News

“Decisions in Preservation” Case Study: 6 Gull Island Lane

Built sometime after 1784, 6 Gull Island Lane was originally part of the Thomas Gardner estate. Gardner likely built it for his daughter Hannah (1782-1809) at the time of her marriage to Josiah Sheffield and remained in the Sheffield family until 1892.

In 2015, 6 Gull Island Lane was purchased by new owners, who have generously offered their house to be part of our 2018 Symposium. A new phase is about to begin for this antique.

A house like 6 Gull Island presents many challenges and opportunities for homeowners, architects, and builders alike. We are anticipating a fascinating conversation and looking forward to sharing this important building with you and following its progress.

Ready to register for the symposium workshop? Click here.

Two Weeks Left for Symposium Early Registration!

 

There are two weeks left to register for the Nantucket Preservation Symposium Workshop at our special early bird rate of $295 per ticket.

We hope you’ll join us for a special welcome reception and one-day immersive preservation workshop. This year’s workshop, Decisions in Preservation, will explore at least three historic properties in various stages of restoration.

You’ll get a hands-on tour of each property, have discussions with the architects, builders, craftspeople, and homeowners, and hear interesting lectures from Nantucket’s leading history and preservation experts, all in the heart of Nantucket’s downtown historic core.

Whether you are considering purchasing a historic home, a preservation professional, a history buff, or just have always wondered what was going on inside those stately Nantucket homes, we hope you will join us!

Click here to register, to email us at info@nantucketpreservationsymposium.org for more information.

 

Last Chance to Submit Nominations for the Preservation Awards!

Town Crier, Courtesy Nantucket Historical Association.

Hear ye, Hear ye!

It’s your last chance to submit nominations for the 2018 Preservation Awards!

Help us recognize preservation efforts on Nantucket, and showcase the work of our island’s architects, craftspeople, and builders.

NPT’s Preservation Awards program is designed to show that a building or landscape can be sensitively updated while maintaining and preserving its historic integrity. In general, the NPT Preservation Awards emphasize proper preservation, showcase the island’s craftspeople, and reveal the foresight of owners who care about our historic structures and landscape.

 

 

 

The NPT is still accepting award nominations in the following categories, but the deadline is tomorrow!

  • Historical Renovation Award
  • Architectural Preservation Award
  • Landscape Award
  • Stewardship Award
  • Traditional Building Methods Award
  • New Construction Award

To learn more about these categories, past award winners, and to nominate a project or craftsperson, please visit: https://www.nantucketpreservation.org/preservation-awards-2.

Not sure which category your project best fits, or other questions? Call us at 508.228.1387. Nominations can be sent to info@nantucketpreservation.org.

Women’s History Month | Phebe Ann Coffin Hanaford

Walk down nearly any lane in Nantucket, past nearly every home or public building and you are likely to stumble onto a site important to women’s history. This month, we’re taking a closer look at some of the buildings where dreams of equality were first fostered.

5 New Street, Siasconset: Phebe Ann Coffin Hanaford

5 New Street Siasconset, 1910s, courtesy Nantucket Historical Association.

“That I have been successful as a preacher is largely owing to the fact of my Quaker birth, and my early education on the island of Nantucket, where women preach and men are useful at washing day and neither feel themselves out of place.”

-Phebe Ann Coffin Hanaford, 1869

Born in 1829 on Nantucket (or ‘Sconset, sources differ, and only to Nantucketers would there be such a distinction) to George W. Coffin and Phebe Ann Barnard, Phebe Ann Coffin would one day become the first woman ordained as a minister in Massachusetts, and the third woman minister in the country.

Phebe’s father, George W. Coffin, purchased a house in ‘Sconset on the bank near the gulley from Ichabod Aldridge for $30. In 1841, the house was removed from the bank during the October gale and set up on it’s present location on New Street. The house, called “Seldom Inn” by the 1910s, was added to over the years and eventually became the site of many summer vacations.

Phebe’s marriage to homeopathic physician Joseph A. Hanaford would eventually take her away from Nantucket, but the educational foundation she had built in ‘Sconset would follow her throughout New England.

