Thursday, August 22, 2019 | 11:30 am | ‘Sconset Chapel
Join noted architectural and garden historian Paula Henderson for this year’s Summer Lecture: An Embarrassment of Riches: Preservation Across the Pond, focused on historic preservation in England where there are more well-preserved historic buildings than anywhere else in the world.
Drawing on her experiences working as a consultant on some of the most important country houses in England, Paula Henderson’s lecture will explore the challenges of opportunities of preservation in Britain. An independent architectural and garden historian with a Ph.D. from the Courtauld Institute of Art, Paula lectures widely in Britain and in the United States and has published over sixty articles on English houses and their settings. Her book, The Tudor House and Garden: Architecture and Landscape in the 16th and Early 17th Centuries (Yale University Press), won the Berger Prize for the outstanding contribution to the history of British art in 2005.
Each year, Nantucket Preservation Trust’s August Fête takes you inside some of the island’s most historic homes. This year’s Broadway Revival August Fête celebrate’s ‘Sconset’s history as an actor’s colony. With a reception at the ‘Sconset Casino and open houses in the village’s core, the August Fête is a fantastic night to learn more about the island we love and support Nantucket Preservation Trust. Tickets on sale now!
Here, take a peek at the houses that August Fête attendees will get a chance to tour:
Shanunga | 10 Broadway | c. 1680
Local lore has it that Shanunga was built in the 1680s and moved to its site on Broadway from nearby Sesachacha. The fish house’s name derived from the ship Shanunga of Philadelphia, which was lost in 1852 off the south coast of the island. The vessel’s quarterboard and figurehead graced the yard of the cottage for many years. The oldest section of Shanunga is the T-shaped south end. The north end’s tall section probably dates to the late 18th Century and the lean-to along the side lane was most likely added in the 19th Century.
Uriah Swain (1774-1810), who held the property prior to 1800, was one of the island’s most successful whaling masters. Upon Swain’s death in 1810, the cottage came into possession of his daughter, Elizabeth Swain Carey (1778-1862). Elizabeth, known as Betsey, married James Carey, captain of one of the island’s most successful ships, the Rose. Tragically, James died on a voyage to China in 1812, leaving Betsey with two young children. She ran a store and boarding house on lower Main Street, and later operated Shanunga as a shop and public house. After her death, the cottage passed to her daughter, Betsey Carey Baxter (1806-183), whose husband, Captain William Baxter (b 1805) was ’Sconset’s unofficial postmaster. The cottage served as the local post office and remained in the family into the early 20th Century.
The Maples | 14 Broadway | c.1800s
The construction date of The Maples is unknown, but Edward Underhill wrote in the 1880s that it was held by Latham Gardner in 1814. It’s possible that the fish house was built by Gardner (1760-1830), a Nantucket selectman and town clerk who is said to have served with John Paul Jones as a petty officer on the USS Ranger before becoming a whaling master. Local lore suggest that the house was built during the War of 1812, when iron for hardware was rare, since the house is among the few that were originally constructed with wooden hinges and other wooden hardware in lieu of iron.
The 1835 map of the village indicated the owner had the initials “B.C.,” who may be Betsey Carey—owner of Shanunga, the house next door. By 1858, The Maples was owned by David Mitchell (1799-1875) a successful blacksmith with a shop in town along the wharves and extensive real estate on island. For much of the late 19th Century, the cottage was known as the Eliza Mitchell (1808-1896) house, for David’s forth wife and widow. Today, the lane between Shanunga and The Maples still bears the Mitchell name.
One Ocean | 1 Ocean Avenue | 1919
Harry Lange Burrage (1872-1951) president of the Connecticut Cotton Company and banker, purchased the Ocean View Annex property in ’Sconset in 1919, with plans to tear down the old four-story building and put up a house in its place. Burrage married his second wife, the actress Mabel Davis (1886-1965) on October 14, 1919.
One Ocean Avenue was designed by the Boston architect William H. Cox (1879-1948). Cox designed the Chatham Bars Inn, the Cross Trees mansion in Chatham, and housing for workers at the Connecticut Mills Company, where Barrage was president. The work of razing the old Ocean View Annex started in the fall of 1919. Work continued into the summer of 1920, and Harry and Mabel sailed from Boston on their yacht to check on construction.
