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:

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.

The Historic Interiors Survey: Determining the State of Preservation on Nantucket Today

By Mary Bergman, guest blogger

You may know that Nantucket has one of the largest concentrations of pre-Civil War era buildings and homes in the country (more than 800 in total), but just how many of these buildings have kept their historic integrity intact behind closed doors? The Nantucket Preservation Trust (NPT),  in partnership with Preservation Institute Nantucket (PIN) have set out to answer this complicated question. Since 2014, the two organizations have worked together to comb through records, compile information, evaluate and rank interiors, and build a database as part of an unprecedented Historic Interiors Survey.

As summer winds down, interns at both organizations have made great strides in ensuring the creation of this important record. Currently, of the 979 properties in the downtown historic core, information is available on nearly half. Using Historic American Building Survey records, photos from real estate offices, Historic District Commission applications, 3-D laser scans, and the help of owners of historic homes, a good dent is being made in the remaining properties. But there are still 405 properties with no information publicly available, NPT intern and PIN alumna Laura Seaman explained recently.B&WDoorway

Of the buildings on which information is available, 76 are ranked 1, indicating the highest level of historic integrity, and 194 are ranked either 1 or 2, indicating that changes have been made, but not overwhelmingly so. 128 structures surveyed have been heavily altered, or gutted.

Why is this information important to collect? “You need to know what you need to protect,” PIN Program Director Marty Hylton explained. Luckily for Nantucket, PIN has long been concerned with documenting Nantucket’s built environment.

When preservationist F. Blair Reeves and his students arrived on Nantucket as part of the newly-revamped Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) in the 1960s, the island they had come to document was on the brink of another rebirth. Suddenly swarmed with surges of summer tourists, some of Nantucket’s old-world charm had taken on a decidedly derelict look by the end of World War II.

Once a prosperous whaling port known from Barbados to New Zealand, Nantucket’s economy all but collapsed after the end of the whaling industry in the 1850s. It was this period of poverty that slowed development and kept the island as though frozen in amber. Rebranded as a place of rest and relaxation at the turn of the last century, Nantucket was once again on the map.

B&WceilingThe island’s many pre-Civil War era buildings have made it a perfect classroom for preservationists. Reeves, a professor at the University of Florida who had been randomly assigned to document Nantucket as part of HABS two years in a row, had arranged for students to make up the documentary team. Reeves’ approach to historic preservation was all-encompassing. Instead of focusing on landmarks–buildings that corresponded to certain events or persons in history–Reeves worked to study structures typical to Nantucket. Additionally, Reeves considered the whole environment in a streetscape or neighborhood, not just the structures themselves.

Reeves was not the only preservationist at work on the island. Walter Beinecke, Jr., had purchased and repaired much of the decaying downtown. His motivations for preserving the island’s waterfront and downtown core were numerous, and he admired Reeves’ efforts. In 1972, Reeves and Beinecke established the Preservation Institute Nantucket (PIN), now an internationally known immersive heritage management program with a focus on documentation. From drafting drawings to 3-D scans, PIN has helped create a robust record of the island’s historic homes. Some, sadly, now only exist between the pages of these binders, having met an unfortunate yet increasingly common end of being irrevocably altered.

To those of us who do not own historic homes, or live within the downtown core, why is this significant? Laura Seaman, who is working towards a dual degree in tourism and historic preservation, explains that there is unparalleled value in preserving the entirely of the house, beyond the facade. This authenticity is a large part of the reason people love to live, visit, and vacation on Nantucket. Without this historic integrity, Nantucket’s economic engine could falter. Virtually every industry on Nantucket is tied to tourism. People come to Nantucket because it feels like nowhere else. Preservation might be the closest you can come to time travel.B&WLivingA Historic Interior Survey of this magnitude has not been completed elsewhere. It is an excellent example of the Nantucket spirit–islanders helping islanders. Although PIN’s winter home is the University of Florida, after more than 50 years on the island, the students, faculty, and lecturers are truly part of the Nantucket community. These dedicated researchers work in concert with the NPT. As an advocacy group, “NPT identifies the need,” Hylton said, “PIN finds how we can help.”

You can help, too! Are you the owner of a historic home in town? The NPT is actively seeking your help to fill in the gaps of the survey. You can make a huge difference to the island’s preservation efforts by taking an online survey by clicking here []. Consider having a full survey completed and photographs taken of your house, now that summer guests are packing up and the island is a bit quieter.

If you have ever walked through Nantucket’s side streets in the still of a winter evening, woodsmoke curling out a chimney, and felt transported to another time, then you already know how vital these original buildings are. They are one of our most direct links to the past, to the people who came before. What we do with them, if we save them or if we destroy them, speaks to who we are as a community today.

The NPT Playhouse Raffle

Only 300 Tickets Available to Purchase! ♦
Don’t Wait….Get Yours Today!

