Featured Properties

55 Union Street

Untitled-1Chances are you have driven past 55 Union Street numerous times and may or may not have given it a second glance. The historic building dates back to 1835 and has been in desperate need of a restoration for quite some time. We are so happy to announce its new owners are true preservationists at heart: Michelle Elzay and Pen Austin. Elzay has been an active NPT member for many years and recently joined the NPT board. She is co-owner of Sparrow Design a Branding and Interior Design Company with her husband Matthew Brannon and understands the need for preservation projects,

“I think it is important, as Americans, to acknowledge that even as a very young country we have an architectural legacy worth saving and protecting. I love both Nantucket and old houses I am pleased to be a part of the NPT’s preservation efforts that will aid in preserving both the architectural and therefore social history of our historic buildings.”

She has taken on the latest preservation venture with partner Pen Austin. Austin is an expert craftsman in architectural finishes, plaster and lime. She has a true passion for her work and is committed to proper restoration practices. Austin has worked on many historic Nantucket buildings including: 9 New Mill Street, 60 Cliff Road, 18 India Street, and institutions such as the Maria Mitchell House and the Unitarian Meeting House. We will be documenting the restoration progress from start to finish. The photos below feature the beginning phases and were taken on November, 11th.

Stayed tuned for updates!

4 Mill Street – The 1800 House

The 1800 House circa 1890 (photo courtesy of the Nantucket Historical Association)

The Nantucket Historical Association’s 1800 House located at 4 Mill Street was the 16th property on island permanently protected by a NPT preservation easement. The easement is placed on exterior features and restricts further development of the property.  Historic research indicates the house was constructed between 1801 and 1807 by housewright Richard Lake Coleman, who built the structure according to a traditional floor plan and scale characteristic of New England domestic architecture of the period. In 1807 Coleman sold the house to Jeremiah Lawrence, “hatter” and High Sheriff of the County of Nantucket, who occupied the house with his wife and four children until his death in 1827.  It remained in the Lawrence family until 1859.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARumors say the property is haunted!

4 California Ave


The building located at 4 California Ave. in Madaket is often admired by many for its unique architecture. The building built in 1970 represents one of Nantucket’s modern pieces of architecture. Structures that were built in the years dating up until 1975 recently became recognized as contributing to Nantucket’s historic character. In 2013 the National Historic Landmark designation extended the period of significance to all Nantucket structures built from 1900-1975. The extended recognition date emphasizes the significance of Nantucket’s 19th and 20th century resort industry and island’s national role in the evolution of land conservation and historic preservation – in addition to Nantucket’s whaling era.

374 California Ave can be seen crossing the Madaket bridge


100 Main Street

100 Main Street, c. 1870s

Mark Coffin purchased sixty-five rods of land at his location from Richard Mitchell in 1794, and, with a new dwelling house, sold it back to Mitchell five years later for $3,000. In 1801, Richard Mitchell sold the land and the house to his son Benjamin Mitchell, who sold it to his brother Laban in 1809. When business partners William Hadwen and Nathaniel Barney bought the house property in 1829, it included a dwelling house, candle factory, and outbuildings. Hadwen and Barney had married sisters Eunice and Eliza Starbuck, daughters of Joseph, and they were housemates as well as copartners in the whale-oil business, sharing the premises at 100 Main until 1846, when William and Eunice Hadwen moved into their new home at 96 Main.

Nathaniel and Eliza remained at 100 Main Street until the late 1850s, when they moved to Poughkeepsie, New York, to be near their daughter Sarah. They sold the house at 100 Main Street to their twenty-seven year-old son Joseph S. Barney. After Nathaniel’s death in Poughkeepsie in 1869, Eliza returned to Nantucket where she built the house at 73 Main, purportedly with Joseph’s assistance.8f8708e0

In 1866 the house at 100 Main was once again purchased by a member of the Mitchell family: Joseph Mitchell 2nd (1809-85), whose great-grandfather was the same Benjamin Mitchell who owned the house in the early 1800s. Joseph went to sea as a boy, working his way up through the ranks to become first mate and then master of the Three Brothers, one of Joseph Starbuck’s most successful whaling ships. The house remained in the Mitchell family until 1923.

100 Main, a rather grand home, was constructed next to the Quaker Meeting house at 98 Main; bigger than the typical Nantucket house, this five-bay dwelling would have originally had a chimney on the east side as well as the one remaining on the west.

24 Fair Street

5d560da4A house built by Daniel Coffin was at this site in 1751, when Zephaniah Coffin deeded his interest in it to his “kinswomen,” Daniel’s daughters Elizabeth and Judith, who were ten and twelve years old at the time. Elizabeth married Jonathan Gorham Fitch eleven years later, and in 1830 their children sold the “mansion” house that had belonged to their parents. Whether that early-eighteenth-century house is the same dwelling that was sold in 1830 is not known, but it is likely that the earlier house was modified and added to over the years. Strictly a summer home for most of the twentieth century, the house was not winterized until 1995. This house was featured during the 2009 Summer Kitchen Tour along with other historic homes along Fair Street and is currently for sale. There are many historic Nantucket properties on the market. If you’re interested in purchasing a piece of Nantucket’s history this is a great opportunity!

