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An Annual Publication of the Nantucket Preservation Trust Vol. VIII• 2014

An Annual Publication of the Nantucket Preservation Trust Vol. X• 2016

K at h l e e n H a y D e s i g n s

a wa r d - w i n n i n g i n t e r i o r d e s i g n f i r m H o n o r i n g N a n t u c k e t ’ s E x c e p t i o n a l H e r i ta g e 508.228.1219

Who do you trust to create your dream space?

Credentials Matter

Captain Parker House, restored by Trudy Dujardin, ASID, LEED Accredited Professional +ID + C “Certified an Historic Preservation by the U.S. Department of the Interior�

508.228.1120 Nantucket, MA. | 203.838.8100 Westport, CT. |


We are pleased to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Ramblings with this issue. Over the past decade, our circulation has grown fivefold, to 5,000—and ­continues to be distributed free of charge. Our purpose in publishing Ramblings remains the same: to spread the word about the importance of saving N ­ antucket’s rich architectural heritage by providing ­historical narratives about the island’s ­architecture, restoration tips, and other useful information for owners of historic properties. In this tenth edition, we highlight the extraordinary work of the 2016 Preservation Awards recipients and interview Chris O’Reilly, our scholarship beneficiary and ­recent graduate of the North Bennet Street School’s preservation-carpentry p­ rogram. ­Ramblings also notes our upcoming summer programs and provides histories for ­Centre Street neighborhood houses featured in the NPT’s Historic House and Kitchen Tour on July 21. Another event not to be missed by history and architecture buffs is the Summer Luncheon and Lecture on July 14 with Hutton Wilkinson and Flynn ­Kuhnert, the co-authors of A Walk to Elsie’s, a fascinating look at Elsie de Wolfe, often called America’s first interior designer. And then there’s the Fête on August 11. This year’s Fête will take place along Upper Main Street. Participants will enjoy the rare opportunity to view one of the island’s oldest houses, the Richard Gardner II House— which appropriately graced the cover of the initial Ramblings publication. We hope you will join us at one or more of these preservation programs. If you are already an NPT member, thank you for your support, and if you are not yet a member, we hope you will join today to help us in our efforts to protect this s­ pecial island. In closing, we are most appreciative of all the strong community s­ upport we have gained for Ramblings over the past ten years, and are especially grateful to our dedicated advertisers and underwriters. We hope you support them, too, because without their financial assistance this publication and our work would not be possible.

Michael May, Executive Director The Nantucket PreservationTrust advocates for, educates about, and celebrates the ­preservation of the island’s rich architectural heritage. For more information, please visit us at: 55 Main Street, Third Floor • P.O. Box 158, Nantucket, MA 02554 508-228-1387 Ramblings is provided at no cost to our members, island property owners, and ­visitors. Printed with low VOC, vegetable-based ink. Paper stock is 10% post-consumer recycled content, grown and ­manufactured in the USA, and is “sustainable forest certified.” Please recycle this ­publication by passing it along to a friend.


Nantucket Lightshop


The Tile room

PLUMBING 508.228.6633 508.325.4732 508.228.2828

9 Sparks Avenue


The Water Closet

Nantucket, MA 02554

Photo: Nathan Coe Photography l Design and Build: KMS Design

NPT Board of Directors Executive Committee Ken Beaugrand, Chair David Brown, President Michael Ericksen, Vice President Anne Troutman, Vice President Al Forster, Treasurer Caroline Ellis, Secretary

Directors Samuel Bailey Mary-Randolph Ballinger Christopher Dallmus Michelle Elzay Mary Helen Fabacher Mark Godfrey Susan Zises Green Barbara Halsted Carol Kinsley Michael Kovner Thomas Maxwell Mundy Dennis Perry Esta-Lee Stone Marie Sussek Pam Waller Suellen Ward


Michael May Executive Director

Marisa Holden Marketing and Events Director Melany Cheeseman Administrative Assistant Henry Ian Pass, Esq., Counsel


Susan Boardman Barbara Clark Michelle Elzay Isabelle Hay Greg Hinson Marisa Holden Marty Hylton Gary Langley Michael May Brian Pfeiffer Dirck Van Lieu Kristin Weber

Guest Contributor

Marty Hylton

Graphic Design

Kathleen Hay Designs

Copy Editor

Elizabeth Oldham

Ramblings •

Vol. X • 2016

Table of Contents

Did You Know?

Preservation Month: Raise the Roof

9 11

NPT’s Annual Historic House and Kitchen Tour: Centre Street Neighborhood 14 Profiles in Preservation: An Interview with Chris O’Reilly, traditional-building craftsman Preservation Awards Honoring Our 2016 Award Recipients

NPT Summer Luncheon and Lecture AWalk to Elsie’s, with authors Hutton Wilkinson

28 32 42

and Flynn Kuhnert

August Fête: The MAIN Event


Preservation Tools 48 Know the Styles: Nantucket’s Answer to the Cape Cod House Envision Nantucket Update Mark Your Old House: New NPT House Markers House by House: A Brief History of 23 Milk Street Preservation Restrictions ArchitecturalWalking Tours NPT’s Architectural Preservation Fund Clarissa Porter Preservation Easement Fund Mary Helen and Michael Fabacher Scholarship Preservation Symposium: Nantucket’s Golden Age NPT Membership Information


End Note: A Demolition on Nantucket


Ramblings echoes the spirit of a guide first published in 1947 titled Rambling through the Streets and Lanes of Nantucket, by Edouard A. Stackpole. Cover photos courtesy of Jeffrey Allen, Kathleen Hay, Michelle Elzay Historic images courtesy of the Nantucket Historical Association Copyright © 2016 Nantucket Preservation Trust


Did You Know?


ransoms—small bands of glass panes above a d­ oor— were found in domestic architecture in ­ England by the seventeenth century, and their use grew as glass ­became less expensive and more readily a­vailable. In eighteenth-century America, craftsmen copying from E ­ ­nglish building books ­frequently installed transoms above ­exterior doors. Transoms were principally practical—helping to ­admit light in small passageways and ­brightening rooms when doors were shut. However, their use above ­interior doors remained rare in most communities. Their widespread use in N ­ antucket interiors is ­concurrent with the island’s golden age, when wealth poured into the island from the whaling industry. Today transoms are known as character-defining elements of late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Nantucket houses, and in the Typical Nantucket House they are a feature of most ­interior doorways. By the late nineteenth century, interior transoms had gained wide popularity across the country and were found in many Victorian-era homes. In the twentieth century, transoms b­ ecame common utilitarian features in offices and other commercial ­structures where they not only allowed in light but were ­operable with hinges so they could be opened to help ventilate interior spaces—a necessity especially in cities prior to air conditioning.


Preservation Month


Thirty Miles at Sea and Thirty Days Late

n America, Preservation Month is celebrated in May, but we figured that since we are nearly thirty miles off the coast we could take the liberty of pushing back preservation ­activities to capture the start of the summer season. So, enjoy preservation ­programs on the mainland in May and then join us in June for a monthlong celebration of our own. NPT, along with other Nantucket nonprofit organizations and ­businesses, has developed a host of preservation-minded events and activities. Samples of programs hosted by our partners include a film series at the Dreamland, an open house of the barn at Rick and ­Valerie Norton’s property, and a Codfish Park house tour sponsored by the ’Sconset Trust. Below are some highlights of the NPT-sponsored ­activities. A calendar of all Preservation Month events is available on our Web site.

June 4 Open House: Become a member of NPT at the $250 level or above

and join us for a special tour of the recently preserved house at 55 Union Street. The project shows that proper restoration and modern amenities can go hand in hand. We think you will be awestruck by this fine restoration and will discover what’s possible. Contact NPT for details.

June 11 Film and Discussion: Raise the Roof

Artists Rick and Laura Brown are neither Jewish nor Polish, yet they set out to rebuild Gwoždziec, one of the magnificent ­eighteenth-century 11

wooden synagogues of Poland, the last of which were destroyed by ­Nazis during World War II. The Browns’ vision ­inspired hundreds of people to join them. Using their hands and old tools and techniques, they ­rediscover Gwoždziec’s history, culture, and art. Join us for a special film and Q&A with artists Rick and Laura Brown and filmmakers Cary and Yari Wolinsky in the Nantucket Atheneum’s Great Hall. FREE. Space is limited, so reservations are required for the 6:30 p.m. screening. For information, call the NPT office at 508-228-1387 or visit us at There will be a ticketed reception at the Nantucket Culinary Center, 22 Federal Street, following the program. For tickets contact the NPT. An encore showing of Raise the Roof will be held on June 12 at 6:00 p.m. (also in the Great Hall at the Nantucket Atheneum). With special thanks to Congregation Shirat HaYam and the Nantucket ­Atheneum for sponsoring the Raise the Roof program.

