House History: 51 Centre Street

51 Centre Street, ca. 1890s. GPN4227.

This noteworthy house, at 51 Centre Street, was built for Peter Folger, by Jethro Hussey about 1765.

The three-story style was very unusual for Nantucket. At the time, the house would have had a spectacular view from the top of the Centre Street hill overlooking Brant Point, the harbor, and the channel. Originally, the house had a flat roof. This was changed prior to 1815, and later a roof walk was added.

It was owned and occupied by the Folger family for nearly 200 years, from 1765 to 1955! The original owner was known as Peter Folger the 4th, a descendant of Peter Folger the 1st, one of the initial settlers on Nantucket. Peter the 1st’s daughter Abiah, would become the mother of Benjamin Franklin.

It is interesting to note that Centre Street was laid out in 1678, when the Weso Acre lots were divided, and so it was one of the first ways opened within the present town limits.


 

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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