Methodist Church, Nantucket, Massachusetts


Material Information

Methodist Church, Nantucket, Massachusetts
Physical Description:
Mixed Material
Conrad, D.
Klingberg, B.
Rainey, M.
Preservation Institute: Nantucket
Department of Architecture, University of Florida
Place of Publication:
Nantucket, MA
Publication Date:


41.283286 x -70.09997

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All rights reserved by the source institution.
System ID:

Full Text

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he methost church nantucketma.

preservation institute -nantucket- 1981

'the' methodist church nantucket~ma.
preservation institute: nantucket -1981

d conard
b klimgberg
m rainey

(.P 106 W -A

interpretive study
the methodist church

The Centre Street Methodist Church of Nantucket was first surveyed

and documented in the summer of 1969 by a team of the Historic American

Building Survey under the supervision of F. Blair Reeves, FAIA, as project

dir-econ. Copied of the HABS documents including a brief history of the

church and an outlined description of the physical characteristics of the

structure are included as Appendix A to this paper. The set of drawings

prepared by the team was comprised of a locator map of Nantucket Center

at 300'=1 the main floor plan, balcony plan, east and south elevations

all at 1/8"=1 '0" scale, an axonometric view and elevation of a main roof

truss of the hip roof, and details of the windows, doors, and Ionic column


Rather than duplicate information, we will by this project, attempt

to supplement the previous survey with further investigations into the original

fabric and early configurations of the Church interior. To that end, we have

surveyed and measured the foundations and floor framing evident in an unfinished

section of the basement, examined the patterns of shadow marks in the sanctusry

flooring, and detailed the structure and roofing materials of both the 1823

and the 1840 roofs. The six plates in HABS format resulting from this documenta-

tion have been reduced and included as Appendix B to this paper.

Archival research relying heavily on Church records held by the Peter

Folger Museum and in the possession of members of the Church, was undertaken

to explain the sequences of modifications to the building. Special acknow-

ledgement must be given not only to Mrs. Louise Hussey of the Peter Folger

Archives who helped us discover the first volume of Trustee Records, but also

to Mrs. Charlotte King who has in her possession a sea chest filled with many

of the records, documents and correspondence of the congregation. Mrs. King

was most helpful with her recollections of modifications undertaken during

this century by her father, Mr. Norman Giffin, and others. Thanks must also

-1 -

go to Mr. Reggie Reed and Mr. Arnold Small who were part of the crew in 1949

that did extensive renovations and painting inside the church, and who both

gave us helpful interviews. Mr. and Mrs. Fred Cook must be given credit for

providing us with continual access to the church property over a seven week

period, providing the contacts with some of our other sources and contributing

their knowledge of the Church's evolvement. Thanks to these persons we were able

to outline the history of the Church in much greater detail although there

still remain significant gaps and shrouded areas that may be enlightened at

a later date.

Consultants during the documentation process included Professor F. Blair

Reeves, FAIA, of the University of Florida who headed that original survey and

was able to guide us toward the proper areas of concern in this project.

Misters Hershel Shepard, FAIA, Dick Frank, AIA, and Paul Buchanan, each with

their own areas of expertise, helped us to discover important clues hidden

throughout the building.

In an attempt to trace the physical appearance of Centre Street

United Methodist Church throughout its 150 year history, it is necessary

to look at the different areas of the Church separately. The areas of concern

presented in separate sections of this study are:

1.- The original appearance and subsequent alterati ons

2- The interior reorientation and other changes

3- The heating and lighting system

4- Use and expansion of the basement


Paul Buchanan,
consultant on the project


1- The original appearance and subsequent alterations to the exterior

After Dr. Oliver C. Bartlett, one of Nantucket's leading Methodists,

acquired the Centre Street property from Peleg Mitchell in 1822a, Plans

were immediately begun to build the new Church on the site. The Trustees

Records of 1822-1906 records a 'contract for the 1823 church' on Sept 6,1822,

as follows:

foundation wall to be 65 x 75
start with good broad stones, for purpose of withstanding the weight
of the heavy building
the trench is to be dug deep enough to fill up four inches of sand
to the bottom stone
a stone wall of 18 inches deep, 18 inches thick,
20 inches on the north side and painted on the outside 6 inches from
the top with lime mortar
good brick on top, one foot thick with lime mortar'a