June 19

House Tour: Visit several historic houses along North Water Street at your leisure. FREE and open to the public. 1–4 p.m.

June 28

Film: Four Dreams and a Thousand Demolitions is a poetic documentary featuring individuals who have invested their money, passion, and curiosity into saving and restoring beautiful old railroad station buildings in Sweden. Filmmakers Peggy Eklof and Elzbieta Jasinska Brunnberg also focus on the tragic decision to destroy a large number of historic buildings, some of which were designed by famous Swedish architects. FREE and open to the public. 6:00 p.m. at the Nantucket Atheneum, cosponsors with NPT. npt


Announcing THE NANTUCKET SUMMER ANTIQUES SHOW at The Boys and Girls Club of Nantucket 61 Sparks Avenue, Nantucket

August 12 - 15, 2016 The Antiques Council will provide a contribution to support the study of traditional building methods through the Mary Helen and Michael Fabacher Scholarship of the Nantucket Preservation Trust.

ANTIQUES COUNCIL An International Organization of Antiques Dealers

w w w. a n t iq u e s c o u n c il. c o m

12th Annual


Thursday, July 21, 2016 • 10 a.m. Ð 3 p.m. Tickets $50

For tickets and information: 508-228-1387 14

12th ANNUAL HISTORIC HOUSE AND KITCHEN TOUR Centre Street Neighborhood Thursday, July 21, 2016 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Tickets $50 Tickets may be purchased in advance or on the day of the tour. Tour ­participants will receive a 25% discount for the day on purchases at the Nantucket Culinary Center where they may also sample small bites and tour the new facility. For information, call the NPT office at 508-228-1387 or visit us at Made possible with underwriting from: The Water Closet, The Tile Room, and the Nantucket Lightshop With special thanks to the Nantucket Culinary Center

This tour provides an opportunity to view a wide variety of houses of historic and architectural interest. It highlights the history, architecture, and the kitchens of each house. Although kitchens often change with current fashion, other areas of a house can maintain original elements and can be sensitively renovated to reflect its unique story. Visitors gain insight and ideas when considering their own renovation projects, and we hope it will help them to better understand the importance of historic buildings and our community’s preservation challenges. A special treat in this year’s tour is the inclusion of the historic First Congregational Church—where participants may climb the church tower, known for the magnificent view.

The Neighborhood This section of Centre Street developed as an important roadway b­ etween the old settlement at Sherburne and the Great Harbor. The southern section of the street was part of the Wesco Acre Lots, established in 1678, and many of the early buildings along that section were destroyed in the Great Fire of 1846. Fortunately, this section, beyond the bend at Broad Street, was largely untouched by the fire and retains some of the town’s best examples of eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century architecture. 15


Photo by Kristin Weber

Let’s Start at the Church The First Congregational Church was constructed in 1834 from a ­design by Samuel Waldron, a Boston housewright. It sits atop Academy Hill, once known as Beacon Hill, and has been a local landmark since its ­construction due to its visibility from a great distance. The church, with its Carpenter Gothic and Greek Revival architectural elements, became the largest meeting house on island when it was expanded in the early 1840s. Among its fine interior features is its auditorium with trompe l’oeil “frescoes” painted between 1850 and 1852 and restored circa 1970. Also dating from the mid-1850s is the pulpit and the ­configuration of the pews, which are original, but which were cut down to their p­ resent height and capped with mahogany volutes.

First Congregational Church, 1860s 17

7 Academy Lane, circa 1900s 18

Connected to the church at its west end is the Old North Vestry—the original church on the site. This structure was initially built at the o­ riginal Sherburne settlement sometime between 1711 and 1732, and moved to the hill in 1765. In 1834, it was relocated again—this time only a few feet west—to make room for the construction of the new church. This early building retains many of its original features, but its boxed pews and ­galleries have been removed. The tower, reached by way of the main church entry, is worth the climb to see the bird’s-eye view of the harbor and town. The exterior of both ­buildings and portions of the interior of the main church are protected by an NPT ­preservation easement.

7 ACADEMY LANE • 1806 In 1806, Reuben R. Bunker (1775–1855), captain of the ship Brutus— one of forty American ships commissioned by William Rotch to whale out of Dunkirk, France—built this fine house at the top of Academy Hill. Bunker and his wife, Rebecca Chase (1779–1854), resided here until their deaths, and it remained in the Bunker family until 1887. Like many Nantucket houses, 7 Academy Lane evolved over time, and in about 1820 was even embellished with Federal details. Today, the house includes a fine arched entryway and decorative end quoins constructed to resemble stone blocks at each end of its façade.

45 CENTRE STREET • Circa 1833 This fine Federal house was the home of Reuben Russell (b. 1799), master mariner, and his wife, Maria Gardner (b. 1800). Like many of his neighbors, Russell was successful as a whaling captain and is perhaps best known as the master of the ship Susan. He purchased this Centre Street lot in 1832 after a profitable voyage and built the house soon thereafter. The house barely survived the Great Fire of 1846, destruction coming within two doors of the house. Still, the damage to town and the decline of the whaling industry spurred Russell, like many Nantucketers, to leave the island. The family sold the house to merchants Charles and Henry Coffin in 1847 and moved to Ohio to take up agricultural pursuits. 19

45 Centre Street, circa 1880s 20

51 CENTRE STREET • Circa 1790

Known as the Peter Folger House, this three-story dwelling is unusual for several reasons. Built in the last quarter of the eighteenth century by boat builder Peter Folger (1737–1808), it is set back from the street and is a story taller than most Nantucket dwellings of the period. The house originally had a flat roof with railing, but was altered by Peter’s son Uriah about 1815. Five generations of the Folger family lived in this house, occupying the premises until 1955.

51 Centre Street, circa 1880s


This elegant Greek Revival house was built by Captain David N. Edwards (1798–1881) in 1842. Prior to its construction, the land was held by the Cartwright family and included a spermaceti-candlehouse, cooper shop, tryworks (for rendering whale oil from blubber), and shed. Edwards, a master of whaling vessels, constructed the house upon his retirement, and then focused his attention on community affairs, serving as a fire ward and as a deacon of the nearby First Congregational Church. His wife, ­Hepsabeth (1801–85), inherited the house before it passed to their ­daughter Phebe. In 1895, the house was purchased by George W. Edwards, David’s great nephew, of Detroit. It remained in family hands until 2014. 21

53 Centre Street, circa 1910s

A view of the porch entrance at 53 Centre, circa 1960s 22

64 CENTRE STREET Circa 1789 This house, which now serves as the First Congregational Church’s parish house, was built about 1789 by William Gardner and Coffin Whippey, the year they purchased the vacant land. A 1791 deed dividing the use of the house between them notes that they “built a Mansion house in company where in they now dwell.” In April 1821, William and Phoebe Gardner sold their half of the house to Whippey, reserving the use of several rooms during their lifetime. Whippey sold the property to his son, Alexander Whippey, master mariner, in 1849. It remained in family hands into the twentieth century.

64 Centre Street, circa 1890s 23

68 CENTRE STREET Circa 1803 Ropemaker Henry Riddell (1769–1840) built this house in the early nineteenth century on land his father, Samuel, had purchased in 1803. It is not known exactly when Henry built his house, but it was ­probably soon after the land was purchased; he had married his second wife, Hepsabeth Wyer, in 1799, and they had two very young children, plus three children under the age of ten from Henry’s first marriage. A ­Typical Nantucket House, it is one of many of its kind built in the period 1760–1830 in a style that is identified with Quaker simplicity. Identifying features include the four-bay-wide façade with a ridge chimney and three fireplaces per floor.