NPT Playhouse with signs

The Nantucket Preservation Trust is honored to be the first Nantucket beneficiary of Cape Associates, Inc. playhouse donation program. The program, started in 2001 by the late Michael Cole, has grown from one annual playhouse donation, to now two, which are given to two different noNPT_Poster_2016_playhouse- cape cod associatesn-profits annual in support if their causes. To date a total of 27 playhouses have been built and over $120,000 raised for the nonprofit recipients, over the past 15 years. To learn more about Cape Associates Inc., a lead custom home building company based in Eastham, MA please click on the company logo seen above.

In 2015 after learning of the program, thanks to past employee Heather Burke, whom has since returned to her Cape Cod based residence, the NPT contacted Cape Associates, Inc. and was added to the (long) wait-list. Only a year later the NPT received was notified with some good news, and thrilled to hear they were one of the two, annual recipients who had been offered the playhouse! On June, 15, 2016 Lindsay Cole, who is Cape Associate Inc.’s Human Resource Manager and the daughter of Michael Cole (program founder), sent an email with the ecxciting opportunity. Unfortunately, being the first Nantucket island non-profit, there were a few logistical hurdles, which had to be accounted for prior to accepting the offer.

Luckily, we are surrounded by a supportive and small community, that often times lends a helping hand. In order to have the playhouse moved to the island, the NPT was told due to the additional transportation needed, in comparison to past recipients, the costs to move it across the ocean was in our hands. After reaching out to a few local businesses we had the issued resolved and were happy to say, yes the NPT would graciously accept the donation. We would like to eNPT_Poster_2016_playhousextend our thanks to the three businesses for their support in making this possible: Shepley Wood Supply who handled the overseas delivery from Cape Cod to Nantucket, Bartlett’s Farm for providing a location to publically display the house (next to children’s playset at the market) and agreed to sell raffle tickets, and Bamber Trucking for offering delivery of the playhouse to it‘s final island “home” (winner will be responsible for any off-island delivery plans).
In late June, after signing on the playhouse creation process quickly began. Cole, helped relay important design plans to her fellow co-workers, and helped arrange (with the island businesses and NPT) delivery of the playhouse from Cape Cod to Nantucket.

We gave NPT the option to give us design ideas for the playhouse and we ended up using a design sketched by Michael May. Our in-house designer tweaked the plans, and two carpenters built it in about two weeks. They used red cedar shingles for the sidewall and roof and stainless staples so as not to puncture the roof and potentially hurt a child inside of it. Underneath the playhouse are 4×4 timbers for support.

Lindsay Cole, Cape Associate’s Inc., Human Resource Manager

Michael May, NPT Executive Director fashioned the playhouse to be a “Lean-To House”, a common architectural style seen on Nantucket. The exterior includes many typical Nantucket features see below:

  • Architectural Style a “Lean-To House”
  • Exterior trim paint is Quaker Grey an HDC approved paint color
  • Features a shingled, redwood, exterior
  • One window box accompanies the front window
  • Includes a “red-brick” chimney
  • Trellis for flowers featured on the left side’s exterior
  • Size: 8′ x 5′ x 9′
    Nantucket play house
    Michael May, NPT Executive Director’s Original Design Plan

Michael’s sketch was completed and submitted in late July. Cape Associates, Inc., reviewed the plans and within a couple weeks the renderings were ready, and sent over to the NPT for a sneak peak. Everything fell right into place and the playhouse was brought over on a Shepley flatbed truck, arriving on island September, 1st.

The playhouse is now on display at Bartlett’s Farm Market, 33 Bartlett Farm Road. It will remain on display until the winner has been drawn on the Sunday of, Nantucket’s Annual Stroll Festival: December 4th. We encourage you to stop Bartlett’s farm VIEW (no entry allowed) the playhouse, and purchase raffle ticket(s) at the designated cashier inside the farm’s market (look for the sign). The raffle ends on Sunday, December 4th, or once all 300 tickets have sold and the winner will be drawn on December, 4. Winner need not be present to win.
For those who are not on island or are not frequent visitors of Bartlett’s Farm tickets for can also be purchased in one of the following ways:




55 Main Street, 3rd floor
Office hours: 9AM to 5PM – Monday – Friday


Sample Raffle Ticket
Sample Raffle Ticket

Don’t Hesitate. Nominate!

The Nantucket Preservation Trust 2017 Preservation Awards: call for nominations will run now through Friday, March 24. The Preservation Awards honor projects, individuals and organizations that have made a positive impact in preserving Nantucket’s historic character.  The awards are designed to encourage proper preservation work, broaden outreach to the building community, and ensure the protection of the island’s historic resources. For nomination forms and further information visit the NPT website:

105 Main Street, Facade – 2016 Award Recipient – Architectural Rendering by Mark Hubbard

The Nantucket Preservation Trust’s 2017 Preservation Awards program, now in its eleventh year, recognizes individuals and organizations for historic preservation, stewardship of island landmarks, sensitive landscape design associated with historic buildings, historical renovations, the promotion of traditional building methods, and for new construction that embodies the principles of the HDC and the guidelines outlined in Building with Nantucket in Mind. Nominees are reviewed by the Preservation Award committee and approved by the NPT board. Award recipients will be notified in late April and a public announcement made during Preservation Month in June via the Nantucket Preservation Trust website and advertisements in The Inquirer & Mirror. Award recipients will be honored at a private awards ceremony, on Thursday, June 29. By recognizing preservation projects and the work of individuals, property owners, design and construction professionals and organizations, the NPT hopes to encourage proper preservation work, broaden outreach to the community, and ensure the protection of Nantucket’s historic resources.

