A reader writes:
I have to differ with your take on Provincetown's own campanile. Yes, it's wildly out of proportion with the place, and it's also wildly "un-Cape"; but so again is Provincetown. Allow me to briefly enumerate the reasons why I like the tower:
1) The tower allows me to pinpoint Provincetown from Duxbury Beach, thirty miles across the mouth of Cape Cod Bay; the town would be invisible (or mostly so) without the tower, and seeing it is something I enjoy.
2) It symbolizes, for me, the heavily Ibero-Latin influence of Portuguese-American fishermen in town;
3) The campanile, like I said above, is a manifestation of Provincetown's out-there-ness. It is not the rest of the Cape, certainly not the suburbanized Upper Cape, nor the wild moorland ruralness of Truro and Wellfleet; it is it's own, neat fishing village/gay mecca. It is appropriate for the architecture to be as glam and inappropriate as the street life.
4) It echoes the architecture of Boston's Pine Street Inn homeless structure, providing a spiritual link with the capital of the Bay State. This architectural echo reminds me of Thoreau's encounter with an old man in Truro in the 1840s, who recalled for him the sound of the cannons at the Battle of Bunker Hill, booming across Massachusetts and Cape Cod Bays -- a linkage with the Bay Province's metropole and a larger American and Atlantic World.
5) Towers in seaports are cool and grand, reminiscent of Tyre and Rhodes.
Oh, and the tone of contempt against the tower is a bit unseemly in its fierceness. Remember, you're a guest there in Provincetown; you wouldn't go around rearranging furniture in a guest's house, would you? This is the colonial/summer person attitude which so often breeds resentment of Englishmen and New Yorkers.
Ouch. In my defense, I do love the now-library, whose just-restored belfry you can see above. And it's because I love Provincetown's indigenous sky-line (before the monument) that I find it such an excrescence. But I was having a little fun with the post as well.
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