68 Centre Street, circa 1870s 24

70 and 72 Centre Street, circa 1880s

70 and 72 CENTRE STREET • Circa 1838 The land for these houses was purchased in 1838, and they were built as a pair by master builders John Chadwick and Isaiah Robinson. The carpenters divided the property, with Robinson retaining 70 Centre and Chadwick 72. Robinson lived in his new home until 1865, when he sold it to his daughter, Cornelia M. Coffin (1841–1906). The following year, Cornelia’s husband, Peter F. Coffin, acting master under Admiral Bailey of the U.S. Navy’s eastern gulf squadron, died of fever in Brazil. In 1841, Chadwick sold 72 Centre to Captain George Harris, described as a “portly figure, and always carrying a cane. . . .” George’s wife, Mary, sold the house in 1871 to Priscilla Coffin, who sold it in 1876 to Lydia A. Beebe, wife of successful whaling captain John A. Beebe. The Beebe’s only child, Alice (1874–1966), began studies at Wellesley College in 1892 and eventually took vows as a nun at the convent of St. Anne. The order gained possession of the house and sold it in 1939. 25

22 Federal Street, 2016

22 FEDERAL STREET • Circa 1872 The original structure at this site was consumed by the Great Fire in 1846. In 1872, Samuel Swain Esq. purchased the empty lot and ­constructed the house. Samuel started his career in the whaling ­industry, but went on to become a successful merchant. He later ­b ecame town and county ­t reasurer and eventually served as ­R egister of Probate. In 1899, the house was purchased from the Swain estate by John and Mary Ring. John, a stone mason, added to the house and developed a successful contracting business on island. His family retained the property until 1972, when it was purchased by Robert Mooney for his law office. In the 1990s, it was acquired by the town and used for its finance offices. reMain Nantucket purchased it in 2014 and completed the renovation earlier this year. It now serves as the home of the Nantucket Culinary Center. npt 26

Let us show you What’s possible The Nantucket Preservation Trust NPT is a membership nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection of Nantucket’s sense of place. OUR BELIEF Nantucket’s historic architecture is a unique and ­valuable asset that makes the island ­special. OUR GOAL To preserve Nantucket’s architectural heritage for present and future generations to enjoy. OUR HOPE That you will join us in working to p ­ reserve our past. OUR PROGRAMS

Apprenticeships • Architectural Studies • Architectural Lectures • Architectural Preservation Fund • August Fête • Brief Histories, House Genealogies, and Comprehensive House Histories • Historic District Commission Testimonies • Historic House and Kitchen Tour • Historic Research • House Consultations • House Markers • House Resource Assistance • Interior Surveys • Landmark History Books • Main Street Architectural Walking Tour • Neighborhood Book Series • Preservation Awards • Preservation Easements • Preservation Month Programs • Private Walking Tours • Ramblings • Resource Guide • Scholarships • ’Sconset Walking Tour • Summer Lecture and Luncheon Series • Traditional Building Methods Demonstrations Photo by Kristin Weber


Profiles in Preservation An Interview with NPT Scholarship Recipient Chris O’Reilly

In 2014, NPT awarded island carpenter Chris O’Reilly its first full-time scholarship to attend the preservation-carpentry ­program of the North Bennet Street School in Boston. As Chris prepared to graduate from the prestigious program in May, we sat down with him for a short discussion about his experience. Chris, you have worked on several historic building projects on Nantucket. Was there one that was special or inspired you to pursue your education at NBSS? I guess I would have to go with the Pacific Club on this one. It was the biggest job, and had the most variety of work. Working with both Pen Austin and Michael Burrey and then hearing Brian Pfeiffer explain the history of the building was such a pleasure and a turning point for me. At the time I had some experience with preservation carpentry, but the historical background was still somewhat new.That job really got me to understand the next level of Nantucket’s truly unique history, put it into context, and made me want to learn more. What was the favorite part of—and the most valuable tool you learned—during your two-year Preservation Carpentry course? That’s a hard one. I think the connections made are invaluable, and the understanding that this is a lifetime of learning. There may be a few ways to do something right, but there are a thousand ways to do it wrong, so learning when to do anything this way or that way can’t really be taught; it’s experience that’s needed.When you build new you can get into a routine, but when you restore it’s hard to experience almost anything exactly the same way twice. So it’s always a judgment call, which is very intimidating at first. NBSS really provides a confident foundation to start a lifetime of learning, and I now know I’ve only discovered the tip of the iceberg and I’m ready to get to work! What was a typical school day like for you? Hours? Projects? Classmates? It’s hard to go into details with that question.Typical day? 7:30–2:45. 29

The first year builds hand skills and background knowledge. The second year is using those skills and building on them in r­ eal-world situations. Beyond that it’s hard to paint a true picture. Now that you’ve graduated and have gained valuable preservation-carpentry skills, how do you plan to ­apply them on-island? I plan on working and adding to my knowledge. The preservation field on Nantucket is in such high demand, and very much needed to ensure that proper work is completed. Preserving the historic community that so many have worked so hard to ensure is inspiring to say the least, and I’m very happy to be a part of it. What would you recommend to Nantucket High School students who are debating taking this career path? Well, here’s the thing. It’s a cultural belief that to make it in life you need to do better and make money and move to the city and blah blah blah. No. To make it in life you need to be happy, and I believe this field is right for me. It sure isn’t right for everyone. Graduating from NHS and getting off Nantucket can seem like a godsend, but Nantucketers are all small-island people at heart. The late teens and early twenties are the most confusing years of your life.You are going to really learn who you are and what you want to do—no one can tell you what will make you happy; that’s for people to figure out for themselves.Take the time you need to get off island and enjoy new experiences. See the city and don’t worry about making mistakes.There will always be a place on this island when you finally feel home calling you back. If you want to work with your hands—try a trade school like NBSS. It will put you on a path that leads to getting down and dirty and rarely looking at a computer screen. I hate computers. I love a sharp tool. And for any girls out there graduating soon that think this is a man’s field—stop listening to those people. They don’t know anything. Some of the most talented people I’ve worked with are women. Preservation carpentry is a small field. We want anyone and everyone who is willing to work hard. npt 30

THE FA L L TOUR S OCTOBER 6–30, 2016 Ch arl e ston , South C a ro l i na

The Preservation Society of Charleston invites you to step inside Charleston’s most historic homes and places W W W.T H E FA L LTO U R S .O R G

The 2016 Preservation Award Recipients


PT’s Preservation Awards are presented each June to ­individuals and organizations that advance the cause of ­historic preservation on island. Highlighting projects and the people who commissioned and completed preservation work is our way to honor those who demonstrate to the community that ­sensitive preservation is possible. That the Preservation Awards recipients ­continue to lead the way is gratifying, and ensures the protection of the island’s historic resources for future generations. The NPT’s Preservation Awards are given to emphasize proper ­preservation and sensitive new construction, to showcase the island’s craftspeople, and to celebrate the foresight and stewardship of owners who care about our historic structures and the island landscape.

ARCHITECTURAL PRESERVATION The Architectural Preservation Award recognizes the ­owner(s) of a historic structure, and, when appropriate, one or more ­building professionals who assisted in the completion of a significant ­ ­preservation project. In order to qualify for the award, preservation of those portions or features that convey the property’s historical,­ ­cultural, or architectural values is required. LANDSCAPE The Caroline A. Ellis Landscape Award recognizes the owner(s) of a historic landscape and, when appropriate, individuals associated with the property, such as landscape professionals. The award r­ecognizes the careful stewardship or preservation of a Nantucket landscape ­associated with a historic structure or area, or the completion of a new design that enhances the historic fabric of the community. 33

STEWARDSHIP The John A.and Katherine S.Lodge Stewardship Award r­ ecognizes owner(s) of a historic property who demonstrate a high degree of ­commitment to the preservation of the structure(s) and the island. An individual or organization maintaining a historic property or p­ laying an important part in the preservation of Nantucket can also be ­nominated for this award. TRADITIONAL BUILDING METHODS The Traditional Building Methods Award recognizes craftspeople who practice traditional building methods or who have made a major contribution to the field of historic preservation on island. Recipients must demonstrate a commitment to one or more of the traditional building methods—such as plastering, carpentry, masonry using lime-mortar, or decorative painting. HISTORICAL RENOVATION The Historical Renovation Award recognizes the owner(s) of a ­historic structure, and when appropriate, building professionals who assisted in the design and completion of a sensitive new addition to a historic structure. Projects should adhere strictly to the guidelines found in the Historic District Commission’s Building with Nantucket in Mind. NEW CONSTRUCTION The New Construction Award recognizes buildings constructed t­hat ­follow the principles of the Historic District Commission and the guidelines outlined in Building with Nantucket in Mind. In addition to the annual awards, the NPT board of directors ­periodically honors those who have made a major impact on ­preservation of the i­sland’s architectural heritage with the ­Excellence in Preservation Award. 34

Nantucket Preservation Trust 2016 Preservation Award Recipients

pres ervatio n award s 2016

Architectural Preservation Award Virginia Andrews, George Gray LLC 55 Union Street Stewardship Award Liz Coffin and Matt and Sheila Fee 106 Main Street Façade and Mark Snider, Nantucket Hotel Landscape Award Paula Lundy Levy Tuck’t In: A Walking Tour of Historic Prospect Hill Cemetery Traditional Building Methods Award Brian Fitzgibbon

Celebrating Nantucket’s Historic Architecture Let Us Show You What’s Possible 35

This year, the NPT recognizes preservation work on island in the following categories. THE ARCHITECTURAL PRESERVATION AWARD Virginia Andrews, George Gray LLC 55 Union Street

For decades, the house at 55 Union Street sat undisturbed— one of those rare buildings that time had passed by. Many thought it should be demolished or gutted, but not Ginger Andrews. She knew that the house, constructed c. 1835 by prolific island builder John B. Nicholson and long held by the Andrews family, was architecturally significant, and she made sure that the property was purchased by preservationists. ­Today, after a year-long restoration by business partners Pen Austin and Michelle Elzay (George Gray LLC), this house has become the model of proper preservation. The team’s “light touch” approach guided the restoration and ­g uaranteed that the house retained its architectural integrity while being ­t horoughly and sensitively updated for modern living.

