Hadwen House


The Hadwen House has limitations of authentic 19th-century architecture. The public spaces of the house are entered from a path with two steps and the front porch which has three steps with a handrail.

The Hadwen House is wheelchair-accessible on the first floor.  An elevator lift is available for use through the back garden entrance from Pleasant Street..  The second floor of Hadwen House is not wheelchair accessible at this time.

Service animals are welcome to visit the Hadwen House. We follow the Federal government’s guidelines on service animals. The NHA welcomes dogs that are individually trained to perform a task or work for a person with a disability, but please leave pets at home.

There is a restroom on the first floor available for Historic Site visitors.

About the Hadwen House

The Hadwen House is a Greek Revival mansion built in 1846 by whaling merchant and silver retailer William Hadwen at the peak of Nantucket’s prosperity as the whaling capital of the world. The home is one of the most elaborate examples of Greek revival architecture on the island and the only publicly accessible mansion of its age in the area.

Hadwen purchased the property on the corner of Pleasant and Main in 1844, and commissioned local builder Frederick Brown Coleman, “an artisan who specialized in intricate carvings and designs for pillars,” to construct the two-and-a-half storied clapboard house with a five-bayed façade, colossal pilasters, and a pedimented ionic portico.

The beautifully-proportioned building and its twin Greek Revival mansion at 94 Main Street were the most ostentatious private dwellings the island had ever seen, and a symbol of the wealth and prosperity of the island’s leading citizens. The imposing structure was donated to the Nantucket Historical Association in 1963 by Jean Satler Williams.

In 1964, the Hadwen House was opened to the public as a house museum, and today continues to host visitors. Further preservation projects will allow NHA to expand on the building’s use and public access.

The Hadwen House currently has various exhibitions on display exploring Nantucket lightship baskets, Decorative Arts, as well as historic Nantucket maps.  Learn more here.

Visitors are also invited to enjoy the ground’s Victorian garden, typical of mid-19th century gardens with an enclosure, border designs, plant variety and succession of blooms with fruit trees and sand paths. The garden is carefully maintained by the Nantucket Garden Club.

Learn more about the history of the Hadwen House

What You Will Experience

Embrace the opportunity to own a piece of Nantucket’s maritime heritage – whether as a memento of your island getaway or a cherished gift for a loved one. These baskets carry a rich history, originating from 19th-century sailors who crafted them on lightships. Today, skilled artisans continue this tradition, weaving each basket by hand. Discover the charm and craftsmanship of Nantucket Lightship Baskets at Hadwen House, a direct link to the island’s maritime heritage.

This exhibit traces the development of Nantucket lightship baskets from their 19th-century origins to the diverse traditional and experimental forms being created by the island’s weavers today.

Explore the Decorative Arts collection of the NHA, from fine furniture, tall clocks, and ceramics to an eclectic display of curiously carved artifacts.

Visions of Nantucket: Cottage Cities that Never Were, presents a selection of late 19th-century maps designed to promote a new form of residential development—the cottage city.

Hadwen House, ca. 1870, photographer Charles H. Shute & Son

The Hadwen House stands today much as it was when it was built. Hover shows the mansion, ca. 1870 (GPN-schute-50)

Enjoy the beautiful Victorian garden, maintained by the Nantucket Garden Club, and offering a stunning venue for weddings and private events. Click on the image for a quick tour of the garden.

Private Events at the Hadwen House

We ask all of our visitors to conduct themselves in a respectful way at all NHA properties in accordance with the Code of Conduct and all laws and local ordinances.

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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