Nantucket Preservation Trust’s August Fête is one of the summer’s most memorable evenings. This annual celebration of the island’s historic architecture and neighborhoods always sells out with more than 300 guests.
Imagine an elevated block party with Nantucket’s best caterers, libations, and raw bar, coupled with a chance to peek inside some of the island’s most unique historic homes. This year’s Broadway Revival Fête will take place in ’Sconset and honor the village’s historic actors’ colony and the golden age of the silent screen.
Winter on Nantucket means punishing winds, high tides, and storm surges. Many of the low-lying areas of Nantucket town experience flooding during storm events. What do these flooding events mean for our historic structures? What can we do today, and how can we plan for the future?
In the months leading up to the symposium, we’ll feature different topics related to sea level rise and historic preservation. Since we’re in the middle of winter and severe weather concerns are on the mind, we thought we’d kick off this series by looking at flooding on Nantucket throughout history.
We combed through the archives of the Inquirer and Mirror to see how flooding has affected Nantucket since the 1890s. Read on to learn more…
February: “On the petition of the Nantucket Railroad for leave to move its track back 1,000 feet from the beach, to better protect it from damage by ocean storms, the committee on railroads were addressed by SK Hamilton, Esq. for the Railroad Co. There was no objection to the prayers of the petitioners, and a bill will be reported.”
October: “The harbor was lashed into seething foam, and at flood tide in the afternoon the waves were breaking savagely across the wharves. Small boats in the docks and vessels moored at the piers tugged and strained at heir fastenings, and in one or two instances prompt work was necessary to save some of the small craft from damage. Many ladies braved the blast to view the wild turmoil of the waters. Brant Point was flooded, and was passable to pedestrians only as far down as the corner of Easton and Beach streets, the street below being completely submerged…”
December: “The partiallycomplete bulkhead, belonging to Captain John Killen, connecting the Straight Wharf with Old North Wharf, was torn up and drive in alongside the wharf.”
December: “To particularize in detail the damage wrought by the storm would be impossible…”
“Therailroad bed across the Steamboat dock and on the marsh, likewise the car house on South Beach, are damaged by the waves.”
“All along the southern and eastern seaboard a tremendous surf rolled in, one of the highest ever known. It broke into all the ponds along the shore and swept across the beach at Wauwinet and into the inner harbor, surrounding at times and threatening to engulf the chapel and several summer cottages.”
January: “…it experienced a phenomenal high tide, which submerged the wharves, flooded the streets and property near the water front, and made things somewhat lively for a while.”
“The tide rose to a height not known for many years, and shortly before noon on Sunday the sight witnessed along the water front called many of our citizens from their homes to view the unusual conditions.”
“Brant Point was completely submerged.”
“The view of the point, covered with water all the way from the cliff beach bath-houses to the inner shore of the harbor, was a sight that has not been witnessed before for many years.”
February: “A large crowd of skaters were in evidence Sunday afternoon, on the meadows atBrant Point, which had been flooded with water since the high tide of the 13th [of January] and were frozen over by the cold snap of Friday and Saturday.”
September: “The Brant Point meadows were flooded; the bathing beach road was transformed into a river; residents had to wade in order to reach their cottage; all of the low sections were under water.”
“But the memory of man is fickle, for it happened that August in the year 1889 knocked this year’s record all to smithereens, for that month showed a total of 11.05 inches, 5.00 inches of which fell in twenty-four hours. If you keep a diary, just look back to August 1889, and you will see that August in that summer was far ahead of this one in rainfall.”
August: “A number of cars were stalled in the water which flooded Brant Point Road in places; and all over town car owners were having trouble in getting their machines to percolate properly, as the water found its way under the hoods and caused trouble regardless of the make.”
Next week, we’ll look at 1930 to the present. Do you have memories of flooding on Brant Point or other areas of town? Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know if we can use your recollections for our blog and archives.
We’re thrilled to partner with the Nantucket Historical Association to present a lecture on The Life and Work of Addison Mizner with author Richard René Silvin. Join us Thursday, August 23 at 6:00 PM at the Nantucket Whaling Museum to learn more about the noted (and elusive) society architect of Palm Beach, Addison Mizner. Tickets available here.
Addison Mizner (1872-1933) spent his early life in Spain and Central America. His father was US minister to Guatemala, and young Mizner was heavily influenced by Spanish culture and heritage. He spent ten years as an apprentice before unleashing his talent on the architecture scene. Mizer’s first major commission was the Everglades Club, one of the world’s most exclusive golf clubs. Mizner went on to design many buildings in the Palm Beach area and was a driving force in the development of the city of Boca Raton.
Richard René Silvin’s fascinating life has taken him all over the world. Born in New York, he grew up attending Swiss boarding schools. He earned a BA from Georgetown University and an MBA from Cornell University, after which he spent 25 years in the investor owned hospital industry. He was the head of the International Division of American Medical International, Inc. which owned and operated hospitals in ten countries.