(roof walk with harbor views)
(roof walk with harbor views)

20 Main Street ‘Sconset

imagehandler“Formerly called comfort but known as Green Chimneys, the cottage at 20 Main, like the other cottages along the street, was built as a seasonal home for a wealthy Nantucketer. Frederick W. Mitchell (1784-1867), a banker and prominent businessman, purchased land along Main Street, ’Sconset, as early as 1826, and built his cottage on a plot of land that at the time must have seemed a little remote from the tightly clustered settlement of fishermen’s cottages along Shell, Center, Broadway, and inspired cottages along the road, since he owned land that extended to 28 Main Street. Mitchell and his wife, Anne, lived at 69 Main Street in town, in one of the earliest brick dwellings on island, today noted for its fine Federal fanlight. That house would become the prototype for other brick houses along Main Street, Nantucket, including those built by the Coffin and Starbuck families.

Gathering at 20 Main Street, circa 1870s
Gathering at 20 Main Street, circa 1870s

Frederick Mitchell sold his ’Sconset cottage in 1855 to another wealthy Main Street, Nantucket, resident – Eunice Hadwen, wide of William Hadwen. The Hadwens lived at 96 Main Street in town, in one of the Two Greeks, imposing temple-like houses noted for their grand, colonnaded porches. Eunice’s deed for the property in ’Sconset is somewhat unusual, noting that her ownership was “free from the interference or control of her husband, the said William Hadwen.” Eunice owner the property until her death in 1864, when it passed to her sister, Eliza Starbuck Barnet – an abolitionist and temperance and woman-suffrage advocate as well as a noted genealogist. Eliza and her husband, Nathaniel, owned one of the old fishing cottages in the heart of the village known as The Corners at 8 Centre Street, from 1832 until 1858. Eliza retained 20 Main until her death in 1889, and the cottage remained in the family until 1927.Eliza’s son, Alanson, took a series of photographs of the cottage in 1904, developing his images he created in the darkroom he created in the ’Sconset cottage.

About 1930, Katherine Buckner hired Frederick P. Hill to add extensions to the dwelling; he incorporated the carriage shed and barn into the renovated house. The charming garden courtyard along McKinley Avenue appears to have been created at this time.”
– From Main Street, ‘Sconset: The Houses and Their Histories

A House Genealogy: 94 Main Street

94 main 2“Every house has a history to tell, including 94 Main Street, one of the grandest of the historic homes on-island. Known affectionately as one of the Two Greeks, this stately house was constructed in the Greek Revival style and completed in 1847. The building of the house must have been an optimistic sign to islanders at a time when the whaling economy was suffering and the Great Fire had just destroyed a large portion of the town.  The house was the last true mansion constructed by a prosperous whale-oil merchant. William Hadwen had built the other Greek house next door for himself and his wife, Eunice Starbuck, a year earlier, and appears to have refined the design to include domed spaces and more elaborate detailing. Local lore has it that the house was a gift for Mrs. Hadwen’s niece, Mary Swain, and George Washington Wright, a Boston merchant who had married Mary in May of 1844 at the Unitarian Church. Hadwen retained ownership, but the house became known as the Wright Mansion, and it was soon filled with children, including Eunice, born in 1847; George W. Jr., born in 1848; and William, born in 1849.

The Wrights’ tenure at the house was short-lived. Perhaps the rapid decline of Nantucket’s economy or the California gold rush lured George Wright to San Francisco in 1849.  He would become one of the leaders of the California territory, and when it became a state in 1850, he was among its first representatives in Congress.

Family members Eliza and Nathaniel Barney took up residence in 94 Main in the late 1850s and stayed on there into the 1860s.  Barney was Hadwen’s business partner and Eliza Barney and Eunice Hadwen were sisters.  Coincidentally, the two sisters lived across Main Street from their three brothers, Joseph, William, and Matthew Starbuck, who occupied the Three Bricks. The Barneys were outspoken advocates for the leading issues of the day, which included the abolition of slavery, woman suffrage, and the temperance movement.  They are probably best known, however, as the keepers of early family records. Their work still serves as the major source for genealogical research on-island.

It was not until William Hadwen’s death in 1861 that the house came into legal possession of the Wright branch of the family, but Hadwen included a stipulation in his will that Nathaniel and Eliza could remain there for as long as they chose.  Nathaniel died in 1869, and in the early 1870s Eunice would build her own architecturally imposing Main Street house—the large blue Victorian at 73 Main.