'The Inquirer and Mirror' on October 8, 1822 reported that 'The cornerstone

of the New Methodist Church in this place was laid yesterday. 'f and although no

architect was named specifically through our research, a Nathanial Rand was

mentioned in the Trustee Records as having been contracted on April 23, 1823

to inpect the foundations.a The entire south foundation and portions of the east

and west are accessible at this time in the basement of the Church. It appears

that the builders did follow the contract closely, although the exterior dimen-

sions actually measure 64'- 6" x 76'-6". The brick foundation laid in American

bond, does indeed measure 12 inches thick; much of the original mortar remains

in the south foundation where excavations are incomplete, although quite a bit

had been replaced due to water and frost damage over the years. Square holes

12 x 12 inches were left in the foundation wall for ventilation, although

some have been later filled in.

The east facade of the Chapel, as the new church was called, is described

in the Trustee Records in several different entries. First, in the Sept. 6, 182 2

contract, there are called for 'four windows to the east front, 2 below and 2


above'.a On August 13, 1823, they asked to 'have steps similar to those

attached to the South Congregational Church except add nailing at each end

instead of steps descending at each end'.a Although the doors were not speci-

fically mentioned, a description of the fence before the Church alludes to the

placement of the doors.

'the fence on the south side-to extend forty feet westward
north-extend twenty six feet
both rounded to form a semicircle and a gate opposite each door.
The north and south gate to be five feet wide and the middle six feet wide'a

The doors of the Church today are four feet wide with the center door six

feet wide with a double hung door; however, an earlier four foot wide doorsill

below the sill of the 1840 center door is visible in the furnace room of the

basement. The sill of the south door, in the unfinished area of the basement,

is also visible and is four feet wide.

the 1823 door sill

It is not clear as to the size, number, positioning or even the existence

of windows in the elevations other than the east facade, as that facade is the

only one mentioned in the Trustees Records. Indeed the spacing of the windows

on the south and north semm to be more in proportion to the Greek Revival altera-

tions than related to the posts visible in the interior. The relationship of

the windows to the posts is clearly shown in the first floor plans of the

HABS team survey. It would be interesting to examine the exterior sheathing


on the next occasion of reshingling to discover if there are any traces of

patching that would allude to having repositioned the windows at the time of

the Greek Revival alterations.

There are several references to the painting of 'uprights' in 1823 and

1830; however, it is not clear as to what the Trustees were referring. The

1823 entry mentions the uprights separately from another entry concerning

the painting of the interior; the 1830 entry refers to paining them at the same

time as a note 'to white lead sashes and paint steps'.a

Other entries of note concerning the original exterior of the Chapel

include one of May 27, 1832, that the 'spouts need to be cleared'.a These

apparently was a cistern near the southeast corner, collecting the draining

rain water fr s a roof, carried by the spouts. There are no traces of

cisterns in the downtown area today.

sheathing, plaster and
shingles on the hip roof

The gip roof, completely intact under the gable roof, is the most dis-

tinctive feature remaining of the early church. Because the gable roof was

built supported on jack rafters rising from the old roof, the hip has been

protected entirely from weathering for 140 years and still has its original

wood shingles. The roofing of the hip consisted of one inch thick sheathing,

often as much as 20 inches wide, spanning 3'-4", covered with a ," layer

of plaster, onto which were nailed the 18 inch long shakes with a 5 inch

exposure. This lime plaster has no animal hair binder, but has a heavy sand

content. Imprints in the plaster indicate that the shingles were nailed to

while the plaster was still damp. No nailers were used between the sheathing

and the shingles; the cut shingle nails extend through the sheathing in places.

The layer of plaster remains an enigma in that it is the only example of such

a process that we know. Plaster was used in southern regions under clay tile

but not under wood shingles. It is possible that the plaster was intended

as a fire protection device to prevent the sheathing from catching in the

event that the shingles were on fire.

The structure of the hip roof was partially described and documented by

the HABS team; the axonometric focuses on the mortise and tenon connections,

without detailing the interior structure of the joints, and the elevation

is of the center king post truss. There are three of these trusses supporting

the 13 foot ridge. The east and west faces of the hip are supported by three

pair of trusses diminishing in heights- with the same length- all related

to the main truss. The rafters of the hip do not rest on the top chord of

these shorter trusses except at the point, instead they rest on small jack


rafters extending up from the top chord.

