. 191032350.
• Remigio Santos Roda St. (1883-1957)
Find a Grave Memorial No. 129409720.
• Patricia Anne (Roda) Curtis (1934-2007)
Find a Grave Memorial No. 18900248.
1 Comment to Provincetown Encyclopedia.
¶ Last updated on 18 June 2022.