55 Union Street, 2016 36

The Caroline Ellis Landscape Award Paula Lundy Levy Tuck’t In: A Walking Tour of Historic Prospect Hill Cemetery

Paula Lundy Levy began collecting information about those i nterred at Prospect Hill Cemetery in 2004 and became ­ ­fascinated with the lives of past Nantucketers. She gathered enough information to warrant a book. This p­ ublication, filled with detailed biographies and old photographs, has helped bring attention to the island’s cemeteries—one of our key historic landscapes. The book has become an invaluable record for historians and anyone interested in ­N antucket’s rich history. Sales of the book, which was published by the Prospect Hill Cemetery Association, help fund preservation, conservation, and restoration efforts at the historic cemetery. 37

THE JOHN A. and KATHERINE S. LODGE STEWARDSHIP AWARD Liz Coffin and Matt and Sheila Fee 106 Main Street Façade

In August 2001, the c. 1875 Monument Grocery building at 106 Main Street was demolished prior to a final HDC h­ earing, causing community uproar and eventually leading to the ­r escue of the building’s façade. A plan for its reuse at S­ herburne ­C ommons did not occur and the façade sat unattended, e­ xposed to the elements, and rapidly decaying, until 2008. That year, Liz Coffin volunteered to serve as custodian of the façade, and it was moved to her property where she began an extensive p­ rocess of removing old paint and recording the original paint colors. In 2015, she found a permanent home for the façade: 79 Orange Street, where a similar store front had been ­d estroyed years earlier. Although the façade of 106 Main had seen better days, Matt and Sheila Fee were able to repurpose a significant portion of it. Today, the façade is a key part of the renovation of the old Antone Sylvia grocery store.

106 Main Street, circa 1910s 38

THE JOHN A. and KATHERINE S. LODGE STEWARDSHIP AWARD Mark Snider The Nantucket Hotel and Resort

The old Point Breeze Hotel, built in 1891, was the last survivor among Nantucket’s early resort structures, but it had seen many changes over the years, including additions, a 1925 fire that destroyed most of the interior, and a more recent and troubled renovation that left it gutted and in real jeopardy. ­A lthough many believed the building was unsalvageable and the project uneconomical, Mark Snider forged ahead, purchased the p­ roperty, and completed a major renovation. His vision ensured that the remaining historic fabric—the exterior so ­important to the historic streetscape—remained intact. Today, the hotel is a vital part of the neighborhood and is a community asset that will remain for future generations to enjoy.



Brian FitzGibbon has a passion for historic glass and has worked on antique homes since 1974. In the past twenty years or more he has devoted his career to saving Nantucket’s old windows. His window restoration work is as much art as it is craft. He carefully revives old frames and ­p reserves original glass, finishing them so they can live on for generations to come. He has worked on numerous historic homes on island, ­i ncluding several projects that have been r­ecognized for preservation work, such as 37 Liberty and 75 Main Street. In addition, he has ­r estored windows for several island institutions, including the Unitarian Meeting House and the African American Museum’s Florence Higginbotham House. For additional information on NPT award recipients—past and present—visit our Web site at 40

PAST AWARD RECIPIENTS ARCHITECTURAL PRESERVATION AWARD Nantucket Historical Association, Old Gaol, 2015 Ed and Joan Lahey, 7 Farmer Street, 2014 Michelle Elzay, Sparrow Design, 43 Pine Street, 2013 Maria Mitchell Association, Maria Mitchell Birthplace, 2012 South Church Preservation Fund, 11 Orange Street, 2011 Lucy Dillon, property owner; Steve Lindsay, contractor, 37 Liberty Street, 2010 reMain Nantucket, Mitchell’s Book Corner, 2009 Valerie and Richard Norton, numerous projects, 2008 Bernie and Carol Coffin, ’Sconset Post Office, 2007 Ginger Ivey, 8 Cottage Avenue, ’Sconset, 2007 CAROLINE A. ELLIS LANDSCAPE AWARD Nantucket Conservation Foundation, 2014 Nantucket Garden Club, Main Street Horse Fountain, 2013 Charlotte and MacDonald Mathey, Hedged About, ’Sconset, 2012 Dr. and Mrs. John Espy, 4 New Dollar Lane, 2011 Marilyn Whitney, Moors End, 19 Pleasant Street, 2010 Caroline Ellis, ’Sconset Trust, Sankaty Head Lighthouse, 2009 THE JOHN A. AND KATHERINE S. LODGE STEWARDSHIP AWARD Jason Tilroe, 75 Main Street, 2015 Muriel Williams, posthumously, 4 Traders Lane, 2014 St. Paul’s Church in Nantucket, Stained-Glass Restoration, 2013 Nantucket Historical Association, Photographic Image Archive, 2012 Fremont-Smith family, Atlantic House, ’Sconset, 2011 Margaret Yates Berkheimer, posthumously, 8 Pine Street, 2010 Sanford Kendall, numerous carpentry projects, 2009 Clarissa Porter, 5 Quince Street, 2008 Katherine S. Lodge, 94 Main Street, 2008 TRADITIONAL BUILDING METHODS AWARD David Bergquist, Bergquist Masonry LLC, 2014 Sam and Ellen Phelan, property owners;Twig Perkins, contractor, 65 Pleasant Street, 2013 Curtis Livingston, 18 India Street, 2012 Michael Burrey, timber framer, 2011 Pen Austin, plaster and lime-mortar expert, 2010 HISTORICAL RENOVATION AWARD Paul McLeod and Jamie Pfaff, 29 Liberty Street, 2015 Angus and Deb MacLeod, Angus MacLeod Designs; Johnson, Stockton and Jones families, property owners, for 9, 12, 14, and 15 Pochick Street, ’Sconset, 2013 NEW CONSTRUCTION AWARD Robert and Martha Lipp, 251 Polpis Road EXCELLENCE IN PRESERVATION AWARD University of Florida’s Preservation Institute: Nantucket, 2013 Brian Pfeiffer, 2012 Helen Seager, 1999 Walter Beinecke Jr., 1998 41

S ummer Lecture & Luncheon presented by Nantucket Preservation Trust

A Walk to Elsie’s Lecture on the New Book by Authors Hutton Wilkinson And Flynn Kunhert 42 41

A Walk to Elsie’s Join us for the 2016 Summer Lecture and Luncheon featuring a presentation by Hutton Wilkinson and Flynn Kuhnert, authors of the book A Walk to Elsie’s. Elsie de Wolfe—actress, writer, and New York and Paris ­socialite—was the most famous interior designer of the ­early twentieth century. Her friend, architect Stanford White, helped her secure her first major commission: the interior of the Colony Club, New York’s first social club for women. De Wolfe’s success there, her extraordinary talent, and her social connections brought important commissions to her throughout her career. De Wolfe’s clients were among the rich and famous of the day, including Amy Vanderbilt, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and Henry Clay and Adelaide Frick. She despised all things Victorian, and her fresh feminine style with a touch of eighteenth-century French elegance secured her place in interior design forever. De Wolfe’s love of historic properties led her to purchase and restore the Villa Trianon in Versailles, France, which she retained throughout her design career and where she died in 1950. Thursday, July 14 • 11:30 a.m. Great Harbor Yacht Club $125 (a portion is tax-deductible) By Reservation Only A limited number of books will be available for purchase. For reservations and information, call the NPT office at 508-228-1387 43

