During our August vacation on Cape Cod, I drove up to the northern tip of the Cape while my husband golfed. Provincetown, the original landing place of the Pilgrims – they headed to Plymouth only after they’d given wind-swept, rocky Provincetown a try – is a bustling centre of art galleries, funky shops, and restaurants. First on my list of local attractions, however, was the Provincetown Public Library, housed in the imposing historic Methodist Church, later Museum.
After a peremptory look around the main floor, I ascended the staircase to the second floor, where the Children’s Department is housed. Majestically moored in the centre of the floor is a half-scale model (66½ ‘ length, 12½ ‘ beam) of the famed schooner the Rose Dorothea.
The original schooner was built in 1905 and had a crew of 26 men. She and her crew won the Lipton Cup in a famed race during Boston’s Old Home Week Celebration of 1907. The Cup is on display on the first floor of the library. The Rose Dorothea had an interesting history.
After her glorious racing win and years of use as a fishing schooner, she was sold to a Newfoundland company in 1916 and was used to transport supplies to Portugal. In 1917, she was sunk by a German submarine, but the crew survived, having been allowed to evacuate.
To accommodate the masts of this beautiful model, openings were created in the ceiling. On either side of the schooner, curved wooden shelving, painted blue, undulate like waves.
I couldn’t help dreaming of what creative addition could be added to the children’s area of our next library building project?
Speaking of Cape Cod, Richard Russo’s latest novel, That Old Cape Magic, is a captivating read.
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