Between the trusses that are 6'-6" o.c. are intermediate rafters to support
the sheathing; the rafters are tied with collar beams at third points.
These collar beams are actually in compression due to the downward deflection
of the rafters.

the collar beam between "j 1
two rafters .r

,H tv

a dragon beam in the corner
of the hip


The structural condition of the last bay of the roof ( the east and

west ends) are also worthy of note. Ten inch square outlookers,in conjunction

with dragon beams at the corners, form a horizontal truss between the sill

and the last ceiling beam. This last beam is not a vertical truss, but

merely has short jack rafters up to the rafters which are less than four feet

above the beam.

The floor joists nailed to the bottom of the trusses hold rived lath

that runs transversely across the structure ( north to south). The lath

curves down at the junction with the walls on curved cut joists. The original

plaster is but tenously held in place; there is very little key left.


The chimney, set against a king post,
pierces the roof in the west hip face.

The chimney in the west end of the roof, hung by metal straws on sleepers

laid between the trusses, may have been built originally with the Church in 1823.


The trustees decided in August, 1823, 'to have such stoves as are in the meeting

house at Providencela. Another entry of late 1838 asks to 'have the chimney

rebuilt at the west end to receive the stovepipe'a of a new stove purchased

to replace two older ones.a There is a curious pile of bricks up on the ridge

beam of the hip, possible leftovers from this rebuilding, or from removal

of the top exposed part of the chimney vaich, curiously,does not penetrate

the gable.

Toward the end of the 1830's, the church began to feel the need for

major repairs to their building. In April, 1838, the Trustees called for

'partial repairs on the roof' and in August of that year, recognized the

necessity to repair or rebuild new steps'.a On April 21, 1840, a major

entry concerning the need for repairs was written:

'the roofs need rebuilding
gutters also need to be renewed
sidewalks on south and east side, especially east,are in bad condition
front fence needs to be renewed
recommend that north end of the front yard to be dug to admit a path-
way to the vestry, level from the east sidewalk'
mention of other repairs needed of minor importancea

In May a committee was formed to find estimates for major repairs and in

June,1840, the Trustees were requested by the Church members to proceed

'to alter the House on the outside and finish it in the same style as the

Atheneum...,a. The Atheneum, a Greek Revival structure built in 1825, as yhe

First Universalist Church and Society, was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1846,

but was rebuilt a year later, almost exactly as it had been.

The work was done quickly over that summer so that on October 31, 1840,

'The Inquirer and Mirror' reported under a heading of 'Public Improvements':

'With a highly commendable regard for the comiliness of their houses
of worehip, the proprietors of the Methodist Episcopal Chapel at the
corner of Centre and Liberty Streets, we perceive, have lately added
to that edifice a magnificent portico, supported by a collonade of six
ponderous Doric pillars, giving to the whole structure an imposing
and strikingly beautiful appearance. They have also made corresponding
alterations and improvements in and around the enclosure at the entrance


of the Chapel. The design and execution of this work, reflects great
credit on the architect, Mr. F. B. Coleman.'f

The 'pillars' are Ionic, a dageurotype from the early 1840's. Capturing

corner of the Methodist Church in a scene of Main Street, shows the Chapel

as it was after the alterations and before the fire.2 The cornice level

was raised up seven feet by the addition of a wooden entabulature, from which

The Methodist Church and
Main Street before the
Great Fire of 1846.

the new gable roof sprung. The ridge rested,in part, directly on the hip ridge

and on the ends was constructed with a proper ridge beam that abutted the hip.

It is possible to see the connection of the two ridges through the scuttle

opening in the hip accessible by a ladder. Between the ridge and the entablature,

the rafters of the gable are supported by jack rafters toenailed directly

onto the shingled roof with small pieces of scrap wood nailed on as a footing.

-,. Z.


It is possible to see the connection of the two ridges through the scuttle

opening in the hip accessible by a ladder. Between the ridge and the entabla-

ture, the rafters of the gable are supported by jack rafters toenailed directly

onto the shingled roof with small pieces of scrap wood nailed on as a footing.

The alterations included the wide corner pilasters, the widening of the

frint center door to six feet, the addition of three windows above the doors

on-the east, and the application of door and window frames with moldings

suitable to the Greek Revival. The windows to the north and south are in

the style of the earlier construction. The dageurrentype shows the east facade

of the church without white paint; only the trim and portico are painted.

