“Napiville,” Building 1 | Formerly Skipper Raymond Cottages
“Napiville,” Building 1. [2011, Dunlap]
Frances Raymond, depicted by Norma Holt and Ewa Nogiec in They Also Faced the Sea on Fishermen’s Wharf. [2011, Dunlap]
[2011 and 2016, Dunlap]
A nearly perfect job of sign-making. [2011, Dunlap]
The Ellis family compound overlooking the “top of a steep hill.” The main house is numbered “27” on Plate 3 of the Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Provincetown, Barnstable County, Massachusetts, by the Sanborn Map Company, of September 1919. [Library of Congress Geography and Map Division, Digital ID hdl.loc.gov/loc.gmd/g3764pm.g038261919]
Napiville, a tatterdemalion hilltop compound overlooking Provincetown Harbor, takes its informal nickname from the fact that the property was purchased in 1986 by the restaurateur Anton “Napi” Van Dereck Haunstrup (1932-2019) and his wife and business partner, Helen (Schmitt) Van Dereck Haunstrup. Napiville provided desperately needed housing for workers at Napi’s restaurant and others who would have been priced out of Provincetown without it. Luxurious, the apartments were not. “Modest” might even have been too generous a word. But the 14 units at Napiville were affordable.
To top off its important social role with a historic flourish, the compound includes the last significant architectural remnant of the golden theatrical age of Eugene O’Neill. That amazing tower rising over the gabled rooftops was originally the fly loft of the Barn Theatre, home of the avant-garde Barnstormers troupe in the 1920s. It was here that O’Neill’s four S. S. Glencairn plays were first performed as an ensemble. Paul Robeson appeared on stage here. Bette Davis may have, too. And though not often remembered as such, the Barn Theatre was also effectively the birthplace of the Cape Cod Playhouse. Its founders first collaborated here in 1926 under the name Winston-Moore Players.
Building 1 — so designated by the Town Assessor — is a substantial one-and-a-half-story house with a front porch that was standing on the property by 1902, when it was shown on a Sanborn insurance map. With two bedrooms, one full bath, and one kitchen, it counts as a single unit on Town records.
Frank Shay (1888-1954), an author, editor, bookseller, playwright and theatrical producer, purchased the Bradford Street property from George and Frances Louise Ellis in 1924. His short-lived Barnstormers troupe was the first to use Building 3 as a theater. Shay lived in Building 5
John A. Francis, who held a mortgage from Shay, foreclosed on the property in 1936. Under the terms of Francis’s will, the property passed in 1941 to Frank Raymond Sr. (1888-1956) and Georgie S. Raymond (1886-1961), then in later years to their son, Francis Bradley “Frank” Raymond Jr. (1907-1969) and his wife, Frances Elizabeth “Fran” (Perry) Raymond (1905-2009).
Frances Raymond is surely the best-known member of this family, because her portrait appears in the installation They Also Faced the Sea on the pier shed at the end of Fishermen’s Wharf.
The Raymonds ran this property as the Skipper Raymond Cottages. (Frank Sr. had earned the “skipper” title as a trap fisherman.) They added Building 2, Building 4, Building 6, and Building 7.
In 1971, the Raymonds sold the property to Warren H. Falkenburg and Wilma R. Falkenburg (a two-thirds interest), and to Warren H. Falkenburg II and Rudelle T. Falkenburg (one-third). At the time, Rudelle Falkenburg ran a preschool in Provincetown. She and her husband sold their share of the Bradford Street property in 1977 to the older Falkenburgs and moved to Truro. There, Rudelle opened the Storybook School — “Miss Rudi’s School” — for younger children.
The Falkenburgs sold the property the next year to a group including Todd J. Henning and Miriam K. Henning. The Hennings held on to it for eight years before selling it to the Van Derecks for $410,000.
The Provincetown Independent counted this “Napiville” and another one — clustered around his Freeman Street restaurant — among Napi’s most important contributions to Provincetown. “The buildings house his employees and others and are mostly occupied year-round,” K. C. Myers wrote in Van Dereck’s obituary.1
“’They are more affordable than affordable housing in this town,’ said Frances Cutter, a Bradford Street tenant. Van Dereck was known as a landlord who provided safe harbors for Provincetown workers and dreamers who are not millionaires, Cutter said.”
Less than two years after Napi’s death, and in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, seven Jamaican workers at Napi’s restaurant told The Independent that they had been fired and were being evicted from 25-27A Bradford, an assertion denied by the executor of Van Dereck’s estate.2
¶ Last updated on 14 December 2022.
1 “Anton ‘Napi’ Van Dereck Haunstrup Is Dead at 87,” by K. C. Myers, The Provincetown Independent, 2 January 2020.
2 “They Worked for Napi for Years; Now They’re Being Evicted,” by Ben Glickman and Cam Blair, The Provincetown Independent, 18 August 2021.
• Frances Elizabeth “Fran” (Perry) Raymond (1905-2009)
Find a Grave Memorial No. 38691232.
• Francis Bradley “Frank” Raymond Jr. (1907-1969)
Find a Grave Memorial No. 193105952.
• Frank Raymond Sr. (1888-1956)
Find a Grave Memorial No. 129564671.
• Georgie S. Raymond (1886-1961)
Find a Grave Memorial No. 193105953.
• Frank Shay (1888-1954)
Find a Grave Memorial No. 6699666.
• Anton “Napi” Van Dereck Haunstrup (1932-2019)
Find a Grave Memorial No. 205738550.
25-27A Bradford Street on the Town Map, showing property lines.
Also at this address