In November 1923, the Burrage family sold the grand estate to Regan Hughston (1875-1951) and Maribel Hartman Hughston (1875-1958). At the time of her their marriage in 1918, Maribel was known as Ohio’s richest woman. Regan was a vaudeville star, and the couple met in 1911 when Regan was directing a play in Columbus, OH. Regan appeared in three silent films in the 1910s, and he was a member of the George Fawcett stock company in Baltimore in the early 1900s.
The Hughstons employed the Wilson family as domestic workers, though the Wilsons lived in Codfish Park. Clarence F. Wilson (1901-1993) was the Hughston’s private chef. Originally from Bermuda, Clarence came to the US in the early 1920s. He was married to Florence (Flossy) Adlina Deshields, also from Bermuda. They had three daughters, Lois Genevieve, Vivian Louise, and Joan Rita. The Wilson family arrived on Nantucket in May of 1938 where they spent 15 year employed by Regan and Maribel Hughston, both on Nantucket and in New York. Their 50th wedding anniversary was honored by all ’Sconset in 1975, and when Clarence died the flags at the ’Sconset rotary flew at half-staff.
Svargaloka | 5 Elbow Lane | c. 1860s, moved 1871
On August 5, 1871, The Inquirer & Mirror reported that “E.H. Alley has purchased a tract of land at Siasconset near the verge of the bank and has also purchased the house on the Charles C. Folger Farm, which he intends removing to ’Sconset, to make two cottage houses of it.” Svargaloka is the farmhouse that was found on Hawthorne Lane, just west of town, and moved to ’Sconset. Elijah H. Alley (1819-1888) was a clothing retailer from Lynn, Massachusetts, who married Mary Burdick (1820-1888) of Nantucket. They had no children, and in 1888 the property descended to Mary’s sister Susan. It would eventually pass to Susan’s daughter, Eva Channing (1854-1930), who with her mother appear to have been frequent visitors to the cottage during the time the Alley’s lived there. A student of Sanskrit, Eva is credited with naming the cottage Svargaloka, meaning “land of paradise.” Eva made improvements to the house, including the construction of a piazza that once graced the Elbow Lane elevation but was destroyed in a windstorm in 1914.
Siasconset Union Chapel | 18 New Street
In 1882, a group of men formed a corporation under the name of Siasconset Union Chapel and organized a board of trustees. Builder and owner of the Ocean View House, Charles W. Robinson, and Dr. Franklin A. Ellis, both developers of the Sunset Heights area near Pochick Street, offered a choice between two Sunset Heights parcels for the worship center; however, the board decided on a lot on New Street which was closer to the village center and given by trustee Horatio Brooks. The building plans were donated by a Mr. Varney, a Detroit architect, and Robinson was awarded the bid for construction at a cost of $1,680.
Before construction, the name for the Gothic Revival-style chapel was uncertain. For a time, there was talk of calling it “Baxter’s Saints’ Rest” after Captain William Baxter (of 10 Broadway) a pious mariner who adhered to Christian principles though surrounded by temptation and sin. The church was finally named Union Chapel and was completed in 1883.
Siasconset Casino | 10 New Street | 1899
In 1892, $800 was collected to erect a casino building, and Mrs. Emily E. Rice of Detroit agreed to donate a lot on New Street for a “Hall of Amusement” with dedicated indoor and outdoor community space for social, dramatic, and sporting events. The Siasconset Casino Association was formed in 1899. Architect John Collins drafted plans for “a building with an audience room with a floor to be laid with special reference to dancing, a stage, ante-room, dressing, reading, and smoking rooms.” In mid-July 1900, the Casino and two tennis courts opened. In 1915, the Board of Selectman issued a permit to the Casino to show silent movies. Talkies came to the Casino on June 17, 1931, providing islanders entertainment and escape during the Great Depression. The same year, a movie set was built on the grounds of the Casino and several ’Sconset residents were cast in the film The Sinners.
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.