The Nantucket Preservation Trust seeks nominations of individuals or organizations that qualify for one of the following award categories: Architectural Preservation, Landscape, Stewardship, Traditional Building Methods, Historical Renovation and New Construction. All nominations must include nominee’s name, location of project and how it supports and makes a positive impact on Nantucket’s historic character.  For more information and to download a nomination form please 2017 Nomination Form .Contact the NPT office for further information:

If we can provide you with further assistance, or answer any questions please contact the NPT office:

Phone: 508-228-1387


Visit our office: 55 Main Street, 3rd-floor
Hours:   9AM to 5PM- Monday – Friday
*Please note: due to limited staff, we suggest calling if you plan to visit the office to confirm the office is open. During the off-season there may be brief periods when the office will be closed for meetings held elsewhere. Thank you and we apologize for any inconveniences this may cause.



Friday Find: Envision Nantucket, Main Street…

Tomorrow, Saturday April 29th the island will be decorated in daffodils, and Main Street will be full of people in festive yellow attire and antique cars as part of the 2016 Nantucket Chamber of Commerce Daffodil Festival. Nantucket’s annual Daffodil Festival takes place each year the last weekend in April and is the island’s (unofficial) kick-off to spring.

2015 Daffodil Festival NPT Antique Car on Main Street
2015 Daffodil Festival NPT Antique Car on Main Street

Activities along Main Street include: parades, store openings, and the main highlight: The Antique Car Parade. Therefore, today is the perfect opportunity to share a special tour of Main Street found on the “Envision Heritage” YouTube channel, Please take a moment to read the 2015 Ramblings excerpt “Envision Heritage” featured below and to watch this special video to learn more about this important documentation:

“Envision Nantucket was launched by the University of Florida’s  Historic Preservation Program in 2012, as part of the Envision  Heritage  initiative, which explores how new and emerging  technologies can be used to  document, interpret, and manage heritage sites,  landscapes, buildings, and interior spaces.  This program is supported by the Osceola Foundation and the Nantucket Community Preservation Committee. NPT has been a partner, assisting the Preservation Institute: Nantucket with the program on island.

Laser scanning is a highly accurate and efficient means to create a spatial database of an existing site and can be used to generate other work products. This technology greatly reduces the time and increases the accuracy of recording historic landscapes, sites, buildings, and interior spaces. The 3D laser scanner sends out a laser beam that collects data by measuring the distance of the beam to objects in space.  The scanner assigns distances to these objects by calculating the time of flight of the laser in relation to the known speed of light.  Multiple scans are used to collect data from many vantage points, and these scans are then combined into a single virtual 3D model.  From the 3D model, many types of representational products can be created, including: photo-realistic perspectives and orthogonal views (site plans, floor plans, sections, and elevations), line drawings that meet the Historic American Building Survey (HABS) standards, and animated digital walkthroughs of the site.

Visit to learn more and to view Nantucket products prepared by the University of Florida’s Preservation Institute: Nantucket.”

-2015 Ramblings

“Friday Find”: The Friday Five!

authorbooklgThis week found FIVE events you should all attend! They may not be directly related to preservation and our mission, however we also try our best to connect with the island community by working with other non-profits and participating in community events. One Book One Island (OBOI) is a collaborative project of community partners that seeks to promote reading, literacy, and community by encouraging everyone on Nantucket to read, discuss and reflect upon the same book. Today, we encourage you all to get out there and attend one of the last opportunities to discuss and reflect upon the 2016 book:
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd.


Celebrate Your Family Story Art Project & Story Telling
9AM to 11AM (ongoing)
(for children birth to 5-years old)
Community School, 56 Centre St.

Concert of Spirituals with the Community  
Starting at 6:00PM
Music Center’s Youth and Women’s Choruses
African Meeting House
29 York Street
*off-street parking available at Silver & Pleasant Streets


Family Quilting Workshop
10:00AM to Noon
for children 6 and up and their parents
Artists Association, 24 Amelia Dr.
A free workshop, but registration is required.
Please call 508-228-0722.  Class size limit is 30.

Grimke Sisters Presentation by Louise Knight  
Grimke biographer Louise Knight offers insights into their life
Nantucket Atheneum, 1 India Street.


A Charleston Buffet courtesy of Annye’s Whole Food.
Music provided by The Shepcats.
5pm to 7pm
Nantucket Historical Association Whaling Museum
15 Broad St.

We hope to see you at some of the community events. If you didn’t have the opportunity to read the 2016 book there’s always next year! Make sure to check back next January to learn about the 2017 book and events.

Happy Friday!
-Marisa Holden, Marketing and Events Director