The Main Event 11th Annual August F�te Main street A u g us t 11 , 2016

A highlight of the evening will be the opportunity to view the Richard Gardner II House, which was built c. 1690. This iconic landmark, with its articulated chimney and restored diamond-paned windows, originally stood about 500 feet to the west, and in the late nineteenth century it served as a carriage house before being moved and restored in 1927 by the noted architect Alfred Shurrocks for Gladys Wood. Photo by Greg Hinson

The Main Event

NPT’s Annual August Fête

Thursday, August 11, 2016 6:00 in the evening

Join us for NPT’s August Fête, one of the summer’s most ­memorable evenings, because it is more than a party—it is a celebration of Nantucket’s architecture and neighborhoods. Tour historic houses on upper Main Street from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. and then join the reception in the garden at the historic Richard Gardner II House. Enjoy food by Nantucket Catering Company and Spanky’s Raw Bar, music by the Chuck Colley Band, the Caricature Guy, and a silent auction. LEADERSHIP LEVELS:

Benefactor: $2500 (includes 4 event tickets) Patron: $1000 (includes 2 event tickets) Contributor: $500 (includes 2 tickets)

General Admission $185

For tickets and information, please call the NPT office at 508-228-1387, or visit our Web site at The Nantucket Preservation Trust is most grateful to Brown Brothers Harriman, our main corporate ­underwriter, and our sponsors and Fête leaders. Reserve your space today. 45


For 25 years, we have promoted Nantucket and her businesses to the world, from right here on island.


Preservation tools

Photo by Isabelle Hay

NPT has several preservation programs to assist you in the stewardship of your historic house.

Nantucket’s Answer to the Cape Cod House


ne of the most prolific house types of the Golden Age on ­Nantucket is the 1 ½ story house—an island mainstay. ­Wander around the Old Historic District and you will ­eventually come across one of these structures. They are not “­fancy” houses, but were utilitarian and o­ riginally sported few decorative ­features.They were built for ­artisans, mariners, and other middle-class families who flocked to Nantucket’s shores in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries during the whaling heyday. This form has been called Nantucket’s version of the historic Cape Cod House—the latter abundant throughout New England during the era, but not on-island. The Nantucket version, however, like the mainland form, often reflected the style of the period and the ­owner’s 49

social position. The houses are simple, but some are dressed up with clapboard fronts and classically inspired doorways with Federal or Greek Revival ­details. In his book The Architecture of Historic Nantucket, Clay L­ancaster ­briefly discussed the earliest forms of this house type. There are over 130 e­xamples remaining—nearly the same number of the ­Typical ­Nantucket House, which has been so closely identified with ­Nantucket’s ­architectural heritage. The earliest examples, as Lancaster notes, were built as small lean-to houses. Later examples have rear ells that were likely constructed simultaneously with the main block. The vast majority were put up quickly during the peak whaling years just after the War of 1812 and into the 1820s, ’30s, and ’40s. These smaller houses are more often than not double pile in plan (two rooms deep), and usually three or four bays wide (the number of door and window openings across the façade), with a ridge chimney and a gable roof. The most common examples have plans with side halls that have straight-run staircases, back-to-back parlors with fireplaces in the main block, and a kitchen ell that forms an L-shaped footprint. Many of the houses were built with just a touch of Greek ­Revival ­detailing, such as corner blocks with bull’s eyes in door and w ­ indow trim in the main rooms and hallway, and simple, classically p­ roportioned mantels. The upper floors typically hold two small chambers above the main blocks. Originally, they had second-floor windows only in the gable ends, but today they often employ dormers (­dormers on-­island were rare until the late nineteenth century). L­ ater in the n­ ineteenth century, these Nantucket “yeoman houses” were ­often enlarged with second-floor ell rooms and additions. ­ Explore these Nantucket “capes” for yourself on your next walk around town. npt 50

Envision nantucket Once the whaling capital of the world, Nantucket is ­ becoming known for the use of c­ utting-edge technology to preserve ­ historic p­laces. In 2013, ­ the ­Nantucket ­Preservation Trust and the University of ­Florida’s ­Preservation Institute: Nantucket entered into a ­ partnership to ­ document the island’s historic buildings and places using 3D i­maging, including laser ­scanning and photogrammetry. This unique ­partnership has been supported in part through the generosity of the Osceola ­Foundation and the Nantucket Community Preservation ­Committee. Laser scanning and photogrammetry quickly provide highly a­ ccurate digital models. Numerous products can be generated from these models, including orthographic images (scalable, color photographs), drawings, and video animations, among other records needed to ­conserve, manage, and interpret historic structures and sites. To date, the program has documented urban environments such as ­lower Main Street and historic ’Sconset and major landmarks and ­historic residences such as the Unitarian Church, Maria Mitchell ­Association properties, and the Hadwen and Macy-Christian h­ ouses. Eight private homes have been digitally recorded in an effort to ­mitigate the potential loss of their historic interiors. This program caught the attention of the National Park Service, and for the past two years the National Center for Preservation ­Technology 51


and Training has been collaborating with the University of Florida to offer workshops on 3D imaging for heritage. Experts from the ­Historic American Buildings Survey, Bureau of Land Management, and Lund University of Sweden have served as instructors. Practicing professionals and students from across the country have traveled to Nantucket to receive training. The 2016 workshops are scheduled for July 13 through August 5. For more information about the program or to have your ­historic property documented, visit the University of ­Florida College of ­Design, Construction, and Planning website at:­historicpreservation/envision-­heritage/or c­ontact Marty Hylton, D ­ irector of Preservation Institute: N ­ antucket at or 352-219-4122.

3D image of the Hadwen House on Main Street (above) and Gull Island Lane (below)


Introducing NPT’s Resource Guide


he NPT has developed a Resource Guide to assist p­ roperty ­owners in their preservation efforts. The Guide is available online and will be updated ­periodically.

Over the years, NPT has struggled to determine how best to reach those starting preservation projects to assist them in making informed decisions. The Guide is one way to help. It builds on NPT’s archive of preservation information, and we hope it will provide property owners with simple guidelines to follow when hiring an effective team of professionals and planning the details that will also make it a practical dwelling for the family. The Guide offers specific information about issues encountered in most home restorations on island— window, brick, and plaster repair—as well as dealing with common problems encountered in restoration work such as installing insulation and repairing rot. The purpose of the Guide is to inform and educate homeowners about the process of a house restoration rather than a manual that trains one to perform the actual work. As part of the any restoration project on Nantucket, we hope you will call on us to answer questions and provide guidance. We encourage you to search the Guide and contact us for a free old house consultation—whether you are planning a ­restoration project or just want to learn more about your old house. To view the new Resource Guide, visit our Web site at:


Your Source for Antique Prints, Maps, Photographs and Watercolors

Hollie Powers Holt Fine Art • 610-246-9562

D E S I G N A S S O C I AT E S I N C CAMBRIDGE 617.661.9082



NANTUCKET 508.228.4342

mark your old house

One of the first steps you should take to learning about your old house and before you begin a renovation project is to undertake historic research. Research is the key to solving and completing any project and can help you understand how your building evolved. Every year, NPT completes research for property owners to unlock the past.We often learn who built the house, the first owner’s occupation, and the date of construction. This information can be used to mark a house and to provide a bit of ­history to the passerby. Two hundred NPT house markers now grace island ­buildings—from the early saltbox houses to ’Sconset cottages. A wealth of information has been gained over the years from this research. Online you will find material on over fifty of our house markers. Eventually we will post information on each house. In the meantime, we would like to share with you the houses marked since last season. 24 Sunset Hill Lane: Judith Macy, Quaker Leader, c. 1746 26 Union Street: Elihu Russell, Mariner, c. 1787 11 N. Water Street: Philander Fisher, Shipwright, c. 1847 32 Pine Street: John B. Nicholson, Housewright, c. 1840 23 Milk Street: Timothy Folger, Mariner, c. 1794 9 Orange Street: Peleg Coggeshall, Cooper, c. 1774 144 Main Street: William Gayer Coffin, Mariner, c. 1822 3 Winter Street: Benjamin Swift Coffin, c. 1892 58 Fair Street: Eben Soule & Daniel C. Pease for Elijah Luce, Mariner, 1833 2 West Dover Street: Mid-late 18th century, moved here by Reuben Meader and Frank Swain, c. 1834 53 Centre Street: David N. Edwards, Whaling Captain, c. 1842 26 N. Water Street: John Elkins, Merchant, first recorded owner, c. 1783 57

Historic location—Modern cuisine Chanticleer Restaurant & Gardens

Surfing Hydrangea Nursery exceptional plants• personal service preserving Nantucket Gardens year after year

508-228-6828 • 91 Somerset Road 58

NPT’s historian Christine Harding’s brief history of 23 Milk Street provides an example of the information you can discover when undertaking historic research. We thought we should share a summary of the findings.

