Friday Find: Musical Composition…

This week we found a musical composition titled, Why Old Places Matter by Composer, Eric Nathan. After Nathan spent time in Rome as a 2013 Rome Fellow and met Tom Mayes (author of the essay series “Why Old Places Matter”) he became inspired to create the piece. In a recent post on the National Trust for Historic Preservation Blog Nathan explained:

“I’m still figuring out exactly why and how old places matter to me. My piece was one attempt to try to understand that. So, perhaps my “wordless” answer in my piece might better speak to my evolving emotional engagement with old places.”
-Eric Nathan

Why do old places matter?
Sit back, relax and turn up your volume to hear how Eric Nathan musically answered this exact question.


– Marisa Holden

1 Brock’s Court

1 Brock’s Court
A Brief House History
George Parker, Shoemaker, circa 1848


“Egypt” was an early Nantucket place name that referred to an area around Lily Pond, including the west end of India and Hussey Streets, Brock’s Court, and the sound end of North Liberty and Lily Streets; its exact boundaries are nowhere described. Why it was called Egypt is not known, although it is possible that the palpable darkness of the outskirts of the tightly clustered and more brightly lit town reminded some of a biblical reference: “And the Lord said unton Moses, stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt.” (Exodus 10: 21). Although William Coffin’s 1834 map of the town labels the small lane Brock’s Court, it was later known as Pinkham’s Court because Henry C. Pinkham had a house facing the court on the west side. The name reverted to Brock’s Court in the last half of the twentieth century. Untitled-2In 1879, when Caroline Holmes sold the house at the end of Brock’s Court to Francis H. Brown, the property is described as “land and dwelling in Egypt, formerly the homestead of my uncle George Parker.” George Parker (1790-1861) was a cordwainer, or shoemaker, the youngest of Nathan and Mary Parker’s eight sons. He bought two parcels of land in Egypt from his father in the 1820s, including his father’s house, which stood somewhere near the house at 1 Brock’s Court, but was removed. It appears, both from the Greek Revival style of the house and the fact that ephemera dated 1848 was found beneath the floorboards, that the house was built in the late 1840’s, about the same time that the boat builder Barzillai Burdett built his house at 6 North Liberty, just north of Parker. The one-story building on the north side of Parker’s house may have been his cobbler’s shop.

Francis H. Brown’s family owned One Brock’s Court from 1879 until 1956, when his daughter, Mary P. Chadwick, was unable to pay the mortgage. Nantucket Institute of Savings then sold the house to Franklin and Arlene Bartlett, who held title for just three years before selling the property to Lewis and Ethel Ray in 1959; it remained in the Ray family until 2003.

The most remarkable of the neighboring buildings was a large two-story eighteenth-century structure known in its later years as Field’s Folly, in honor of Thomas B. Field (1813-95) who tried unsuccessfully to get his patented windmill, whose vanes were horizontal rather than vertical, to operate on a tower he built on the east end of the building. Some nineteenth-century photographs of Field’s Folly show the house at 1 Brock’s Court, partially obscured by the large mill building.

Prepared by Betsy Tyler
August 2011

(Text from a Nantucket Preservation Trust published Brief House History)

Friday Find: Preserve recipes…

Preservation, what does it mean to you?

Webster notes to “preserve” means:
to keep (something) in its original state or in good condition
to keep (something) safe from harm or loss
to prevent (food) from decaying

For the culinary minded out there we decided to ask you to find your favorite “preservation recipes”. Nantucket is fortunate to have a climate that allows for cranberries, blueberries and beach-plums to thrive and that are ideal for canning and preserving, but there are many other types of preserve food. Starting today or Now through June 1 we’ll be accepting any recipe that has a “preservation” theme (jams, pickles etc.) or a recipe with a highlighted preserved ingredient. All recipes will be featured on our website in June—Nantucket’s Preservation Month. We’ll be testing them out or will accept prepared recipes (55 Main Street – 3rd floor) and our favorite will receive a special reward! Below are recipes to give you some ideas (click photos for recipe).
We encourage you to join in the fun and to explore what preservation means on Nantucket as we celebrate National Preservation Month. To submit your recipe(s) click here

Jalapeno Bread & Butter Pickles
Fruit Preserve Sandwich Cookies
Sour Cherry Preserves


Thanks to our membership bag sponsor, Bartlett’s Farm you can purchase locally made preserves right here on island and even use them to make a delicious muffin (Recipe courtesy of: Maryjane Mojer, Market Manager)

muffin recipe


– Marisa Holden


Friday Find: GREEN!

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day on Tuesday, March 17th historic architecture will embrace the holiday by turning green! These historic landmarks are all part of the “Global Greening Campaign” which the tourism Board of Ireland began six years ago. This year the campaign has changed a bit and the idea of “greening” has been extended to include websites, shop displays, and anything else one can turn green! The goal is not only to celebrate the holiday, but to encourage overseas heritage tourism. Below are n some well-known landmarks that will turn GREEN:


1. The Rome Colosseum
The Colosseum, constructed in 70 AD and located in the heart of Rome, is an elliptical amphitheater that draws tourists from all around the world.

2. Sacré-Cœur Basilica
The Sacré-Cœur Basilica, also known as Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, is a Roman-Catholic church designed by architect PaulAbadie and took approximately 15 years to build. On Saint Patrick’s Day the building’s travertine stone, which keeps it white will shine, green!

3. The Leaning Tower of Pisa
All 183 feet of the Leaning Tower of Pisa will be lit up green in honor or Saint Patrick’s Day. Construction of the tower, also known as the Bell Tower, began in 1173 and took about 200 years to complete.


Don’t forget to show your pride and join the campaign by turning green! Click here for a complete list of participating United States landmarks. Use hashtag #GoGreen4PatricksDay

– Marisa Holden

Friday Find: A house full of history…

This week we found out that actor Samuel L. Jackson, author Ransom Riggs, and film director Tim Burton have something in common with our organization.

The trio is working on a film titled, Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, based on the novel written by Riggs. Riggs, who created movie trailers in the past, decided to create one for his own film. He traveled to Europe in search of abandoned houses that would bring the words of his novel to life and discovered that the interior of many houses had remained untouched and undisturbed for decades. He then teamed up with photographer Martino Zegwaard to record his discoveries. Together they were able to document and reveal the importance of these abandoned properties. As Riggs states in the intriguing video below, “houses aren’t graves; they’re secret histories waiting to be discovered.” Their discoveries shine a light on what we have always believed, “every historic house has a story to tell.”

Are you interested in discovering your house’s history?
Click here to learn about the benefits of our house history program.

– Marisa Holden