Cabinetmaker Cornelius Allen purchased the land at 14 Hussey Street in 1795 and built this home before selling it to Albert Folger, mariner, in 1798. Albert and his wife, Susan, raised five children here; Susan, widowed in 1812, lived here until 1840, when she sold the property to British-born Robert Ratliff. Among the neighborhood’s most famous residents, Ratliff at the age of twenty-five, while serving in the British Navy, had been shipwrecked off Nantucket. He decided to stay on island and married widow Judith Robinson, who had two daughters. He practiced his trade as a master rigger on Nantucket for more than fifty years and was immortalized in an 1879 painting by summer resident and renowned artist Eastman Johnson. Among the longest residents were Joseph P. Nye, master mariner and his family, who retained the property for over 130 years.
14 Hussey Street is one of the 2014 Summer Kitchen Tour houses To learn more about the tour and purchase tickets click here
The house located at 15 Quince Street was built about 1812 by Joseph Edwards, a twenty-seven-year-old ship and house carpenter who was married to Lydia Gates. It was unusual for carpenters to be both housewrights and ship builders, but the deeds for the property and other historic research clearly indicate Edwards was one of the craftsmen who worked in both professions.
Joseph Edwards had purchased the land for his house from Paul Coggeshall in 1811. He resided at his new house until his death in 1863, at which time the property passed to his son James. The house remained in the Edwards family until 1889.
15 Quince Street is one of the 2014 Summer Kitchen Tour houses To learn more about the tour and purchase tickets click here
The house was purchased in 1946 by Richard and Edna Williams. The family carefully refurnished the house and spent each summer here for over thirty years. In 1977, their daughter Muriel became the owner. She continued her parents’ sensitive approach, repairing but never changing historic features. As she witnessed rapid change to Nantucket’s historic houses in the 1990s, Muriel decided to place 4 Traders Lane under a preservation easement to ensure its protection and enjoyment for future generations. Besides saving the house, which is one of the most intact and finest examples of the Typical Nantucket House, Muriel protected the large side yard that is an important garden and open space for the entire Fish Lot neighborhood. Today, the third generation of the Williams family (Billi and Bobby Gosh) continues the family tradition of stewardship.
A landmark and beacon from the sea, the Unitarian Meeting House was built as a place of worship for the island’s expanding Congregational church. Originally known as the Second Congregational Society, in 1837 it became a Unitarian church. It is also referred to as South Church, distinguishing it from the First Congregational or North Church on Centre Street.
Throughout its history, the meeting house has played an important community role by opening its doors to intellectual discourse as well as to entertainment, community events, and for worship to various religious groups.
In the nineteenth century, many of the town’s leading citizens attended services here—perhaps the most famous being librarian and famed astronomer Maria Mitchell, who probably heard Ralph Waldo Emerson speak in 1845, and Lucretia Coffin Mott, the antislavery and women’s rights activist who spoke in 1856.
Construction on the meeting house began in 1808 by carpenter Elisha Ramsdell and his crew. The building has evolved over the years, originally with a simple tower, that held the first town clock. Installation of the Portuguese bell in 1815 further led to rebuilding of the tower in 1830 to accommodate the weight of the bell. At that time—the height of the whaling heyday—changes included raising the floor of the sanctuary to create a usable meeting space below, redesigning the interior, and the addition of the loft to accommodate the Goodrich organ that has graced the meeting house for over one hundred and eighty three years. One of the most notable changes was the addition of interior decorative painting in 1844, attributed to German artist Carl Wendte, and recently restored.
(In celebration of National Preservation Month attend a FREE tour and lecture Saturday, May 24th at 4:00 PM. For more information view the Preservation Month event page.)
On October 31, 1808, house carpenter Abner Howard purchased twenty-two square rods of land on Pine Street for $250.00. Two years later he sold the property, with a dwelling house, to mariner David Swain 2nd (1784-1841) for $1,350. Swain became a master mariner and was a captain of a number of whaling vessels: Lydia, 1808-09 and 1810-12; John Jay, 1815-17; States, 1818-20; Constitution, 1821-23; and Lydia again on tow more voyages, 1825-28 and 1830-33. His first wife, Phebe Ellis (1791-1831), spent most of her married life managing the household and four young children while David was at sea; she died while he was away on his last whaling voyage in the Lydia. In1834, shortly after his marriage to second wife Eliza Bunker (1799-1868), Swain sold the house at 43 Pine to another master mariner, Seth Coffin Jr.
