Nuts & Bolts: Victorian-Style House

“Victorian-Style House”
September 29 and October 3 Segment

73 Main Street Victorian-Style Nantucket House
73 Main Street Victorian-Style Nantucket House


Victorian architecture was popular throughout the country after the Civil War and gained favor on Nantucket with the rise of the tourist industry in the 1880s. This style embraced ornate decoration, multi paint colors as well as irregular floor plans. Common features included bay windows, cornices supported by sawn brackets, porches with turned posts, and steep gable or mansard roofs with dormers. By the 1920s Victorian architecture was out of fashion and many buildings were stripped of their decorative elements often called gingerbread.

Friday Find: Micro Lofts

micro loft outside

The nation’s oldest indoor shopping mall The Arcade was recently renovated into 48 micro-loft units. The historic building built in 1828 is located between 130 Westminster St and 65 Weybosset St in Providence, Rhode Island’s financial district. It was officially declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976 and added to the list on the National Register of Historic Spaces. The building features Greek revival columns, granite walls and an atrium with a skylight. It has been recognized as one of the best examples of Greek revival architecture in Rhode Island.

historic photo micro lofts
(historic photo of “The Arcade” and its interior shops provided by Rhode Island Collection)

Until its recent renovation the building housed retail shops. Due to the past economic recession many nearby offices in Providences financial district became vacant, leading to little economic income for the shop owners and eventually forcing the building to close. The building’s fate was feared and in 2009 added to Providence Preservation Society’s “10 Most Endangered Building List”. Evan Granoff, owner of The Arcade did not release his plans for the building upon its closure, which lead many to question the building’s fate.

In 2012 Granoff presented his plans to turn the building into modern micro-lofts with a $7 million dollar budget and goal of completion by the fall of 2013. Granoff worked with architect J. Michael Abott to change the second and third floors into 48 micro-loft units and maintained the first floor as a retail shop area. The building was completed in the fall of 2014 and ended up costing a total of $10 million dollars. Granoff’s vision was to target the large market of college students and young professionals in the area, who could benefit from affordable housing. The city of Providence, happy the historic building was saved, reduced the buildings property tax for approximately a decade. This allowed Granoff the ability to charge less for rental space.

micro loftToday, with a wait-list of 4,000+ The Arcade houses 48 micro-loft units with rents starting at $550 per month. Of these units 46 are one-bedroom and start at 225 sq feet. Each unit comes with a built in bed, full bathroom and shower, dishwasher, microwave, half-size fridge and access to shared storage, laundry and a common area. The units due lack a stove, however the retail floor below offers quick access to cafes and coffee shops.

This historical building was one of the first of its kind, an indoor shopping center housing several stores in one building. Ironically it is now one of the first to house several micro-lofts. The design has attracted attention not only from preservationist but also museums. It has been award by Grow Smart Rhode Island the 2014 Outstanding Smart Growth Award, featured in an exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York and also awarded a 2014 Rhody Award. The Arcade is a perfect example of how we can live in our past. Preserving does not mean taking away modern conveniences, which the micro-lofts have revealed.

The video below features an interview with owner and developer Evan Granoff

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.

Featured Article in “Nantucket Home”

We are very happy to have contributed to the Fall issue of Nantucket Home. The magazine, published by Nantucket Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB) includes information on Nantucket real estate and life on the island. The fall issues focuses on Nantucket interiors and features an article written by NPT Executive Director, Michael May  titled: “Saving Nantucket Historic Interiors”. Complimentary copies are available at spots around the island including: Stop & Shop, Nantucket Memorial Airport and real estate offices. Read the NPT article below and don’t forget to pick up a complimentary copy to read the full issue!

Nuts & Bolts: Fish Lots

“‘Fish Lots”
September 22 and September 26 Segment

Did you know that the Fish Lots, an area above the harbor where fisherman dried codfish on wooden racks, was laid out in 1717 as an early subdivision in town? The lots comprised 27 sections—one share for each of the 20 original landholders and one half share for each of the 14 tradesmen’s families. Today this area, which runs generally from Orange to Pine and Main to Silver Streets, is distinguished by narrow lanes lined with closely built houses built for largely for mariners, craftsmen and tradesmen.