Silvin survived a late-stage cancer and retired from his role at American Medical International, only to begin an exciting second career as an author. Silvan has published five books, including a memoir about his friendship with the late Duchess of Windsor and a history of Palm Beach as seen through the eyes of Mizner. His latest work is about the SS Normandie, the French Lien’s magnificent 1930’s flagship.
Silvin has lectured widely on hospital administration and comparative international care systems. He is currently the vice-chairman of the Palm Beach Landmarks Preservation Commission.
August is finally here, and with it comes our most-anticipated event of the year, the annual August Fête!
This year’s Fête takes place on Thursday, August 9th from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM and explores the School Street neighborhood. You’ll get a chance to tour four historic homes and enjoy a tented reception on the lawn of the Old Schoolmaster’s House. With refreshments and libations from the Nantucket Catering Company and Spanky’s Raw Bar, entertainment from the Shep Cats, and our thoughtfully curated Sense of Place exhibit and auction, you’ll have a fantastic time celebrating Nantucket’s architectural history.
There’s still time to get your tickets. Give us a call at 508.228.1387 to reserve yours today. New this year is our pre-check in, where we are encouraging guests to stop by the NPT offices on 11 Centre Street Monday-Wednesday this week to pick up your buttons that will let you in to the reception site and all the open houses. Skip the line and spend more time enjoying yourself at the 2018 August Fête.
The festivities continue Friday, August 10th with two events at the Nantucket Summer Antiques Show to sponsor the NPT’s Mary Helen and Michael Fabacher Scholarship.
Shop with award-winning interior designer Susan Zises Green at 9:00 AM and learn how to make the most of your antique show finds. Tickets are very limited and $100 per person. Includes 10:00 AM preview shopping and brunch, as well as admission to the Antiques Show all four days.
At 10:00 AM on Friday, the annual Strawberries & Cream Preview Brunch is a fun way to kick off the Antiques Show weekend and get an early look at all the vendors. Tickets are included with Fête leadership, $40 in advance, or $45 at the door.
Call us at 508.228.1387 to reserve your tickets today for all these exciting events.
In Gil Schafer’s bestselling first book, The Great American House, he uncovered just what makes a house a home. Architecture, landscape, and decoration all work together to create your own oasis. In his second book, A Place to Call Home: Tradition, Style, and Memory and in the New American House, Schafer shows how “traditional and classical principles can blend with a sense of place to create beautifully realized homes in a range of styles, all with the satisfying tensions of fancy and simple, past and present.”
Schafer is known for stunning homes that fit seamlessly on the land they occupy, both in design and scale. A Place to Call Home highlights some of Schafer’s different projects, and the distinct landscapes they occupy. We quickly learn that the character of the landscape informs the style and scale of the house.
Nantucket is a place like no other, where we are acutely aware of the relationship between the past and present as we move through the island. Whether it is the historic buildings of downtown, the wild open spaces of the moors and south shore beaches, or the quaint rose-covered cottages of ‘Sconset, we exist in that very space Schafer writes of—“the satisfying tensions of…past and present.”
We hope you will join us for what is sure to be a fascinating afternoon with award winning architect Gil Schafer III, one of the world’s leading experts on contemporary classical architecture.
Join us on July 19 for our annual Summer Lecture & Luncheon. This year, we’re thrilled to return to the Great Harbor Yacht Club, where sweeping vistas of the island’s harbor are the perfect backdrop to a summer’s day.
Our featured speaker this year will be award-winning architect and author of the new book A Place to Call Home, Gil Schafer. Schafer believes the most successful houses are the ones that celebrate living—houses with timeless charm that are imbued with memory and a distinct sense of place. It’s this dialogue between past and present that enables him to interpret traditional principles for a multiplicity of architectural styles within contemporary ways of living. Join Schafer as he opens the doors to his world of comfortable classicism, sharing some of the firm’s most recent, and exciting, projects from around the country and walking through the inner workings of his distinctive approach—from concrete techniques to the more emotional and intuitive aspects of his process—showing how he brings his projects to life and fills them with soul.
Award-winning architect Gil Schafer III is one of the world’s leading experts on contemporary classical architecture. A member of Architectural Digest’s AD 100 and a winner of Veranda’s “Art of Design Award,” Schafer is a member of the Yale School of Architecture Dean’s Council, a trustee of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, and served as president and then chairman of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art for over a decade. He holds a Masters of Architecture from the Yale School of Architecture and is the author of the bestselling book The Great American House and the newly released A Place to Call Home. Schafer’s work has been featured in numerous national and international publications, including Architectural Digest, Elle Décor, Veranda, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. When he’s not traveling for work, Schafer divides his time between New York City, upstate New York, and Maine.