How did a sleepy New England fishing village become a gay mecca? In this dynamic history, Karen Christel Krahulik explains why Provincetown, Massachusetts—alternately known as “Land’s End,” “Cape-tip,” “Cape-end,” and, to some, “Queersville, U.S.A”—has meant many things to many people.
Provincetown tells the story of this beguiling coastal town, from its early history as a mid-nineteenth century colonial village to its current stature as a bustling gay tourist destination. It details the many cultures and groups—Yankee artists, Portuguese fishermen, tourists—that have comprised and influenced Provincetown, and explains how all of them, in conjunction with larger economic and political forces, come together to create a gay and lesbian mecca.
Through personal stories and historical accounts, Provincetown reveals the fascinating features that have made Provincetown such a textured and colorful destination: its fame as the landfall of the Mayflower Pilgrims, charm as an eccentric artists’ colony, and allure as a Dionysian playground. It also hints at one of Provincetown’s most dramatic economic changes: its turn from fishing village to resort town. From a history of fishing economies to a history of tourism, Provincetown, in the end, is as eclectic and vibrant as the city itself.