Friday Find: Steve Carell’s General Store

77181_152892948089852_8314404_nWelcome to the first post of a new series titled “Friday Find”. The weekly posts will feature unique preservation facts, people, interviews, news and more! You don’t have to be a preservation buff to find these posts interesting! To kick-off the series the first post features an award winning comedian and actor who is most notably known for the NBC series The Office: Steve Carell. Have we sparked your interest yet? What you probably didn’t know about Carell is he, along with his sister-in-law Tish Vivado, has been the owner of Marshfield Hills General Store since 2009. No, this is not your ordinary chain store but rather a 790-square-foot general store that was built in 1853. Carell, who summers in Marshfield Hills, MA saw the opportunity to purchase the store and as quoted, “preserve a little piece of history.” Today, the store is run by Tish Vivado along with nine other employees and it has helped maintain a sense of community for the small town of Marshfield Hills, MA.

After purchasing the store Greg Carell (Steve Carell’s brother) was put in place to supervise the buildings’ restoration. Carell felt preserving the nostalgic business was important and this included proper architectural preservation. We applaud him for making the goal of the NPT, “to preserve our architectural heritage for present and future generations to enjoy.” a reality for another small Massachusetts town. As he was quoted on, “Places like the Marshfield Hills General Store represent a gathering place, and give people a sense of community. These spots are growing more and more scarce. I hope to keep this particular one alive and well”, which is exactly what he has done. The store located at 165 Prospect Street, Marshfield Hills MA is open seven days a week and carries a variety of items including: penny candy, beer/wine, toys, jewelry, groceries, coffee and muffins, and of course your local newspapers. If you happen to be in Marshfield Hills, MA stop in, you may even had the chance to see Carell himself who is known to make appearances from time to time!  Check back next week for the next “Friday Find” you never know what you may learn!

Nuts & Bolts: Federal-Style House

“‘Federal-Style House”
September 15 and September 19 Segment

99 main99 Main Street Federal-Style House

After the American Revolution, new architectural styles emerged including what is known as Federal architecture. This style has symmetrically placed windows and sometimes elegant classical features such as fanlights above the front doors and columned porticos. In later Federal homes, the central chimney gave way to dual chimneys along the roof ridge that eventually were built at opposite ends of the house. Clapboards also came into favor as the material of choice for house fronts. Excellent examples are found today along Main and Orange Streets.

Find Everything Historic Article…

10450826_703270353074269_3777107460658481756_nFind Everything Historic is the first real estate, travel, and lifestyle site exclusively dedicated to historic properties. The business connects historic property enthusiasts with an authentic and unique historic property experience. Whether you are looking to buy, sell, rent, vacation, invest or simply have interest regarding historic properties they offer a service. The most recent blog post titled: “Live” With A Next Generation Preservationist features our first full-time scholarship recipient, Chris O’Reilly.

Click here to read the blog and learn more about Find Everything Historic.

Five Questions for a Tour Guide…

Each summer we welcome two interns from the Preservation Institute Nantucket (PIN) to help with various tasks. One of these tasks is to guide weekly architectural walking tours of down town Main Street. The 2014 interns Sal Cumella and Briane Shane gave guided walking tours beginning in June and ending in August. Below, Sal Cumella answers five questions regarding his experience as a walking tour guide.

photo1. How did you land the position as an NPT walking tour guide?
I was made aware of the tour guide position from previous NPT interns. They told me about how much they enjoyed giving the tours and I thought it would be a great way to interact with people and Nantucket’s history.

2. What was your most memorable walking tour experience?
Tours with children were always the most memorable for me. Adults tend to be more restrained and might not ask questions for fear of sounding silly. Children often had the most honest and thought provoking questions.

3. Was there any common questions and/or misconceptions the tour groups had of Nantucket architecture or Nantucket in general?
The most common question by far was about the cobblestones on Main Street. There are many myths about where the stones came from and why. They are such a character defining feature of Main Street that everyone wants to know their story.

4. What did you find the most valuable or interesting item learned during your time as a walking tour guide?
One of the most valuable lessons I learned while giving NPT tours was how valuable the tours can be as an educational tool. The tour often would begin broader discussions of preservation, architecture, economics, and social issues. Nantucket makes an excellent classroom for talking about all of these issues.

5. If you could make sure each tour attendee left with one fact or important piece of information what would that be?
One of the things I would try to instill upon attendees was that Nantucket is such a special place because of its strong ties to its cultural heritage and its sense of place. This has been preserved because of efforts early on to maintain this heritage. I always challenged attendees to think about what cultural heritage resources they had in the towns they were from and how they were being promoted and protected.


*For more information on the seasonal walking tours click here

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)