A Brief History 23 Milk Street


eed records indicate that 23 Milk Street was part of a large tract of land held by the Hussey family in the eighteenth ­century. Sylvanus Hussey (1682–1767), who was among the most prosperous whaling merchants of the eighteenth century, owned the property as part of his vast real estate holdings. His thirteenth child, Joseph Hussey (1740–99), a merchant “of Boston,” ­inherited this land, and in 1794 sold a portion of it—described as “a Small Tract or piece of Land Called House Lott Land . . .containing about ­Thirty-four Rods . . . .”—to Timothy Folger of Sherborn, for twelve pounds. Timothy Folger (b.1759) was a mariner who married Hepsabeth Chadwick (b. 1762) on July 16, 1785. Three of their four children were born in the 1780s, but the construction of the house on their new lot must have been a high priority with the birth of their youngest daughter, Lydia, in 1793. The Folgers’ occupancy, however, was short-lived. They embarked on a new life in 1812—moving to Ohio that year. The family’s relocation was part of an exodus sparked by the War of 1812, which caused extreme hardship on the island.


23 Milk Street, circa 1960s

As a mariner, Timothy’s livelihood would have been severely impeded by the British blockade, and he likely turned to farming on the Ohio frontier. In 1813, the Nantucket house was sold by Timothy’s attorney to Reuben Swain, also a mariner, for a thousand dollars. Little is known about Reuben Swain (1787–1859) and his wife, Mary Hussey Swain (1786 – 1840) who lived in the house until 1817. Eventually, they would have four children, but for the time they lived in the Milk Street house, they had one son, Charles (b. 1813). They sold their home in 1817 to Micajah Swain (1779–1867), master of the old ship Maria, who appears to have purchased the house following a successful whaling voyage. Micajah Swain and his family retained 60

the property for the next sixty-six years. Micajah first married Mary Bunker, with whom he had two children—Phebe (1805–77) and ­Edward C. (1808–58). Mary died in 1810 and Micajah married ­Priscilla Barrett (1784–1856), with whom he had a child they named Mary, born in 1815, and a fourth child, Margaret (1818–89). In 1864, Micajah sold the property to his daughter-in-law, Frances B. (née ­Fisher) Swain (1815–73), and he continued to reside at the house u­ ntil his death in 1867. Frances B. Swain, known as Fanny, married Micajah’s son Edward C. Swain, a boat steerer, in 1831. Six years after he died unexpectedly in 1858, Fanny gained title to the house and kept it until 1868, when she sold it to her son-in-law, Thomas M. Bearse of Nantucket, with the right to “the exclusive use for herself of the chambers of said house so long as she lives . . . .” Thomas M. Bearse (b. 1833), a master mariner, and his wife, Mary Frances Swain (b. 1834), appeared to have honored Fanny’s ­wishes, ­retaining the house until the year she died, before selling to Dr. F­ ranklin A. Ellis. Franklin A. Ellis (1836–84), a physician of q­ uestionable reputation and, with ­ Portrait of Mary Frances Swain Bearse, circa 1860 61

partner Charles H. ­Robinson a land d­ eveloper of Sunset Heights in Siasconset, had come to N ­ antucket in 1860, when he was known as Augustus E. Franklin. In 1871, he changed his name to Dr. Franklin A. Ellis, claiming that he had “resumed his family name. . . .” In fact, it was to his business partner, Robinson, that Ellis sold 23 Milk Street in April 1874, six months later, for two hundred dollars; ­Robinson then sold it two months later to Ann Gibbs, wife of ­Stephen S. Gibbs, doubling his money. The Gibbs family retained possession into the mid-twentieth century. It later came into possession of Kenneth Duprey, Marshall H. Sheldon, and John J. Bishop, who completed a major restoration. Ken Duprey, who is best known as the author of Old Houses on Nantucket, retained the house until his death in 1999. npt

Your link to Historic or Contemporary Nantucket Properties Barbara Ann Joyce Broker Sales & Rentals 508-228-2266 x122 508-221-8788 cell


House Histories NANTUCKET

A Special Program Offered by

Nantucket Preservation Trust Every historic Nantucket house has a story. Do you know yours? Unlock the history of your home with a Nantucket Preservation Trust House History. We offer three levels of house histories—our brief history, which provides basic deed research and a short summary—or our house genealogy and comprehensive hardcover books that are thoroughly researched, clearly written, and beautifully illustrated to provide a detailed picture of your house through time. For more information, visit our Web site: or contact us at 55 Main Street, P.O. Box 158, Nantucket, MA 02554 508-228-1387

Preserving a Historic neigHborHood


architectural walking tours NPT’s architectural walking tours provide an opportunity to learn about the island’s unique history, remarkable architectural heritage, and the island’s important preservation role. Call the NPT office at 508-228-1387 or access our Web site at ­ for a schedule and details. Group tours may be arranged by ­appointment throughout the year.

’Sconset Tour

A visit to Nantucket is not complete without a tour of this ancient ­fishing ­village at the island’s east end and a look at its e­ volution by the 1870s as an n­ineteenth c­entury ­resort for ­Nantucketers and for the ­nation. The tour is offered in association with the ’Sconset Trust on the second and fourth Fridays of each month at 4:00 p.m. (July–early September). Meet at the ’Sconset Trust office in the village at 1 New Street. Tours are $10 per person.     :   &  

A Walk Down Main Street

A microcosm of the island’s history and architecture of the eighteenth and the houses and their histories nineteenth centuries is revealed during this walk from the commercial center to the Civil War Monument. The tour is offered to groups by appointment only, $250 charge for up to ten people. A self-guided tour highlighting the Main Street book is available for $10 at the NPT office or by downloading the Locacious app (free). A Walk Down Main Street

A Nantucket Preservation Trust Publication


Are you inspired by old buildings? Want to expand your career in the construction field?

Build on the Past  Train for the Future

Consider learning or expanding your knowledge of traditional building techniques. These much sought-after crafts can provide you with skills to restore Nantucket’s historic architecture. Through its Scholarship Program, NPT is dedicated to providing full-time study and workshops for island residents. Timber framing, joinery, plastering, masonry, and more... For further information, contact: Nantucket Preservation Trust 55 Main Street • P.O. Box 158 Nantucket, MA 02554 T: 508-228-1387

NPT Architectural Preservation Fund The goal of the NPT Architectural Preservation Fund is to encourage ­community-wide efforts to protect Nantucket’s historic architecture.The fund brings recognition to key projects, emphasizes the importance of proper ­preservation work, and encourages community support. Mary Helen and Michael Fabacher Scholarship

The Mary Helen and Michael Fabacher Scholarship was established by the NPT (with generous support from the Fabachers) to offer Nantucketers the opportunity to further their building skills through a scholarship to the ­preservation-carpentry program at the North Bennet Street School in ­Boston or other similar institution. Our goal in establishing this ­scholarship is to provide ­educational opportunities to encourage and promote t­ raditional building methods ­essential for the preservation of Nantucket’s historic architecture.

Photo by Dirck Van Lieu

Priority for a scholarship is provided to the Nantucket High School graduate looking to enter the construction field with the intention of returning to the island to practice traditional building skills. In addition to the scholarship’s


main goal, the program promotes understanding of traditional building methods by sponsoring field trips to the North Bennet Street School for middle- and high-school students, coordinating on-island demonstration projects for all age groups, and assisting the island building trades by o­ ffering support for short courses for learning traditional building methods. Help us complete our scholarship endowment fund campaign by donating today. For more information about the scholarship program or to donate, call Michael May, NPT’s executive director, at 508-228-1387.


Clarissa Porter (1939–2012), a former NPT board member, was a tireless and passionate advocate for preservation and had a lifelong love of N ­ antucket and its historic architecture. She served as a member, since its inception, of the NPT Easement Committee, and her diligent work led directly to ­preservation easements on several properties and raised awareness of NPT and its mission. Clarissa’s summer home at 5 Quince Street became the first property on the island to have its interior features protected by a preservation ­restriction. Because of Clarissa’s generosity and passion for historic Nantucket, the easement program is named in her honor. Today, NPT has nine interior easements, thanks to Clarissa’s work and ­dedication to protecting the island’s architectural heritage. Please consider a donation to the fund, to be used for easement protection and assistance. For more information, visit our Web site or call the NPT office.


