30 Alden Street

30 Alden Street, Building A (Units 1-2). [2020, Town Assessor / Property Card]

Farmhouse Condominium, Building A (Units 1-2). Three different contemporary parcels, under three different owners, can trace their origins to the Facha-Lopes property — four parcels, actually, if you count the north corner of Motta Field. Three generations of this family owned the undivided Alden Street frontage for the better part of a century: Frances Tiadora (Silva) Facha and her husband, Frank Roderick Facha Sr.; their daughter, Mary (Facha) Lopes, and her husband, Manuel J. Lopes; and the Lopeses’ son, Maurice Henry Lopes, who was known as a tireless advocate of a roller-skating rink for Provincetown. As well as camel-back dune tours.

Frank Facha (sometimes rendered “Farcha”) was Azorean by birth, as was Frances, who was born on Pico and came to Provincetown at the age of 18, around 1881. Their daughter Mary was graduated from Provincetown High School and, in 1914, was wed at the Church of St. Peter the Apostle to Manuel Lopes, a fisherman from Olhao, Portugal. As late as 1946, the only structure on the property was the main house at the crest of the hillock, which remains the principal architectural feature today.¹

After World War II, the family built a one-story utilitarian structure on the south side of the lot. This came to have the address of 28 Alden Street after the parcel was subdivided, but was designated No. 30 in the 1950s, when it was the Cape End Laundry, run by the Lopeses.

Maurice seems to have been the family’s real entrepreneur. He proposed to build a 60-by-100-foot roller-skating rink on his family’s property in 1946. Neighbors wanted nothing to do with it. Nothing daunted, Lopes returned to the Town in 1957 to renew his request. He maintained “concrete block construction, as planned, would reduce noise to a minimum. He also contended that it would provide clean, wholesome recreation for the young people of the town. He added that the place would be the start of a recreation center, a facility greatly needed in Provincetown.”² The Board of Zoning Appeals turned him down unanimously.

The Town voted in 1958 to pay the Lopeses $1,200 for the 5,600-square-foot southern ell of their property, which nicely completed the Manuel V. Motta Athletic Field by providing area enough for a second baseball diamond.

Camels were the next big idea for Maurice — real, live camels to take tourists out on safaris into the dunes, a landscape to which the animals seemed legendarily suited. It was an expensive proposition. According to Lopes, a single camel cost $1,200 — and he was “not interested in a worn-out, broken-down camel.” The Advocate noted Lopes’s travails in finding a sponsor:

“Harry, unaccustomed to writing prose, didn’t get his idea across, and the Reynolds outfit replied that they were in the business of getting rid of Camels, not acquiring more.”

“He persuaded our Dune Poet Harry Kemp to write a letter to the R. J. Reynolds Company, maker of Camel cigarettes, on the chance that it might be interested in supplying the animals in return for advertising space. But Harry, unaccustomed to writing prose, didn’t get his idea across, and the Reynolds outfit replied that they were in the business of getting rid of Camels, not acquiring more.”³

Just six months before his death in 1996, Lopes sold 30 Alden Street to Jane E. Gildersleeve and David R. Curtis, of Ironia, N.J., for $235,000. Curtis and Gildersleeve then divided the parcel into three lots: 28 Alden Street, with the old laundry building, on the south; 30 Alden Street, with the main house, in the center; and 32 Alden Street, unimproved, on the north.⁴

They sold 28 Alden Street in 1997 and 32 Alden Street in 1998.

At this property, they created the five-unit Farmhouse Condominium in 2003. They built two new structures between the old Lopes hilltop dwelling and Motta Field. Units 1 and 2 are here, in what is called Building A. Units 3 and 4 are in the main house, or Building B. Unit 5 is in Building C. The current owners here are from Charlestown and Wilton Manors, Fla.

The original outline of the Facha-Lopes homestead superimposed on contemporary property boundaries. The pink rectangle shows the main house. Motta Field is in green. [Town Map]

30 Alden Street on the Town Map, showing property lines.

Also at this address

Farmhouse Condominium, Building B (Units 3-4)

Farmhouse Condominium, Building C (Unit 5)

In memoriam

• Frances Tiadora (Silva) Facha (1863-1939)

Find a Grave Memorial No. 107076355.

• Frank Roderick Facha Sr. (1860-1899)

Find a Grave Memorial No. 107076344.

• Manuel J. Lopes (1889-1972)

Find a Grave Memorial No. 193105890.

• Mary (Facha) Lopes (1893-1979)

Find a Grave Memorial No. 193105891.

• Maurice Henry Lopes (1918-1996)

Find a Grave Memorial No. 107076324.

¹ “Plan of Land in Provincetown Belonging to Mrs. Mary F. Lopes,” 1946, Registry Plan Book 76, Page 17, Barnstable County Registry of Deeds.

² “Appeals Board Downs Skating Rink, Grants Building Extension Requests,” Provincetown Advocate, 16 June 1955, Page 1.

³ “To Fellows and Friends Afar & Abroad,” Provincetown Advocate, 2 June 1960, Page 1.

⁴ “Plan of Land in Provincetown as Surveyed for David R. Curtis & Jane E. Gildersleeve,” August 1996, Registry Plan Book 531, Page 22, Barnstable County Registry of Deeds.

¶ Last updated on 2 December 2021.

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