Bayview Avenue

The street plan of the East Harbor Beach subdivision of 1915 strongly influenced the layout of the Beach Point area. [Google]

Bayview Avenue is the central east-west spine of the East Harbor Beach subdivision, developed beginning in 1915 by Harley F. Williamson (1870-1941) of Springfield, who envisioned the sale of 220 small lots on 100 acres along the easternmost seashore, right up to the Truro border. Williamson’s home turf was Connecticut, but East Harbor Beach fit with his ambition to transform significant parcels of property into towns-within-towns.

With John T. Kenworthy and Charles H. Davis of New Haven, he formed the Wilkenda Land Company in 1909. (Williamson-Kenworthy-Davis.) Their most significant undertaking was the development of “Lordship Manor” on a point of coastal land in Stratford, Conn. The area, now known simply as Lordship, abuts Sikorsky Memorial Airport. They promised: “Our restrictions are such, that will insure the sale of lots to people of refinement, in fact it is nice property for nice people.” One shudders to think whom Wilkenda regarded as not nice.

Evidently enjoying success with their development projects, the partners also started a short-lived grocery store chain known as the Wilkenda System. Perhaps it was supposed to do battle with the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, but it vanished pretty quickly. Wilkenda did not disappear entirely, however. There is still a Wilkenda Avenue in Waterbury and a Wilkenda Avenue in East Haven.

And in Provincetown, there is the street grid of East Harbor Beach, together with some of the names Williamson gave the streets. Adm. George Dewey, the hero of the Spanish-American War when he held the rank of commodore, was honored twice: with Commodore Avenue and Dewey Avenue. Presidents James A. Garfield (served in 1881), Grover Cleveland (1885–1889 and 1893–1897), and Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909) were also honored. So was Rear Adm. Richmond Pearson Hobson, another American naval hero of the Spanish-American War. He was briefly a prisoner of war in Cuba after sinking a collier in an attempt to block Santiago Harbor.

Williamson was still selling East Harbor Beach parcels into the 1930s. The enclave may not have turned out as he imagined it, but his plan actually had a tremendous impress on what we now know as Beach Point. What’s also astonishing is the amount of sand deposition since he promulgated his vision. Williamson pictured Garfield Street as a waterfront boulevard. It is now about 750 feet distant from the shoreline.

The pink shading indicates the street plan of East Harbor Beach, superimposed on the current Town Map.

For clarity’s sake, the Town Map without any overlays.

¶ Last updated on 7 February 2022.

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