The underside of the portico originally was decorated with some form

of coffering; some of the mioldings are still visible from below, between

the boards placed at a later date. In the attic, can be seen the back side

of the lath and plaster of the original portico ceiling.

Another interesting note is that there do not appear to be any downspouts

on the south facade of the church. It is possible that the cisterns earlier

mentioned, were no longer in use by this time, and it was no longer necessary

to channel water from the roof at this point. It is also possible

that there were downspouts on the rear of the church, not visible in the


All of the historical accounts of the Church report interior modifications

at the smae tome as the exterior alterations. However, upon reading the Trustees

Records, it becomes evident that the interior work was not done until five

years later, in 1845. This work will be presented in the section concerning

the interiors, to follow.

Little modification has been made to the building since the major

alterations of 1840. The building was slightly damaged during the Great

Fire of 1846, which literally stopped at its doorstep. On July 16, 1846,


the Trustees voted to 'attend to necessary repairs caused by the fire,

about 245.37'a and on August 24, 1846, decided to make the roofs of the Chapel

accessible in case of fire, 'by placing a walk on the ridge'.a It is not

clear if this 'walk' was ever actually constructed, but there is a signature

in the rafters of the hip roof, 'Charlie Parker, Aug 25, 1846', an interesting

coincident of dates.

Work on the Church exterior has been limited mostly to maintenance,

painting, and reshingling of the roof and walls. The first reference to painting

was in April,1844, 'paint the outside and the Hall'a, but whether that referred

to painting the entire east facade or just the trim is not specified. At

some point mid-century, the east front was painted; in 1863 there is a record
of 'two new coats of paint on front'a

The portico columns needed frequent repair, as well as painting,-and

their bases and pillars were objects of much concern. In 1851, the brick

pillar 'under the north column!.a was repaired and it has been repointed since

then, as recently as the 1960's. The bases of the columns most probably were

wood, and their deterioration prompted the Trustees in 1858 to 'ascertain

for stone bases for the columns'a. Again, execution of the work is uncertain.

The column bases are all now of cast concrete; the molds for the bases are

in the basement.

At the turn of the century, more extensive maintenance was done on the

exterior of the Chapel. From the pastor's report to the 4th Quarterly

Conference held March 5, 1904, comes the following;

Now perhaps it will not be out of place to give an account of the
repairs and improvements, as carried on by the building committee as
elected...The first part of the work consisted in repairing the front
of the Church, the columns and their bases, with brick work being in
a perfectly dilapidated state, the putting up of the olnw gutters, the
old ones being completely rotted out, the painting of all this work,
and the front of the Church and entering the sewer, cost $937.00 without
discounts; the work itself made work which had to be done, making it
$1000,00. ,b


And from 1909 comes another report from a pastor to a Quarterly Conference:

A part of the south side and west end of the church has been resillod
and the foundations relayed. Where the old sill had decayed, the Church
had settled and we found it necessary to raise it and in doing so, the
plastering inside the auditorium rgom was cracked and necessitated
repairing and that has been done.'

The repairs to the sill are still very evident in the exposed section of the

basement. New brick piers had been built out from the foundation inside

the southwest corner to help support the floor beams. The new sill on the

south wall, is of wood, a large timber but not hand hewn, and is spliced

into the old sill approximately eight feet from the west wall. The southern

end of the west sill has been replaced a second time, perhaps when the major

excavations were being done in the 1960's. '

the south sill of wood
and west sill of concrete

In the most recent period of exterior renovations, the entire wooden

porch had been rebuilt and new supports of concrete block built underneath.

Painting of the front and trim, and repointing of some of the brick on

the piers under the columns was also done at this time.

In conclusion, the church has had two different appearances over its

lifetime; the first, a shortlived traditional meeting house with uncertain

details, the second, a fully articulated Greek Revival appearance. The

building has had no major changes in its exterior detail since 1840, but

has under gone continuous minor maintenance. The existence of the hip roof


beneath the gable roof and the special details of the roofing materials

are a special factor in the architectural significance of the building.


2- The interior: reorientation and other changes

The interior of the Methodist Church has undergone at least two major

conversions and several minor alterations. When built in 1823, the pulpit and

altar had been on the east ans after the exterior renovations were made in 1840,

the interior was reoriented to face the west. Then, in 1904, a major space

was constructed above the vestibule and extends into the sanctuary space at

the balcony level to provide space for Sunday School and social services.

The minor alterati ons included alterations in the pulpit, additions of

stairs, and doors, and conversions for various heating systems.