Seth Coffin Jr. (1790-1844) was captain of the whaleships Criterion, 1820-23, and Aurora, 1823-26. He was married to Lydia Coleman (1793-1872) and they had a large family: three sons and three daughters ranging in age from two to eighteen in 1834: a fourth son was born at 43 Pine Street in 1836. The Coffin family owned the house until 1886, when daughter Charlotte M. Brock sold it to Obed Mendell, who owned it only three years before selling the land and the house to Houghton Gibbs for $135.41 in 1889. Joseph J. Araujo, a fisherman, purchased the house in 1910. He had immigrated to the United States from the Azores in 1900, at the age of forty, and four years later his wife, Beatrice, and four daughters joined him. The U.S. Census for 1920 indicates that the daughters all lived at home with their parents: the two middle daughters worked as housekeepers for private families, the youngest was a nurse, and the eldest was unemployed. The Araujos also rented a room to an Azorean man who worked as a mason. In 1954, David and Mary Elizabeth Masters of Pennsylvania purchased the house at 43 Pine Street from the estate of Joseph J. Arujo for $6,825. They owned the house for more than thirty years.
The house Abner Howard built two hundred years ago is an example of a “typical” Nantucket house: two and a half stories high, four bays wide, with a ridge chimney. Late nineteenth-century photographs show that it had clapboard front facade and glass lights above the front door, the latter a feature that was restored when the house was renovated in 1988.
2013 Architectural Preservation Award
Michelle Elzay, Sparrow Design – 43 Pine Street
Michelle Elzay of Sparrow Designs was awarded a 2013 Architectural Preservation Award for her projects at 43 Pine Street, which included the restoration of the original bake oven. A bake oven demonstration will be held on May 17th in honor of Preservation Month hosted by the NPT and Maria Mitchell Association. There is limited space and reservation are necessary. Please call 508-228-2896 to reserve your spot today.
10 Main Street, ‘Sconset built in the 1930’s used to house ‘Sconset Branch of the Great Atlantic Pacific Tea Co. This property is now home to Claudette’s, named for the first professional caterer on the island, Claudette Pearl, who opened her catering business there in 1967. In less than two weeks islanders and visitors will line Main Street ‘Sconset decked out in festive Daffodil Day gear, while enjoying tailgate picnics. The historical properties that line Main Street ‘Sconset lead to the village’s heart, the ‘Sconset rotary.
The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, circa 1930
“In the eighteenth and for most of the nineteenth centuries, when town was hours away by horse-drawn carriage, there were more shops and markets catering to the summer crowd in ‘Sconset and they were scattered farther from what is now the village center. But important services and businesses have been at the head of Main Street for more than a hundred years, and the center still holds.
Before the first commercial building was built at the rotary, however, the east end of Main Street, at the top of the slope that later became Gully Road, was dominated by the Ocean View House, built in 1873. As that hotel expanded and the railroad was extended to ‘Sconset in the 1880’s, there arose the necessity of supplying provisions and mementos for an increasing number of visitors. The earliest Sanborn Insurance Company map of the village (see below) – depicting dwellings, barns, stores, sheds, and hotels- published in 1898, shows the variety store selling souvenirs, ice cream, newspapers, and books that came to be known as the Siasconset Bookstore – a building that was less than ten years old at the time, since it does not appear on Henry Platt’s 1888 map of the village. The Siasconset Bookstore is now the name of the liquor store that occupies the south half of the building; the other side is home to ‘Sconset Café. The Post Office was located on Elbow Lane in 1898, in a building that has since been removed; in 1902 it moved to its rotary location, occupying a house built by James and Charlotte Gibbs in 1875.