During the Civil War, Phebe became an active abolitionist and suffragist, preaching and writing on the subjects. During the late 1860s, Phebe joined the Universalist Church of America, editing periodicals and studying to become a minister.

1868 marked an important turning point in Phebe’s life. She was ordained as the first Unitarian woman minister in Massachusetts, and she separated from her husband.

Phebe Ann Coffin Hanaford, courtesy of the Nantucket Historical Association.

Her ministry took her all over the northeast. Controversy regarding her commitment to women’s rights and unorthodox personal life resulted in the loss of her New Jersey pulpit. No matter; Phebe started another church in the same town. Phebe and her partner Ellen Miles lived together for 44 years, separated only by Ellen’s death in 1914.

Phebe Ann Coffin Hanaford died in 1921. Her childhood home still stands. Perhaps she would have enjoyed the name Seldom Inn, as her talents took her far from Nantucket’s shores.

 

Letter to the Editor Regarding Pending Demolition of Jacobs House

This letter originally appeared in the March 1, 2018 issue of the Inquirer and Mirror. 

We are sad to report that the Jacobs House was demolished on March 6, 2018.

Jacobs House February 2018

HDC guidelines for demolitions need to be updated

To the Editor: Soon, Madaket is likely to lose another
unique structure, this time an important example of
mid-20th Century architecture. Unlike other homes in
Madaket, the Jacobs House at 31 Starbuck Road will
not fall victim to the western shore’s rapidly eroding
coast line, but instead to a flaw in our system of
approvals and permits which stems from a lack of
understanding about the need to protect the next
generation of Nantucket landmarks. The history of
many buildings is undocumented and, as it stands,
there is no burden on the owner and/or applicant to
provide a professional, unbiased assessment on the
historic or architectural importance of a structure prior
to HDC approval for demolition.

Jacobs House, February 2018

The Jacobs House, built in 1968 (now half a century
ago), was designed by renowned Boston architect
Frederick “Tad” Stahl (1931-2013), working with
former owner, artist and architecture student Marjorie
Jacobs. Stahl was best known for his work on the State
Street Bank, the restorations of Quincy Market and the
Old State House (all in Boston), and for designing over
25 community libraries in Massachusetts.The Jacobs
House is one of only two dwellings Stahl designed in
his entire career.

House Beautiful magazine, 1970

There is no question that the Jacobs House is unique.
Anyone seeing it realizes it is different than most
Nantucket houses. At the time of construction, many
felt it was out of character with the island’s historic
architecture. But times change and in the past decade
communities throughout the country have embraced
landmarks of the 20th century. Today the Jacobs House
is one of the prime examples of mid-century modern
architecture on island. House Beautiful thought so as
well and profiled it in a 1970 issue, describing it as
“Commanding a wild stretch of beach like an ancient
citadel.” And in the 1960 and 1970s, Madaket was
Nantucket’s wild west, home to surfers and artists, to
Millie and Mr. Rogers. The Jacobs House represents an
important moment in Nantucket’s history, when one
could take a risk, when the peaked roofs of a summer
house mimicked the ocean’s roaring waves.

Jacobs House interior 1970, courtesy Jacobs Family.

Stahl embraced contemporary designs, but was, above
all, a preservationist. Perhaps it is this fact that makes
the pending loss of the Jacobs House so distressing.
The HDC was established to protect the historic
architecture of Nantucket, and a significant building,
even one constructed in 1968, is part of that history. In
this instance, the Commission was not presented with,
nor did they gather all the facts before voting 5-0 to
allow for the demolition of the structure.

Nantucket has already lost many architecturally
interesting 20th Century structures (a house designed
by Philip Johnson and an early Buckminster Fuller
inspired house to name a few) and will lose more.
Their relatively recent dates makes it easy to dismiss
them but saving the best of the era, any era, is
important.

We urge the HDC to make changes in their
system to better document and to gather all the facts
about a building’s past before demolitions are
approved. In many communities a preservationist on
the HDC staff is charged with undertaking historic
research, but when town resources are unavailable to
complete this work it should be the burden of an
applicant to prove that a structure, regardless of the
date it was built, is not of historic or architectural
importance if they desire to demolish it. Doing so
would enhance the HDC’s mission to protect all of
Nantucket’s historic architecture.

