Andrea M. Sawyer
Captain Jack’s — Quintessential Provincetown. In 1897, Jackson R. Williams, a 36 year old captain of a modest fishing fleet, petitioned to build a wharf. The wharf grew according to need and at one time had over 100 major structures. Fishermen, painters and artists co-mingled. Charles Hawthorne gave classes on the wharf, paying local kids 25 cents to pose. Euguene O’Neil staged a play there. As the fishing industry declined in the 1920s, Jack Williams “gave-over” the trap-fishing business and began to rent rooms on the Wharf. One renter, Sally Nye, ran the Circus, a bar and brothel, until the neighbors shut it down. There was no plumbing on the wharf and the place had fallen into disrepair. In 1935, Captain Jack died in debt. Doc Hiebert, who treated Captain Jack, bought the wharf. When Doc Hiebert’s wife Emily heard the news, she almost fainted given the scandalous history of the wharf. But Emily Hiebert took matters into her own hands to clean up the place. She named it Captain Jack’s Wharf and rented out the cabins. Her daughter Ruth continued to run it for years. During the 1940s, Tennessee Williams was a regular summer visitor. It is now a condominium association and the cabins may still be rented.