Although the Post Office and Bookstore dominated the head of Main Street, the immediate vicinity was al the hub of all the public transportation that traveled between town and ‘Sconset. Early photographs of the area show horse- drawn carriages parked there, and, after 1918, motorized buses. An open-sided, many-columned shelter stood in the middle of road, providing some protection from the elements for those who awaited a ride, although it appears that a wind-driven rain would blow right through it. The rotary as we know it- the key element that signals you have arrived in the village- was constructed in 1929. This understated architectural feature was commissioned by a group of ‘Sconseters as a memorial to longtime summer resident David Gray, who had strong ties to Main Street, ‘Sconset, and was a major player in the establishment of the Sankaty Head Golf Club, as well as a financial supporter of the other village projects including renovations to the Casino in the 1920s. This modest rotary was designed by a well-respected and well-known architect of the day by the name of Frederick P. Hill, who was responsible for numerous projects in the village including those financially supported by David Gray.”
*Excerpt from Main Street, ‘Sconset: The Houses and Their Histories
Read the complete text by purchasing your copy: HERE
People who love Nantucket’s historic architecture appreciate an opportunity to look inside a house that retains its original features. But learning more about the home’s inhabitants—those who may have built it, as well as those who came later—provides a more complete picture of why the island’s historic houses are so special and why we are drawn to them.
For example, take the house at 11 Hussey Street. From the outside it looks like another old, classic Nantucket house that has evolved over the years, with no single feature that sets it apart (although a preservationist will recognize that its early windows remain intact). But glance inside and unlock its history and you get an entirely different perspective.
The interior of 11 Hussey retains a remarkable number of historic features added over time by various owners. Small details abound, such as an old threshold with grooves to drain water, early door hardware, a fine open-winder staircase, massive hand hewn ceiling beams and gunstock posts in room corners, a Federal mantel with reeding and dentils, original paneled doors with transoms, cupboards cleverly tucked in-between the chimney breast, a massive kitchen fireplace. It also retains later features such as the circa 1913 pantry and the kitchen’s three built-in cupboards and soapstone sink—probably luxurious at the time and I bet cherished by visionary kitchen designers today.
Learn more about 11 Hussey Street by reading it’s virtual House History:
A housewright from Little Compton, Rhode Island, Rescom Palmer moved to Nantucket when he was in his twenties. He married Nantucketer Elizabeth Ray Stubbs in 1804, and purchased the land at the corner of New Mill Street and what was then known as Copper Street (now Prospect) in 1808. The house he built circa 1809 is atypical, and may be an amalgam of an eighteenth-century house moved to the site, with the addition of new construction.
Also unusual are the two front doors: the one facing Prospect Street opens onto old-style winder stairs, while the door on New Mill Street opens onto a hallway with a gracious staircase and parlors on either side, the trim and paneling showcasing Palmer’s handiwork. The house, which had fallen into disrepair, was completely restored in 2000-02 by current owners, who preserved the historic integrity of the house and added a gourmet kitchen. Today, the exterior as well as its historic interior sections are protected by an NPT preservation easement.
This mid-nineteenth century house, constructed circa 1835, was purchased in 1841 by Samuel King, an immigrant from Ireland who first worked as a cooper on whaling ships. In his later years, King became an avid gardener and commercial florist and created an elaborate garden around the house, which was featured in House & Garden Magazine in 1902. King descendants retain the property today and decided to recreate the front porch, which had been removed about 1940. Twig Perkins, contractor, and Sam Phelan and family are 2013 Preservation Award recipients of: The Tradtional Building Methods Award for the replication of 65 Pleasant Street’s nineteenth-century porch. The family used historic photographs to determine the design and hired preservation carpenter Twig Perkins to complete the elaborate decorative work.
St. Paul’s Church was the recipient of this year’s Stewardship Award for the restoration of the church’s stained-glass windows. St Paul’s was constructed in 1901 and over the years has seen the addition of stained-glass windows. The windows were designed by three studios: Connick of Boston (north and south aisles); Willet of Philadelphia (clerestory windows in roof); and the original windows produced by Tiffany of New York City (altar and west end). The restoration of these windows has included repair of frames, stained glass, identification of water infiltration, and remediation. Contractors included: Cheney Brothers, Nantucket, for the installation of motors to open four clerestory windows; Norton Preservation Trust, for the evaluation of water problems; James Lydon, Sons & Daughters, for the repair of the bell tower/roof; Wayne Morris, mason, for the repair of water-damaged walls; Westmill Preservation Services, Halifax, Massachusetts, for window-frame restoration; and Serpentino Stained & Leaded Glass, Inc., Needham, Massachusetts, for the restoration of stained glass.
To learn more about the church, its building and surrounding area – CLICK HERE