The Contract for thd 1823 Church listed the following provisions for the

interior of the Church:

'panel the front of the gallery, curled on the pulpit
one pair of stairs out of light wood back front
mahogany railing and bannister down the altar
120 pews on the lower floor, each eight by three feet
the gallery is to be finished with free seats
$100.00 per pew will be the average'a

Other entries referring to the interior prior to 1844, include a note to

varnish the mahogany, have 'cushions in the pulpit covered with green damask

silk',-'make a table for the altar', 'paint the front of the gallery and the

pulpit', 'put blind doors to the Chapel', form a 'committee for cutting an aisle

between the male and female singers of the Chapel', and 'to cause doors to be made
and put up to the gallery stairs in the Chapel'. The description of the chapghs

proposed in 1844 shed more light on the original features of the interior

and read:

'alteration of pulpit:
can be placed in the west end of the House
the west gallery taken out
the pews turned to face the west
the floor made level by lowering the west end
four or more pews added to the present number

The location of the 'lofty pulpit', as it is referred to in later hist-

ories, is still up to conjecture. Its position in the east is certain but as

the flooring indide the sanctuary has been relayed several times, any marks

from the pulpit have been obliterated.

The pews were built integrally with the flooring system. Floor beams,

running across the body of the church, were notched for floor joists (just

over two feet on center), that in turn supported the floor boards. Within

the areas of the pews, the floor boards ran north-south across the Church, but

the side aisles were framed out and the joists turned the opposite direction

so that the floor could run longitudinally (east-west). This is documented in

the project drawings in Appendix B of this paper. A slot was cut in the edge

of the aisle flooring, 1 x 17 inches, to accept the end board of the pews; this

can be seen clearly at the west end of the south aisle where the pews were

removed in 1844.

the framing of the side aisle
with clear marks of hand hewn beams

The center back post of each pew is set into a hole cut out of the floor

boards; it is this detail that enables us to read the areas of original flooring

in the sanctuary. When the pews were turned, the posts were cut off level to

the floor, leaving the end of the post to plug the hole. Locating each plug


on a plan of the sanctuary indicates that the center section of flooring,

12 feet from the west wall extending 45 feet to the east, has not been altered;

the post marks are all in line in both directions and equally spaced- except

for variations of an inch or two caused by the posts not being plumb and the

pew backs not being perfectly in line. A portion of these center pewa can

be seen from the underside in the basement, and it is evident that the original

floor framing is still in place,

a post plug approximately
4, 1..... "' ---- 1 3/4" x 3 1 /4

under the center section of pews

Twelve feet from the west wall, extending from side Zisle to side aisle,

is the mark of the back of a section pf pews; on the south there is a one

inch wide shadow on the surface of the floor board and in the north, an inch

wide patch rMnning across the floor. (The center is inacessable due to the

carpeting.) It is possible that the west end pews that were lowered in 1845,


were behind the center section, separated by the space of an aisle and up

against the back wall of the church.

In the summer of 1844, the subject came up as to an alteration of the

altar in the Chapel and it was decided that any changes of the altar would

be impractical without other changes occurring at the same time.a The

aforementioned modifications were planned in August of that year and in February

of 1845, were approved. It was decided at that time, the work would be paid

for by selling the four additional pews (gained by the alteration) and by

'gratuitous subscription' without any taxing of the pews. (The exterior

renovations of five years earlier had been financed by a 6% tax on the pews,

as were many other alterations and repairs.) An early'drawing of the pew layout,

made the time of the changes in 1845, shows the pews much as they are today.e

The four pews that were added, were removed by 1893 when stairs from the balcony
and down into the basement were constructed. Eight pews were removed from t

east end of the center section in 1874, -to provide space for two new stoves.a

Although the reference in 1844 in the Trustees Record is to making the

floor levela, specifically in the west where apparently a section of pews

were raised, it seems that the raising of the side pews and the stepping

stepped pews
specially cut
piece of board


of the back pews was also done at this time. There are no references to any

such major construction after 1845. The raising was done on the side aisles

by cutting the joists that had been mortised in to the floor beams,

notching new joists above the beams and mpplacing the flooring; thereby

lifting the section three inches. The rear portion was stepped at the

insertion of a stringer, stepped in three inch increments, above the beam.

This condition has been detailed in section with the documentation drawings.