Preservation easements Preservation easements, called preservation restrictions in ­Massachusetts, are designed to protect the architectural i­ntegrity of a property for future generations. Easements can protect both the ­exterior and interior of a historic property, and they are tailored to the specific building and the wishes of the property owner. NPT has ­easements on eighteen properties on island, with several in process. For more information about ­preservation easements, call the NPT office or visit us online at:

NPT EASEMENT PROPERTIES First Congregational Church and Old North Vestry 62 Centre Street

Rescom Palmer House 9 New Mill Street

Quaker Meeting House 7 Fair Street

Grafton Gardner House 8 Pine Street

Fire Hose Cart House 8 Gardner Street

Nathaniel Hussey House 5 Quince Street Captain Peleg Bunker House 4 Traders Lane

Greater Light 8 Howard Street The Nantucket Atheneum 1 India Street

John B. Nicholson House 55 Union Street (pending)

Hospital Thrift Shop 17 India Street (pending)

Maria Mitchell Birthplace 1 Vestal Street Maria Mitchell Library Vestal Street

Jabez Bunker/Prince Gardner House 85 Main Street

American Legion 21 Washington Street (pending)

Captain Thaddeus Coffin House 89 Main Street

Admiral Sir Isaac Coffin Lancasterian School 4 Winter Street

Hadwen-Wright House 94 Main Street

Boston-Higginbotham House 27 York Street

Thomas Starbuck House 11 Milk Street 1800 House 4 Mill Street 69

Photo by Isabelle Hay


Become a Member of the NPT The Nantucket Preservation Trust is a nonprofit, membership-­ supported ­organization formed in 1997 whose members ­are dedicated to the p­ reservation of the island’s historic architecture.

Membership Form Name: ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ Email:____________________________________________________________________________________________________ Address:_________________________________________ Summer Address:___________________________________



State, Zip________________________________________ Dates at Summer Address: __________________________ Tel: (

)____________________________________ Local Tel: (


□ I want to learn about NPT volunteer opportunities.


Leadership level members receive i­nvitations to special donor events. _____$5,000




other membership _____$250



_____$25 Student Membership (valid with Student ID)

_____ Enclosed is a check made payable to the NANTUCKET PRESERVATION TRUST. ______ Charge my Visa/MC/Amex #___________________________________________________Exp_______ in the amount of $_____________________Name on Card_________________________________________ ______ My employer will match this gift. Please enclose gift form.

Your contribution is tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

Nantucket Preservation Trust P.O. Box 158 • Nantucket, MA • 02554 508-228-1387 71

NIR-JCH Ramblings ad:Layout 1 2/19/14 3:10 PM Page 1

Nantucket Island Resorts salutes the Nantucket Preservation Trust in their efforts to preserve the island’s treasures for generations to come.

Restoration of the ’Sconset Post Office Building 2007 NPT Award

Bernie Coffin ~ Serving ’Sconset in the same location for over 45 years with Preservation and Professional service. Sales and Vacation Rentals • Cell: 508-560-2917 • Office: 508-257-6335 Post Office Square in ’Sconset Village • 72

Coming soon . . .

Nantucket Preservation Symposium Architecture • Interiors • Historic Landscapes Tuesday, June 6 – Thursday, June 8, 2017

Photo by Gary Langley

Join us for behind-the-scenes tours, lectures, and conversations as leading experts explore Nantucket’s Golden Age.

Sponsored in part by the Community Foundation for Nantucket’s reMain Nantucket Fund

SCRUB OAK Unusual Cards Unique Jewelry and Gifts for the Home Scrub Oak supports the important work of the Nantucket Preservation Trust

tel: 508.228.2458 email:


AckFresh ACKtive Life Annye’s Whole Foods Artists Association of Nantucket Barbara Ann Joyce, Great Point Properties Bartlett’s Farm Betsy Dillard, basket maker Betsy Holden, Compass Rose Real Estate Bill Fisher Tackle Black Eyed Susan’s Brian Pfieffer Brown Brothers Harriman Building Preservation Associates Cape Cod Five Carol Coffin Cary & Yari Wolinsky, Trillium Studios Chris Bonelli Chris O’Reilly Congdon & Coleman Real Estate Congregation Shirat Ha Yam Core Design Associates Inc. Dirck Van Lieu Dreamland Theater Dutra Designs Emeritus Development LLC Epernay Wine & Spirits Espresso to Go Ezia Athletic Club First Congregational Church Fishing Nantucket Flock Go Figure Nantucket Graced by Grit Greg Hinson, Nantucket Stock Handlebar Café Hannah Blount Jewelry Heirloom Meals Hollie Powers Holt Fine Art Home Bazaar Inc. Hyline Cruises Jascin Finger Jason Bashaw Kathleen Hay Designs Kevin Korn Photography Killen Real Estate, Inc. Kris Kinsley Hancock Photography Linda Loring Nature Foundation Maria Mitchell Association Marine Home Center Mark Hubbard, Architectural Renderings Matthew Anderson Megan Anderson Art Melanie Gowen Design Mitchell’s Book Corner Murray’s Toggery Museum of African American History Nantucket Bracelets Nantucket Island Resorts Nantucket Antiques Depot Nantucket Atheneum Nantucket blACKbook, Holly Finigan


Nantucket Bookworks Nantucket Coffee Roasters Nantucket Community Sailing Nantucket Culinary Center Nantucket Fire Department, Tom Holden Nantucket Fish Stix Nantucket Flyboard Nantucket Frameworks Nantucket Historical Association Nantucket House Antiques Nantucket Inns Nantucket Island Chamber of Commerce Nantucket Island School of Design and the Arts Nantucket Lightshop Nantucket Pharmacy Nantucket Sound Nantucket Toy Company Nantucket Walkabout Nobby Shop Norton Preservation Trust Petticoat Row Bakery Preservation Institute Nantucket Raven’s Walk Rick & Laura Brown, HandsHouse Studios Sayle’s Seafood Sconset Trust Scrub Oak Seastreak Ferries Seaweaver Textiles Shari’s Place Shearwater Excursions Sherry LeFevre Siasconset Beach Preservation Fund SKAR designs Sparrow Design Stacey Perry Stop & Shop Supta Yoga Nantucket Surfing Hydrangea Susan Boardman Susan Zises Green, Inc. Sustainable Nantucket T.H. Caretaking The Antiques Council The Bean The Brass Lantern Inn The Carlisle House Inn The Chanticleer The Community Foundation for Nantucket’s reMain Nantucket Fund The Haul Over The Juice Bar The Sunken Ship The Tile Room The Water Closet Trudy Dujardin Designs Trustees of Reservations Verdura Jewelry Walter’s Deli Weatherly Design, LLC Wendy Rouillard Wicked Island Bakery

Photo by Isabelle Hay

NPT would like to thank the following individuals, b­ usinesses, and o­ rganizations that have contributed to our programs and events over the past year.

WITH SPECIAL THANKS TO THOSE MEMBERS AND FRIENDS WHO SUPPORTED THIS YEAR’S MEMBERSHIP APPEAL AND PROGRAMS AT ­LEADERSHIP LEVELS (as of May 31, 2016) Carrie and Leigh Abramson Elizabeth and Lee Ainslie Mr. and Mrs. Edgar D. Ancona Dr. Joseph and Mrs. Kathy Arvay Mrs. Carol Atkinson Janet and Sam Bailey Mary-Randolph Ballinger Beverly and David Barlow Ritchie and Westray Battle The Bauer Family Ken and Gussie Beaugrand Mr. and Mrs. Gary Beller Susan Blair and David Shukis Mrs. Robert H. Bolling Jr. Mr. and Mrs. Edward Bousa Mr. William F. Brandt Jr. Mr. and Mrs. John F. Breglio Ms. Lucy Eastwood Broadus Mary and David Brown Bill and Laura Buck Mr. and Mrs. Robert C. Butler Mr. and Mrs. David Callahan Chris and Gail Camalier Ms. Kathleen Cannon and Mr. Brian Kelly Ms. Martha A. Carr Kathy and David Cheek Mr. and Mrs. Richard A. Chesley Ms. Carol March Emerson Cross Vincent and Nicolys D’Agostino Mr. and Mrs. Edward L. Daisey Mr. Christopher L. Dallmus Philip & Helen Didriksen Mr. Richard Doyle and Ms. Kate O’Kelly Dr. and Mrs.William H. Druckemiller Caroline and Doug Ellis Mr. and Mrs. Michael Elzay

