Histories of Historic Sites

One of the most visible ways in which the NHA accomplishes its mission is through historic preservation. As the owner and steward of 15 historic properties on Nantucket, the organization focuses its efforts and funds on preserving some of the most important and recognized structures on the island, and making them accessible to the public.

Oldest House 1860

Oldest House History

In 1695, when twenty-five-year-old Mary Gardner Coffin looked out the window of her house on Sunset Hill at the eastern edge of the English territory called Sherburne, her vista was wide open.More Read more from Oldest House History

Macy-Christian House, 1890s

Macy-Christian House History

In the early eighteenth century, the town of Nantucket developed near the Great Harbor, where wharves were built as launching sites for Atlantic whaling voyages and for trading voyages to towns along the eastern seaboard.More Read more from Macy-Christian House History

Old Mill 1880s

Old Mill History

Abigail Swain climbed the steep path up the Popsquatchet Hills to the new mill where white sails whipped in the southwest breeze, turning the shaft that set the interior gears in motion to activate the granite mill-wheels.More Read more from Old Mill History

1800 House, ca. 1890

1800 House History

In 1807, Eunice Baxter Lawrence (1770–1859) moved with her husband and four children to a handsome new house on Mill Street, at the southern edge of the town of Nantucket.More Read more from 1800 House History

Old Gaol 1893

Old Gaol History

William H. Chadwick was escorted up the exterior stairs to the second floor of the Old Gaol, where he had a first look at his new residence — the west cell.More Read more from Old Gaol History

Thomas Macy House, 1920s

Thomas Macy House History

Eunice Coffin Macy (1788–1843) was pleased to move from her husband Thomas’s rather modest home on Summer Street to a larger and more stylish house at 99 Main Street.More Read more from Thomas Macy House History

Quaker Meeting House c. 1905

Friends Meeting House History

In 1838, John Boadle opened the door to the new Friend’s Academy on Fair Street, a handsome purpose-built structure that would be his schoolhouse.More Read more from Friends Meeting House History

Research Library, 1900s

Research Library History

Recording secretary Mary E. Starbuck wrote in her 1897 report: “More than anything, we need a fireproof building. More Read more from Research Library History

Hadwen House 1870s

Hadwen House History

William Hadwen stood at the corner of Main and Pleasant Streets and watched the men frame his new house, the edifice that would announce to the town that he was a wealthy man with cosmopolitan tastes.More Read more from Hadwen House History

Thomas Macy Warehouse, 1880s

Thomas Macy Warehouse History

Nantucket’s wharves were a bustling center of activity during the age of sail, where whaleships and trading vessels loaded and unloaded their wares and fitted out for voyages.More Read more from Thomas Macy Warehouse History

Tristram Coffin Homestead Site Marker, 1880s

Tristram Coffin Homestead Site Marker History

The 1881 Coffin Reunion that engendered interest in the homestead of Jethro and Mary Coffin led to a search for the house site of Tristram Coffin (1609–81), one of the original proprietors and the progenitor of the Coffin family in America.More Read more from Tristram Coffin Homestead Site Marker History

Cataract Engine No. 4, ca. 1910

Fire Hose Cart House History

Calamitous fire was a constant threat in a town of closely built wooden houses near refineries and warehouses full of oil.More Read more from Fire Hose Cart House History

Barn that became Greater Light

Greater Light History

The house now known as Greater Light dates to the late eighteenth century, when it was built as a livestock barn for Zaccheus Macy (1713–97) or his son, Richard (1742–1814).More Read more from Greater Light History

Folger-Franklin Memorial, 1890s

Folger-Franklin Memorial Boulder & Bench History

Peter Folger (1617–89) was one of fourteen tradesmen invited by the original proprietors to settle on Nantucket and work in their designated trades in exchange for a half-share of the island.More Read more from Folger-Franklin Memorial Boulder & Bench History

Whaling Museum, 1931

Whaling Museum History

The Whaling Museum is the flagship site of the Nantucket Historical Association’s fleet of properties.More Read more from Whaling Museum History

Eleanor Ham Pony Field, 1890s

Eleanor Ham Pony Field History

Nantucket is a tightly built town, with few dedicated public green spaces. One exception is the small, fenced field on Mill Street.More Read more from Eleanor Ham Pony Field History

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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