NHA at Home

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During these unprecedented times, the Nantucket Historical Association is sharing digital resources weekly to enrich the lives of our members and friends at home through video lectures, kids activity kits, our transcription program, history articles and more! All the information in our newsletters is being gleaned from the resources presented below. We hope you’ll dive in, enjoy, and give your mind a rest from thinking about today’s challenges.

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Who else is counting down the days until the rose covered cottages are in full bloom? This warm weather is certainly helping!

Pictured here in 1960, two women bike in front of the cottage known as Hearts-Ease, 14 Center Street, in Sconset.

#nantucket #ack #nantuckethistory #ackhistory #sconset #rosecoveredcottages #sconsetcottages #historichomes #nantucketsummer #newengland #newenglandhome #historicphotos #endlesssummer #summerdays #roses #garden #newenglandgardens #rosegardens

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Happy Memorial Day weekend. Although Figawi has been cancelled, we can still explore the history.

Started in 1971 as a challenge between friends to see who would win a sailboat race from Hyannis to Nantucket, Figawi quickly became an opening event for the island season, attracting boaters and spectators from around the region. This image from 1998 shows the horizon speckled with while sails, all racing towards Nantucket to start the celebrations.

Whether it was on the Sound or in the infamous tent downtown, Nantucketers retain vivid (if fuzzy) memories of this festival. The parties are postponed this year, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying the views of the horizon -- at a responsible social distance!

#nantucket #nantuckethistory #ack #ackhistory #museumfromhome #figawi #figawi2020

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Shown here is Yerxa’s Boat Shop, on Straight Wharf, in 1939, which rented skiffs, sailboats, and chartered fishing trips. Sterling B. Yerxa started the business in 1932. By 1949 the fleet numbered over 40 boats including the sport fishing cruiser Dancing Lady, the cruiser Island Lady for bottom fishing, and the catboat Lively Lady.

In the 1950s Yerxa added a second phase to the marine business in Madaket for repair work, refinishing, and boat storage. Yerxa’s Boat Shop was a fixture on Straight Wharf for 24 years, until 1956 when he sold it. The new owners, all summer residents, were J. Winston Fowlkes, John R. Wagley, and Whiting R. Willauer, who planned to continue the renting of sailboats on Straight Wharf, under the new name of Harbor Sales & Service.

Ten years later in 1966 the Straight Wharf building was removed for wharf renovations, and the Madaket boatyard was sold again to a new group of owners to become the Hither Creek Boatyard.

#nantucket #nantuckethistory #ackhistory #ack #straightwharf #historicphotos #blackandwhitephotos

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The removal of the 1925 'Sconset water tower took place in May 2011. Built by the Chicago Iron Works and shipped east, the standpipe was purchased by Nantucket as a used tank. For nearly 50 years the tank was open to the elements.

In 1953 high winds nearly toppled the tank as the interior was being re-coated. Only a rapid filling saved it from crashing down on New Street. A roof was added in 1972 to comply with state regulations.
The new 400,000 gallon tank, built in 2010, at a height of 150 feet, more than doubled the capacity of the old standpipe and increased the water pressure.

Judging by the condition of the interior in this photo, the new tower must have improved the taste substantially too!

#nantucket #nantuckethistory #ackhistory #ack #fromthearchives

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How many people can you fit into a Gazebo? This staple structure on Nantucket’s waterfront has tested the question every year, and always surpasses our expectations!

In the 1960’s Walter Beinecke Jr.’s real estate company, Sherburne Associates, purchased the harborfront properties to repair the dilapidated wharves and piers, transforming the industrial landscape into a picturesque commercial promenade.

Among other renovations, they expanded Straight Wharf and added the Harbor Square across from the A&P grocery store, placing the Gazebo in the center for public entertainment and enjoyment. As part of the Tavern restaurant, the Gazebo has hosted concerts by the Nantucket Community Band, the high-school jazz band, sidewalk art shows, and established a permanent bar for thirsty travelers.

The Gazebo is pictured here in its early days, in 1968, from the vantage point of the oil tanks across the street. This charming establishment has only grown in popularity in the summer seasons, packed to the brim on Figawi weekends, and buzzing with activity late into the summer nights. This season, the Gazebo won’t see it’s typical crowds, but the memories are always alive on Straight Wharf.

#nantucket #ack #nantuckethistory #ackhistory #fromthearchives #historicphotos #figawi #figawi2020

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This object looks small, but has a global history. It is an ivory and silk brisé courting fan, crafted in China around 1800, and brought to Nantucket by Captain Eliakim Gardner as a gift for his wife, Pamela. Here, the fan descended through the Gardner family, gifted as an heirloom to beloved granddaughters, a wedding present for a young couple, and a token of fantastic love.

The images depicted on the fan match this amorous history. A courting couple sits on a grassy bank among doves and butterflies, passing fire between each other – symbols of their passion, desire, and youthful, eternal love. Surrounding the image, the ivory spokes have been intricately carved and inlaid with gold, matching the beauty of anyone who receives the fan.

The fan sits in a box with the inscription, "This is for Mary Myrick Gardner, a present from her grandmother, if she outlives her, May 16, 1821. Pamela Gardner." Almost 199 years past #thisdayinhistory, this fan is still unfolding testimonies of the strong family and community bonds on Nantucket.

#nantucket #ack #ackhistory #nantuckethistory #fromthecollection #museumfromhome #artifacts

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'Sconset began as a quiet village of cod fishermen, and later their families, for many years before it became a popular summer community. Islanders who lived in town during the 19th century often had a Siasconset cottage for summer relief.

The name comes from the Wampanoag word for "place of great bones". In this photo is Alfred Folger, who made ice cream, driving his wagon on New Street. On the right is the 'Sconset Union Chapel, built in 1883, by Charles H. Robinson.

By 1886 the chapel was enlarged because the services were so well attended. It was then and now a desirable wedding venue. ‘Sconset Union Chapel continues to offer nondenominational services.

Photo by Henry S. Wyer.

#Nantucket #nantuckethistory #ack #ackhistory #sconset #fromthearchives #museumfromhome #historicphotos

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This is the house at 10 Broadway in ‘Sconset, known as Shanunga. Built around 1680, it got its name in the mid-nineteenth century after the ship Shanunga of Philadelphia that wrecked in 1852 off the south coast of Nantucket. According to a mention in The New York Times, on Tuesday, March 2, 1852, “The ship Shanunga, of Philadelphia, ashore at Nantucket, was almost entirely demolished by the gale of Saturday night, and all attempts to get her off have been abandoned.”
This image is one of the 38 results that return in a search for “Shanunga,” and is one of the thousands of images in the NHA’s collection that have been digitized. You can view other images in the NHA’s archives on NHA.org by selecting “photograph” as the type of collection under advanced search!

Photo: "Shanunga," 10 Broadway, 1911. GPN4304.

#Nantuckethistory #nantucket #ack #ackhistory #sconset #historicphotos

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The Nantucket Historical Association preserves and interprets the history of Nantucket through its programs, collections, and properties, in order to promote the island’s significance and foster an appreciation of it among all audiences.

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