Mr. and Mrs. Michael Ericksen Mary Helen and Michael Fabacher Mr. and Mrs. John Falk Barbara J. Fife Mark and Lynn Filipski Mrs. Anne C. Foley Nancy and Al Forster Mr. and Mrs. Gregory Fowlkes Mr. and Mrs. Robert A. Fox Sam and Matt Fremont-Smith Mr. and Mrs. Gregory T. Garland Tom and Elisabeth Giovine Susan Zises Green Kim and Jeff Greenberg Susan and Edward Greenberg Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin H. Griswold IV Ray and Betsy Grubbs Linda and Joe Hale Charles and Kaaren Hale Mr. and Mrs. Dudley M. Harde Mr. and Mrs. Donald C. Harris Ms. Cassandra H. Henderson Ann and Peter Holmes Mr. S. Roger Horchow Douglas Horst, M.D. and Maureen Phillips Barbara and Amos Hostetter Dr. Ann and Mr. Charles Johnson Ms. Barbara Jones The Judy Family Foundation Diane and Art Kelly Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Keneally Ken and Carol Kinsley Mr. Daniel Korengold and Ms. Martha Dippell Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Larsen Mr. and Mrs. Edward P. Lawrence Ron Levy and Susan Nestor Levy Ms. Joanna Lewis 76

Mrs. Kathryn Salmanowitz Ruth and John Sayer Dorinda Dodge Schreiber Mr. Gerald Schwartz Nancy and Dick Scott Don and Mary Shockey Reverend Georgia A. Snell Mrs. Jane F. Soderberg Mr. and Mrs. William Spears Mr. and Mrs. David Joel Spitler Laura and Greg Spivy Peter C. Steingraber Mr. and Mrs. Jordan M. Stone Sheila and Bill Sullivan Marie and John Sussek Ms. Carolyn Thayer Mr. and Mrs. James O. Treyz Jane and Wat Tyler Mr. and Mrs. Donald W. Van Dyke II Ms. Lynda Vickers-Smith Mrs. Ella Wall Prichard Pam Waller Suellen Ward and John Copenhaver Mr. and Mrs. David Weaver Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Webb III Mrs. Cynthia Webber Eileen Shields-West and Robin West Mr. and Mrs. F. Helmut Weymar Henry K. Willard II Mary and David Wolff William and Ellen Wraith Mr. and Mrs. Robert C. Wright

Photo by Isabelle Hay

Sue and Byron Lingeman Mr. and Mrs. Richard W. Lowry Mr. and Mrs. John Macleod Mr. and Mrs. Mark Maisto Mr. and Mrs. Seymour G. Mandell Mr. and Mrs. G. Kelly Martin Mr. and Mrs. Edward J. McCarthy Mr. and Mrs. Charles H. McGill III Linda and Ben McGrath Mr. and Mrs. Allan McKelvie Mr. and Mrs. Martin McKerrow Barbara Sachnoff Mendlowitz Mr. and Mrs. Richard Menschel Michael Kovner and Jean Doyen de Montaillou Mr. and Mrs. Richard Morgan Winnie and Chris Mortenson Ann and Craig Muhlhauser Mr. Maxwell Mundy and Rev. J. Carr Holland, lll Sharon and David Northrup Ms. Anne Olsen Sally and Michael Orr Mr. and Mrs. Harry M. Ostrander Michael & Nancy Peacock Liz and Jeff Peek Kathy and Roger Penske Mr. and Mrs. Dennis W. Perry Mr. Dave Perry-Miller Mr. and Mrs. James W. Pierson Bill Porter Ms. Lisa Quattrocchi Mr. and Mrs. Jeffrey F. Rayport Marcia and Tom Richards Kennedy and Susan Richardson Maria and George Roach Ellen and David Ross Ms. Leigh Royer and Frank Scheuer Mr. Charles Ryan Mrs. Bonnie M. Sacerdote Mrs. Linda Saligman 77


Notes 78

Demolition of a historic building; it can happen on Nantucket. Every year we learn that one or more of Nantucket’s old houses has been scrubbed clean of its interior architectural elements and character, but it is still rare for a historic building to be entirely demolished. The island is fortunate to have a local historic district ordinance established in 1955 that ensures the protection of the exterior of historic buildings, but this process is not foolproof. Take for example the recent demolition of the Easy Street ­Gallery, ­purchased late last year by the Nantucket Islands Land Bank. The building, long neglected and battered by nor’easters, had been ­approved for demolition in 2000 after a long legal challenge, but it was ­never ­removed. After fifteen years, the HDC renewed the demolition ­permit without further study—foregoing the normal application process despite the passage of so much time. Once we heard the Easy Street Gallery was going to be demolished, we decided to investigate, figuring that the building appeared to be contributing to the historic district. With the approval of the Land Bank, which was open to the idea of someone moving the building to another site, we visited the building to assess its condition. On first glance most passers-by would agree that the building was in sad shape, but if you dug a little deeper you could learn more. Although left to deteriorate for many years, the building had “good bones” and was ­surprisingly solid. Yes, it needed painting and shingling, and its windows were broken and rotted, but timber experts found it was structurally sound even though it had been signed off as unsalvageable. Surprisingly, a look inside revealed more: it contained eighteenth-century elements such as paneled walls, doors, old hardware and timber, all obviously repurposed from earlier structures in the true ­Nantucket fashion. The central section of the building was of mid-­nineteenthcentury vintage and built of timber-frame construction with ­hand-hewn beams. A spacious and once elegant north wing was added about 1923, when the building was relocated to the site. Smaller south 79


additions appeared to have been added in the 1920s, too. The ­evolution of the building was evident in small details: its slender-columned door surrounds, transoms with wooden slats for ventilation, and a sliding doorway with old hardware, all of which were symbols of its use as a seaside bath house and later as an art gallery. Besides its architectural features, the building revealed an ­interesting history. Believed to have been built as a cooper shop, by the mid-1800s the structure was acquired, relocated, and enlarged by Charles E. Hayden for use as a heated saltwater bathhouse at what he called the Clean Shore Bathing Rooms. Historic photographs in the ­collection of the NHA show Hayden’s bathhouse on the harbor near South Beach Street (just north of the present-day Nantucket Yacht Club). Hayden’s establishment remained a popular destination for the early tourist trade, but it outlived this use and by 1923 the building was purchased by Florence Lang, who relocated it to the Easy Street ­basin. A ­summer resident and nationally renowned art patron, Lang transformed the building into the Easy Street Gallery (predecessor of the Artists Association), which opened its doors in 1924. The gallery was part of a larger effort by Lang to acquire, transform, and save ­Nantucket’s waterfront—paving the way for other preservationists who followed later in the century, including Walter Beinecke. Lang bought up many early shanties and other structures, converting them into housing and studios that she provided to artists at reasonable rents. The Easy Street Gallery was the hub of this artist community and was an important space for artists to gather, exhibit, and sell their work. All major island artists of the early twentieth century, including Frank Swift Chase, Anne Congdon, and Tony Sarg, to name only a few, as well as minor artists yet to be discovered, benefited from the Easy Street Gallery. Lang remained the driving force of the art colony and its patron until her untimely death in 1943. With the loss of its patron, the Easy Street Gallery closed its doors. For a time, the ­g allery was ­c onverted into a residence and more recently used for c­ ommercial purposes. 81

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There is no question that the building was an important landmark—a fact that was reinforced by Secretary Ken Salazar in 2012, then head of the U. S. Department of the Interior, who approved the island’s National Historic Landmark status, which specifically highlighted the tourist industry and artist community and associated buildings. Still, the demolition occurred. Why this building was forgotten and swept away still remains unclear to many. The Land Bank, which purchased the property with the demolition permit in hand, provided a small window of hope by allowing the removal of the building to another location. But from the start we realized there were major hurdles for anyone willing to take on the project. The building’s condition ­required attention, major restoration would be needed . . . and the Land Bank wanted the building to be moved from the site quickly. The challenges of finding a vacant lot, raising the funds to move and r­ estore the building, and engaging a house mover to relocate the building within a month or two proved to be insurmountable. In most cases, there would have been time during the demolition ­review process to develop community support, gather funding, and determine options for saving the building. The community did not have that opportunity in this case. The process itself sealed the fate of this historic landmark. Even on Nantucket. . . . npt NPT will be developing a case study to learn more from the demolition and what may have been done to save the building.


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2016 Ramblings Issue