How could the plugs in the flooring be straight? Could the floor boards

of the side sections also be set a, an angle? The joists underneath were

probably always straight; therefore, if the boards had been laid angled,

there should be old nailholes diagonally across each board. Amazingly,

a quick check showed each board to have two, and sometimes three holes,

square without nails. So filled with dust and dirt, they were almost hidden,

they located on an angle approximately where the joists would have crossed.

Taking measurements of the holes found them to be an average angle of 18

degrees. Further examination of the ends of the floor boards, showed

six incidents where a small corner of the board was cut off, again with

a few degrees of 18. One board in the seventh pew from the west, south aisle,

has a triangular notch near the center o? the end with a neatly drawn pencil

line marking the proper angle. A board in the north section, has a triangular

patch three feet and almost one foot on its two sides.

Using the 18 degree angle and the width of the existing pew doors,

a diagram can be drawn showing the pewa and floor boards at an angle.

The posts of the pew backs remain perpendicular with the pews, so that when

the boards are taken up, trimmed and played straight, the plugs are also
straight; however they are closer together than the ones in the center.


There is the answer then to the first question.

The framing out of the side aisles, curious because the center aisle

is not framed out in the same fashion, where the floor also runs longitudinally,

appears as a consciuos provision for extra support for the ends of those

diagonal floor boards. The angle cut off the pew seat becomes a connection

to the wall.

the post on west ll,
which could have helped
to support the gallery

Because of the reference to removing it in 1845, we know a west

gallery had existed prior to that date. There is an intermediate post

on either side of the west wall on line with the front edges of the north

and south galleries. This is visible from below in the u :<:ished portion

of the basement. It appears that the second piers in from the west wall,

although they are boxed over square, were notched away just below the top

edge of the balcony. This is where a beam could have angled down, in

conjunction with a beam from the west post, to support the corner of the

west balcony. The balcony would -rK. have been approximately eight feet

wide, narrower than the width of the north and south balconies.

An entry in the Trustees Record of 1832, notes that a Perez Jenkins

had agreed to put a vestry in the gallery for public prayer meeting and

singing It is not clear where they refer.


The Trustees called for 'free seats' in the galleriesa Those that

exist there now are straight backed benches of two different types,

distinct from the pews below; it is possible thay were salvaged from another

church, or perhaps the Fair Street Church.

Access to the gallery at this time, and until a second dtair was

added in 1904, was by a single flight of stairs in the southeast corner
of the vestibule, referred to in the Contract for the 1823 Church.

In 1844, a door which remains today, was put over the stairs at the first

landing, a

The original east gAllery, as wide as the vestibule, has been

concealed by the 1904 construction of the 'upper vestry'. A 1901 photograph,

in the HAB2 documentation, shows the front of this- allery as having a

shallow projection of perhaps ten to twelve feet wide in the center and

a curved corner where the gallery connects to those of the north and south.

This curved conneotion could have occurred on all four corners of the

gallery, although there is no physical evidence to support it. The front

edge of the gallery had coffered panelling which was painted with the rest

of the trim. In the 1901 photo, the front of the gallery appears to be dark

stained and polished mahogany; however paint samples taken indicate that

this was a layer of very dark reddish brown paint. This color was used on

the boxed piers, door sills, wainscoting, and also on the cast iron columns

supporting the balconies, around the turn of the century.

The cast iron columns that support the north and south galleries

were most probably added in the 1845 alterations, for two reasons:

(1) the use'of cast iron was limited before that time, i.e. in the 1823

construction, and (2) there are large patches in the flooring at the base

of the columns that are a different on-center spacing than the existing columns.

This possibly indicates placement of earlier columns, perhaps of wood.

column base at north aisle,
west end

The location of the choir in the gallery, or elsewhere, is unknown.

In 1836, there was a committee formed 'for cutting an aisle between the

male and female singers of the Chapel'a, but again, there is no physical

evidence of this change.

The Appleton Organ, purchased by the Ladies Aid and the Wesleyan

Society for the Church in 1858, was installed in the east gallery in 1859.