The Wright Mansion remained in the family until 1882 when it was sold to Isabella M. Coffin, wife of Allen Coffin, an avid newspaperman who later earned a law degree from Columbia and returned to the island to practice.  Coffin was also a prolific author and genealogist who published an extensive history of the Coffin family in 1881.  Coffin was long associated with the Prohibition Party, serving as its chairman and running as the party’s candidate for governor of Massachusetts in 1896. Locally he served four terms on the Board of Selectmen.

In 1907 Coffin sold the house, to Eben Moore Flagg, a dentist and world traveler who served as honorary consul of Paraguay.  Dr. Flagg was no stranger to Nantucket; his father was the well-known American artist George W. Flagg, who summered here, and his uncle, William Flagg, developed ‘Sconset’s north bluff and constructed the first cottage near the lighthouse, called Flaggship.  Eben set up his “modern” dental practice at 94 Main and resided there with his English-born wife, Henrietta, and daughter Louise.  Curiously, his advertisements for his practice in the Inquirer and Mirror in the early years of the twentieth century note his former residence as 61 Fifth Avenue, New York, and his fluency in German, Portuguese, French, and Spanish.  Henrietta held the house until her death in the 1920s, leaving it to three women she had befriended, including Anna Ward, formerly of the Ships Inn Grill Room, who served tea, lunch, and dinner in the “Old Wright Mansion” for a few years in the 1920s.  The house was in poor repair, however, and debt forced a mortgagee sale. In 1927, the property was sold to banker Leopold Chambliss and his wife, Anna Yerkes Chambliss, of New Jersey.  Anna retained the house after the Chamblisses divorced in the 1950s, and in 1962 it was sold by her children to John A. and Katherine (Tatina) Sherman Lodge of Brookline.  Like several preceding owners, John Lodge was an attorney who worked in Washington, D.C., and Boston, and Tatina was a well-educated woman who grew up in Venezuela as the daughter of a geologist and crude-oil explorer.   During the fifty-two-year Lodge ownership, their stewardship of the property and a love for the island’s history was evident. Due to this a NPT Preservation Award was created in their honor. To learn more about the John A. and Katherine S. Stewardship Award and the NPT Preservation Awards click here.

Today the house awaits a new owner, but the rich history and the Lodge legacy will live on.  The house is protected by a preservation easement (click here to learn about the NPT’s preservation easements) that Tatina Lodge placed on the house in 2009 to ensure that not only its exterior, but its significant interior features will be preserved for future generations.

Sadly, Katherine S. Lodge passed away earlier this year. A longtime friend Mark Hubbard gave his remarks during the 2014 Preservation Award Ceremony. Learn more about the true preservationist at heart click here.

9 Pochick Street

9 pochick

The annual August Fête will take place in the ‘Sconset neighborhood Sunset Heights, which includes the Underhill Cottages. Read below to discover  the history behind 9 Pochick Street (Main Top) and the rest of the Underhill Cottages.

Pochick Street

The Underhill Cottages:
At the Pochick lot, Underhill created a road down the middle of the parcel, and immediately began construction on his own cottage, China Closet, at the east end, on the south side of the street (now a secondary cottage for the house on Underhill was a man of many talents and was perhaps one of the most famous Sconseter’s of the nineteenth century. He was a Civil War reporter for The New York Times in the 1860s, a journalist for the New York Tribune in the 1880s, a famous New York court stenographer in an era when a court stenographer could be famous,  a vineyard owner, rare book and china collector, noted wit, and ’Sconset enthusiast.  He was especially gifted as a writer and promoter and is responsible for luring visitors to the village from across the country.

Underhill’s advertising circular included a detailed description of the cottages: They are built . . . following the traditions of the builders of a hundred years ago, who made their houses strong and compact for comfort and convenience and with no thought that the structures they reared would ever be in demand for the residences of families from distant parts during the warm season. The only variations I have made from the strict simplicity of ’Sconset architecture are to have the apartments more commodious, and to avail myself of a few accessories which improve the appearance of the dwellings without, in the least degree, giving them the ornate look of modern built cottages at our fashionable seaside resorts.       

Each house has a small cellar, a cistern abundantly supplied with rain water, and is completely furnished for house-keeping, even to the extent of providing crockery, cutlery and bed and table linen.  The bedsteads are of modern style and are furnished with spring bottoms and mattresses of the best quality curled hair.  Each house is situated on a lot having a frontage of 55 feet with a full area of 3,300 square feet of ground.

One of Underhill’s quirkiest creations was a room on wheels that could be rolled up to a cottage for additional living space. This innovation was most likely constructed by Asa Jones, along with George W. Rogers, Underhill’s carpenters of choice.  The cottages along Pochick, and Lily and Evelyn (named for Underhill’s daughter and wife), appear to have been built over several years, but individual cottages were built quickly—often completed according to newspaper accounts within ten or fourteen days.

