The New International Encyclopædia/Provincetown
PROV′INCETOWN. A town in Barnstable County, Mass., 54 miles by water and 120 miles by rail southeast of Boston; on Cape Cod Bay, and on a branch of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad (Map: Massachusetts, G 3). It is situated at the extremity of Cape Cod, and has a deep, spacious harbor. There is a public library with 8500 volumes. Provincetown has some reputation as a summer resort, but is best known for its fishing and whaling industries, the latter of which, however, in recent years has declined considerably. In the town are several wholesale fish establishments, also manufactories of various kinds of oil. Population, in 1890, 4642; in 1900, 4247. On November 21, 1620, the Pilgrims in the Mayflower arrived in Provincetown Harbor and remained anchored there for nearly a month. It was here that the celebrated compact was signed and the first Governor, John Carver, was chosen. Permanently settled about 1680, Provincetown formed a precinct of Truro from 1714 until 1727, when it was incorporated. Its growth was very slow and in 1776 it had a population of only 205. Here during the Civil War the Confederate commissioners, Mason and Slidell, were delivered to the British gunboat Rinaldo. Consult Freeman, The History of Cape Cod (Boston, 1860-69).