It remained there until 1893. The west wall behind the altar had remained

plain since the alterations of 1845. A second wall had been built over

the original west wall, possibly when the balcony was removed,to cover
the breaks in construction. An arched niche, about fourteen feet tall,


was formed behind the altar. There is no mentionn of it being decorated

until a minister's report at a Quarterly Conference stated that between

1878 and 1880, .a trompe.l'oeil 'frescoe(d) back of the pulpit'e inside

the niche and a border painted round the opening. This fresco, hidden

when the organ was moved in front of it in 1893, is still visible from

a vantage point above and to the side of the organ. It is also partially

visible between the pipes of the organ. There are three Corinthian

columns supporting a doubled arch. The 'floor' between the columns is

painted to recede, giving the trompe-l'oeil effect. The fresco, however,

does not fill the entire space of the niche; the sides feathering off about

a foot away from the edge. This leads us to believe there may have been

some kind of concealment at the sides of the niche.

The decorative border is still visible at the top of the arch where it

has not been painted over. About eight inches wide and comprised of

several rows of painted moldings and beads, it is topped with a swirled design.

evidence of the double
wall on the west

At the turn of the centu,-y, the Methodist Church felt the need for

additional space for its Sunday School and other activities. In attempting

to meet this need, the east balcony was extended out over the sanctuary,

approximately 17 feet, and enclosed as an upper.vestry. This work included

the installation of a major staircase in the north of the vestibule,

completely blocking the north door of the east front. Access from the original

gallery stair was probably closed off at this time. The vestry remains

much as it was when built, except that it has been given over to the

a ~ a r~- ------------

? " 11



Arts Association for their use; a stage has been built over the altar area

and the communion rail, altar, and pulpit removed (They now sit in the

south balcony.).

Upper Room with temporary
puppet show stage

an early view of the choir
from a postcard, 1911;
the platform had been built
in 1893

For its 150th anniversary in 1949, there were major interior

renovations done to the Church. Mr. Edgar Jenny, the interior designer

of the Parliment Building in Toronoto, designed the white coffered enclosure

for the choir behind the altar. (According to Mrs. Charlotte King remarks

that before the rail was put up, the view of the choir was so disconcerting

'veu had to shut both your eyes'.) Additional steps were put up to the

altar platform by Mr. Reggie Reed.

Because of fire code regulati ons, a second stair from the balcony

was required and built in the southwest corner of the sanctuary.

The corner pews had already been removed when a door was placed in

the west end, opposite the side aisle, perhaps in 1904 when various renovations



the 1949 construction

were occurring. The door does not appear in the 1901 photo and is made

of matched and beaded siding, which was most widely in use between

1880- 1912. (Shadows of the corner pew backs remain in the wainscoting,

cut through by the later doorsill.) Another stair down to the basement

on the northwest corner was also built in 1949 (Mr. Reggie Reed was on

this crew.), and an exit door to the west was installed, with panic hardware,

at the intermediate landing.

;, -- -. MEM


The entire interior of the sanctuary was painted in 1949, by a crew

who signed their names and the dates on a stud behind the organ. Included

was Mr, Arnold SmAll, who was then in his early twenties; his father,

Oswald Small, was the crew leader. Mr. Small recounted how they worked

on a scaffolding built to roll along the edge of the gallery, large

enough to carry five men across the width of the Church. Mr. Small

also reported, before they could do any painting, they had to wash the ?

calcimined ceiling, as the new paint would not have adhered to the old

layer of powdering whitewash.

-2 -

3- Heating and lighting systems

It is difficult to ascertain exactly what types of heating systems
were used and in what locations, during the evolution of the Church.
There are many references to the cleaning of the stoves and stovepipes,
and only a few entries as to the actual placement of these. The chimney
that is suspended in the west end of the old hip roof, was used in conjunction
with one, or possibly two, stoves, probably located near the west wall
behind the main body of pews. The Trustees in 1823, decided to have
'such stcres as are in the meeting house at Providence',a Apparently,
these, or some similar type, was purchased, as there is mention of
stove repairs as early as 1830.a In 1838, two stoves were exchanged for
one 'at the vestry', with an accompanying note of building chimneys.a
If this !vestry' is indeed the one under the church, then the chimneys
referred to could have been the two on either side of the west facead,
removed in 1949, as told to us by Mr. Reggie Reed. It is more probable
however, that these chimneys were built after 1845; the holes cut in the

wall (presently found on either side of the organ, covered by drapes)
to admit the pipe,were cut through both layers of the double west wall,
dating from the interior alterations.