By the early 1880s, Underhill community was completed, and with nearly two dozen cottages was flourishing. In the 1890’s, it became known as the village’s “Actors’ Colony,” due to it being largely populated by Broadway actors and actresses, artists and writers, and other bohemian types.  The Underhill cottages continued to be rented until the mid 1920s- often by the same families, year after year.

“The Chanticleer” Restaurant


The Chanticleer Restaurant circa 1890.
(photo courtesy of the Nantucket Historical Assocation)


The historic restaurant The Chanticleer is the location of  the Summer Lecture & Luncheon on Friday, July 25. The French restaurant has been under the ownership of Susan Handy and Jeff Worster since 2006 but dates back to the 1900’s. Below are excerpts on the history of the restaurant from various publications:

“On the north side of New Street is The Chanticleer. The older part of the present edifice was Charles Paddack’s dwelling house…. It first stood on the edge of the Bank and belonged to Uriah Bunker, then was removed to its present situation and added to by having a chaise house from Town jammed against its east or right-hand gable-end. The Paddock parlor was described by Underhill as measuring only six feet and one inch from floor to ceiling. Tall men were not permitted to dance hornpipes there, unless they entered into bond with the owner of the building to pay damages if they broke the plaster.”
– From Early Nantucket and Its Whale Houses


Stage Actress Agnes Everett opened the Chanticleer Restaurant on New Street as a tea room soon after 1900.  “Afternoon tea for ladies was quite an institution at that time. …The long interim between engagements on the stage did not cover expenses for her and her mother, who were long time ’Sconseters. So she rented a typical little cottage at a strategic location opposite the casino and added a small wing where ice cream equipment could be installed. These cones were a recent innovation and were proving most popular at all mainland resorts, and were likewise in Siasconset. Thus was the beginning of the well known and one of the most popular gourmet restaurants on the island. In fact it soon became necessary for Miss Everett to have assistance, and two sisters named Wiley were employed. They stayed on summer after summer until, when it came time for Miss Everett to retire, they and their family, their father and mother, and later, husbands, took over the establishment. They added the delightful patio-porch with its trellis and garden flowers, and they kept its name.”
– From ’Sconset Heyday


The Chanticleer was operated by the Wiley family as a restaurant featuring a menu of “all American and wonderful” dishes for fifty-eight years. The dormered east wing was built during the Wiley’s ownership, adding a dining room on the first floor and guest and employee rooms upstairs. After World War II, as dependence on household help declined, the restaurant provided a popular and casual venue for many summer families and visitors who regularly met there for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. As many as two hundred and fifty dinners, but no spirits, might be served until 8:30 each evening, when the uniformed college-student waitresses would finish their tasks and sit on the porch playing guitars or cross the street to go to dances and movies at the Casino. In 1969, Roy Larsen and other investors bought the Chanticleer, restored and revamped it, and opened a sophisticated restaurant with chef Jean-Charles Berruet in 1970. Berruet, from Brittany, had been the private chef of Gourmet Magazine’s owner Earle MacAusland and his wife, Jean, at their homes in New York and on Nantucket for the previous three years. In addition to offering chef Berruet’s classic French cuisine, the Chanticleer won the Wine Spectator Grand Award every year beginning in 1987 for having one of the best wine lists in the world. In 2004, the restaurant was sold and reopened in 2006 by Jeff Worster and Susan Handy, who have thoughtfully preserved the ambiance of the historic property and garden and are continuing the more recent tradition of fine cuisine, wines, and camaraderie.”
–From “The Chanticleer Restaurant”, ’Sconset: A History.

The Summer Lecture and Luncheon is SOLD OUT!

5 Quince Street

Five Quince Street dates to the mid-eighteenth century, when it was the homestead of Nathaniel Hussey, his wife Judith Coffin, and their eight children.  Hussey inherited the house from his father, Silvanus, a wealthy whaling merchant who bequeathed a dozen houses to family members when he died in 1765.  In the late 1780s, David Hussey, son of Nathaniel and Judith, became the sole owner. His wife, Lydia, lived at 5 Quince Street probably longer than anyone else, for more than fifty years.

5 quince

The house was perhaps best known in the early twentieth century as the summer home of Austin Strong. Strong was the author of the Broadway show Seventh Heaven and other dramas, and on island was commodore of the Nantucket Yacht Club, a founder of the Wharf Rat Club, and originator of the rainbow fleet.  Strong and his wife, Mary Wilson, completed a major renovation of the house in 1929 and retained most of the original elements and flavor of the old house. His heir ensured that the house would be protected by placing the island’s first interior preservation easement on the property.

5 Quince Street is the main check-in location for the Summer Kitchen Tour
To learn more about the tour and purchase tickets click here