Michael May, Executive Director

& Mary Bergman

Nantucket Preservation Trust

Fête Flashback!

 

On a brisk February day, August seems light years away. But summer will be here before you know it, and with it comes our August Fête and house tour.

This year’s Fête will be held Thursday, August 9, 2018. Each year, the party moves to a new location, so you can get a behind-the-scenes look at some of Nantucket’s most storied private homes and gardens.

We’re keeping this year’s location under wraps for now—but join us as we look back at some of our favorite past Fête locales!

2007: A Darling Fête

Darling Street was named for John Darling, a mariner who owned the house at number 10 from 1791 to 1796. The street looks very much as it has for the last 150 years and contains eleven historic homes that date from the late 18th to the mid-19th century.

Many of Nantucket’s previously unnamed streets were named in 1798, when the federal government levied a “house” tax to raise money in anticipation of a war with France. One of the regulations for recording local property was that the taxable parcels be identified more clearly than was previously the case, so in order to clarify the ill-defined roads of the town the first list of Nantucket’s streets was compiled by Isaac Coffin in 1799. John Darling, Sarah Hussey, and their children lived on the street in the 1790s.

 2013: Get to the Point!

The 2013 August Fête took us to the Hulbert Ave/Brant Point neighborhood.

The architecture of the Brant Point neighborhood was greatly influenced by the rise in tourism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries on Nantucket. House highlight included a home with it’s original two-story cathedral ceiling that evokes a ship’s hull and one of Brant Point’s earliest constructed homes from 1888.

***

 

Can’t wait to share our 2018 location with you! It is sure to be a fantastic evening.

Celebrate Restoration Role Models with the Preservation Awards

Preservation is possible!

The Nantucket Preservation Trust is still seeking nominations for the 2018 Preservation Awards. Celebrating the achievements of craftspeople, the stewardship of homeowners, and the thoughtfulness of building professionals is important to furthering the message that preservation is possible.

Though Nantucket is home to one of the largest collections of pre-Civil War era buildings in the country, the island’s rapid growth and development in the past three decades continues to threaten the architectural and historical integrity of these important structures.

Simply put: when they’re gone, they’re gone.

The Preservation Awards serve an important purpose for the Nantucket community and for the historic preservation community at large. Preservation is not only possible—it is rewarding, critical to the island’s economy, and it is happening around us. Send your nomination today!

Here’s a closer look at one of our prior award winners.

 

The John A. and Katherine S. Lodge Stewardship Award

139 Main Street in February 2018

Richard Gardner II House, 139 Main Street, 2017 Award Winner

This house is believed to have been built by Richard Gardner II about 1690. The house passed out of the Gardner family in 1926, and the following year it was acquired by Gladys Wood (1886-1971), who recognized the significance of the old house and moved it from 141 Main Street about 500 feet east to its current location to complete its restoration.

Wood hired one of the leading preservationists of the day, Alfred F. Shurrocks (1870-1945) to assist her in the restoration of the Gardner house. Today, the Richard Gardner II house is one of the few surviving seventeenth-century Nantucket homes and remains in the hands of Wood descendants who, following family tradition, are fine stewards of this island landmark.

Historic American Buildings Survey of 139 Main Street. Library of Congress.

 

NPT Welcomes New Staff Members

The Nantucket Preservation Trust has some exciting news!

We are pleased to welcome Michelle Whelan, Director of Development, and Mary Bergman, Director of Media and Communications to the NPT staff.

Michelle’s work with the NPT is a continuation of her commitment to preserving Nantucket’s sense of place. She most recently served as the Executive Director of Sustainable Nantucket for the last ten years.

“It is hard to define what makes Nantucket so special, but one of the unique aspects of the island is the incredible concentration of historic architecture we have,” Michelle says.

If you have been following the NPT on any of our social media channels or reading  weekly blog posts (and if you have not—start now!) since January, then you may already know Mary Bergman.

