8 Atwood Avenue. [2010, Dunlap]
When you spot one of Claude Jensen’s white-on-blue plaques of a house aboard a scow — as there is on this lovely three-quarter Cape — you’re in the presence of a building that was floated over from Long Point, an early 19th-century settlement on the thin finger of land separating Cape Cod Bay from Provincetown Harbor. The “floater” at the core of this structure was Stephen Atwood’s home, one of four clustered around the small Wood End inlet. (It was designated landmark No. 58 on the map of the Long Point settlement in The Provincetown Book.) By the late 1860s, as the near-shore fishery grew depleted, the settlement had to be abandoned. Almost 40 structures were salvaged, however, and floated over to town as the plaque suggests, including this one and two nearby, at 10 Atwood Avenue and 12 Atwood Avenue.
This was the summer home from 1958 to 1983 of the family of Aaron Shaw, a retired New York City school teacher and administrator. It’s been owned since 2005 by two residents of Bedford, N.Y., who have taken great care of it. In recent years, they moved the “floater” plaque from the main house, where it was obscured by a significant wisteria vine, and placed it on the ell, where it’s much more visible.
The house occupies a fork in the road where Atwood Avenue bends off both to the west and to the east. The western spur used to be known as Atwood’s Court.
The Stephen Atwood house, No. 58, was at the very westernmost end of the Long Point settlement. The original map comes from The Provincetown Book, by Nancy W. Paine Smith (1922).
Left: One of Claude Jensen’s “floater” plaques. Right: A mid-1970s view of the house. [Massachusetts Historical Commission Inventory, 1973-1977 / Provincetown Public Library]
8 Atwood Avenue on the Town Map, showing property lines.
¶ Last updated on 6 June 2016.