6 Bangs Street. [2008, Dunlap]
Mayflower Apartments. This substantial house (c1850), set on a slight rise overlooking the ample yard of 442 Commercial Street, was for many years home to the family of Frank Dutra (d1949) and his wife, Mary (Nunes) Dutra (d1950). Both were born in Pico in the Azores and had come to this country in the 1910s. Dutra was a fisherman for many years.
The Dutra family sold the property in 1969 to Klara Elfriede Muller (1931-2021), who was also the proprietor of the Mayflower Cottages (Mayflower Colony) at 898 Commercial Street.
Muller was born in Homburg, in the Saarland, four years before it was returned to Germany from France, which had occupied the state under a League of Nations mandate after World War I. “Klara experienced the deprivations of war as a child, which left her traumatized for the rest of her life,” her 2021 obituary said. “Klara recalled frequently running from her school to bomb shelters at the sound of air-raid sirens, climbing over rubble and huddling in a dark cellar until the bombs stopped falling and the all-clear siren was heard. Twice, bombs destroyed her family’s home along with all their belongings.”
After the Second World War, Muller became a nurse in Germany, then moved to Paris to work as a private nurse and governess. She then traveled widely, as an employee of the Norwegian Cruise Line. That brought her to New York City, to study commercial photography. “It was during this time that she first traveled to Provincetown after learning of the town’s vibrant art community,” the obit continued. “Klara fell in love with the beauty of Provincetown and moved here permanently in 1967. Not long after her arrival Klara purchased the Mayflower Colony cottages on Beach Point and Mayflower Apartments on Bangs Street.”
Muller had ambivalent feelings about Provincetown, and the town returned the sentiment. “There were many times when she was harassed or belittled for her strong German accent and her national origin,” the obituary stated.
“Klara suffered no fools and if you were a fool, she would let you know it.”
“Klara suffered no fools and if you were a fool, she would let you know it,” the obit concluded. “Those who took the time to look beyond Klara’s sometimes turbulent temper found a well-educated, intellectual, fluent in three languages, who held herself and others to exceptionally high standards. A fiercely independent woman, Klara had a curious mind, a sharp sense of humor, a keen aesthetic sensibility, and a generous nature with friends.”
One of the closest of her friends, Raymond Duarte, helped her maintain the two properties — and kept her supplied with fresh fish. Muller retired in 2018 and died three years later.
Left: Detail of the sign. [2008, Dunlap] Right: Klara Muller. [Gately McHoul Funeral Home]
6 Bangs Street on the Town Map, showing property lines.
¶ Last updated on 22 January 2022.