Mary supports the NPT’s mission by getting the word out on all the exciting programming, projects, and resources the NPT offers. She recently served as the Executive Director at the Nantucket Lightship Basket Museum.

Mary and Michelle are thrilled to work with Executive Director Michael May in supporting the mission of the Nantucket Preservation Trust. You can read more about our staff members here.

We are looking for an administrative assistant to join our staff. See this week’s Inquirer and Mirror classifieds, or click here to read more.

Now Accepting Nominations for the 2018 Preservation Awards!

 

Winter on Nantucket means a slower pace of life for many, but not for the island’s craftspeople. As you drive around the island and consider the many building projects, perhaps you know of one that highlights commitment to historic preservation. We want to know about it!

Each year, the Nantucket Preservation Trust recognizes individuals and organizations that advance the cause of historic preservation on Nantucket. Awards are provided for preservation work on historic buildings and landscapes, and for the protection and stewardship of island resources.

NPT’s Preservation Awards program is designed to show that a building or landscape can be sensitively updated while maintaining and preserving its historic integrity. In general, the NPT Preservation Awards emphasize proper preservation, showcase the island’s craftspeople, and reveal the foresight of owners who care about our historic structures and landscape.

The NPT is accepting award nominations in the following categories from now until March 9, 2018:

  • Historical Renovation Award
  • Architectural Preservation Award
  • Landscape Award
  • Stewardship Award
  • Traditional Building Methods Award
  • New Construction Award

To learn more about these categories, past award winners, and to nominate a project or craftsperson, please visit: https://www.nantucketpreservation.org/preservation-awards-2.

We’ve moved!

By Mary Bergman, guest blogger

The Nantucket Preservation Trust is on the move! After seven years at the organization’s former home on Main Street, the NPT relocated to historic Sherburne Hall at 11 Centre Street at the end of September. Moving day brought with it high winds and unrelenting rains courtesy of Tropical Storm Jose, but the move went ahead as scheduled.

The staff at the NPT are no strangers to Sherburne Hall, which since 1987 has seasonally housed Preservation Institute Nantucket (PIN), one of the country’s oldest field schools for historic preservation. The move will allow for expanded collaboration between the two preservation organizations. In addition to housing the offices of both NPT and PIN, there are plans to host lectures, exhibits, workshops, and other community programming in Sherburne Hall.

Sherburne Hall, built just after the Great Fire of July 1846, took only five months to construct. This perhaps speaks to the island’s desire to rebuild, recover, and get back to work after the devastating fire that destroyed much of downtown. Originally called the Centre Street Block, the building housed six shops and an upstairs meeting space, used by the Independent Order of the Odd Fellows and other social groups from 1847 on. It was even briefly used as a dance studio!

By the 1860s, many of the shops on Centre Street, including shops in Sherburne Hall, were run by women, lending the street the still-used nickname “Petticoat Row.”

Photo courtesy of Design Associates. Click for more photos of restoration.

A renovation completed in 1987 took twice as long as the original construction, with a team of skilled conservators, architects, and historic planners. The 1986/87 restoration relied on photographs from the 1870s, the earliest available of the hall. The renovation uncovered clay pipes, pottery, shoes, fabric, and women’s bonnets–reminders of the women shopkeepers who kept the island running during the golden age of the whaling industry.

Sherburne Hall’s historic facade is protected today because of an easement administered by the Nantucket Historical Association. The facade underwent a microscopic paint analysis that determined its original color was a bright, pure white (like the Atheneum and other Greek Revival buildings) instead of the grey paint that had been added later.

The interior of Sherburne Hall will undergo a few minor touch ups–new coats of paint on the walls and newly refinished floors. The offices of the NPT will be outfitted with new furniture, purchased thanks to a generous grant by the Community Foundation for Nantucket’s ReMain Nantucket Fund.

Over the years, countless islanders and visitors alike have passed through Sherburne Hall, to attend the holiday artisan market, the Nantucket Historical Association’s Festival of Trees, or meetings of community and fraternal organizations. How fitting that now Sherburne Hall will be home to both the Nantucket Preservation Trust and the Preservation Institute Nantucket, two organizations striving to protect and preserve Nantucket’s architectural history, for today and for the future.