?, qF

That there were stoves in the Church prior to 1874 is also evident

by the Record entry of that year- to purchase two new stoves and to

'take out twelve of the body pews and put the stoves inside'.a

This would be the space on the east end of the sanctuary behind the center pews.

a patch in the south aisle ..
from the ventilators ,

The 1904 chimney above the hip roof,
and sections cg ductwork

Ventilators were cut in the floor, in the senter of each side aisle,

in 1866a; the square patches in the aisles locate their probable placement.

In 1893, 2 large furnaces were bought and the next yar, the Trustees wrote

to the Deighton Furnace Co., regarding the possible removal and sale

of some older furnaces.b The furnace room, at the time, was most probably

under the vestibule, much as it is today. When the Upper Room was built,

a hot air heating system was introduced to heat that space.e The major


duct w-s .located in what is now a closet at the east end of the sanctuary.

It is noted taht a new chimney was built; that is most probably the one

which stands inside the east wall of the vestibule. There is no sign,

however, in the 1901 photograph of any earlier chimney along that wall.

The hot air system was removed sometime later and a space heater installed.

It was reported in 1963, that the space heater had been repaired and was

functioning properly.e

There is a tradition that the sanctuary was never adequately heated,

almost impossible today, makingithe congregation depend on individual

warmers in each enclosed pew. Footwarmers were frequently used in the

highbacked box pews of the 18th century meeting houses, but in a narrow

pew,such as in the Methodist Church, it would have been difficult to

evenly distribute the heat.

The sanctuary at present, is not heated; services are held in the

winter in the Wesley Fellowship Hall downstairs, which is heated.

wood plug from whale oil/ gas fixtures

the plug in the ceiling

The original lighting in the Chapel was probably with whale oil

lamps. Eight hanging lamps were positioned from the sanctuary ceilinga

the plugs through the ceiling joists create a probable pattern for


these lamps, two in the center and three pair down the sides of the sanctuary.
One pair of these lamps were positioned in the upper vestry. The plugs
are located in the ceiling plan in Appendix B. These hanging lamps
were still in place in 1850; there is a recoed of examinations of the lines
from which they were hung.a In 1856, gas was substituted for the whale
oil. Apparently, ceiling lamps,of some sort, were still used as
there are gas pipes still&in'the attic. Sometime before 1901, the
fixtures were removed and gas lamps hung from the front of the balconies,
as seen in the 1901 photo. Six poet lamps were bought for the Chapel in 1823a,
there are six lamps in the sanctuary, however, we are unable to date these
or tell if they had been converted from whale oil to gas to electricity,
as they are presently.
An entry in 1908, refers Yo the purchase of '14 Welsbac>. Burnersfb
enough supposedly for the entire church, bought because older ones were
not operable. We speculate, that possibly, these were some form of
gas burning lamps, perhaps those seen hanging from the gallery front in
the 1901 photo.

,l^ -" .- '^




4- Use and expansion of the basement

In addition to the regularly Sunday worship, there was always a

need for a vestry space in the Methodist Church; space for Sunday School,

prayer meetings, singing, and other church related activities. When

the Chapel was built, a house on Fair Stree, was used for the vestry,

and continued in this use until the late 1800's. The cellar of the
Chapel, once rented to Jared Coffin for his personal use in 1830, was

finished off for additional vestry space in 1837. The entry for November,

1837 reads:

'best to enter the vestry on the east, north of the steps
vestry to be finished 35 x 55
7-1/2 feet from floor to underside of trimmers'a

Inside a closet under the stair in the northeast corner of the basement,

a section of concrete block seals a door sized opening under the present

portico. Later, in 1840, it was recommended the 'north end of the front

yard be dug to admit a pathway to the vestry, level from the east

sidewalksa, further indicating this patched area is the location of the

original vestry dcor.

marks of post and lath
on underside of floor beam

The underside of the sanctuary floor framing was sealed off with wood

lath and plaster, as evidenced by lath ,aUks and nail holes remaining

in the basement ceiling beams. From thetpastern of the lath,
we can see that the room was probably located near the center of the present

day basement. Marks of intermediate post supports, on the underside

of the beams, indicate earlier posts. Most activities continued to be

held at the Fair Street Vestry, and some Sunday School classes were held

in the galleries. It was not until 1879 that the basement vestry

was properly finished off and actively used.- The entry ..'in 1893,

was moved to Rose Lane, at the east end.

As the basement space was apparently not the most desirable

location of the vestry- perhaps because of its low, restrictive

ceiling height (7-1/2 feet)a. in 1904, the Upper Room was built and the

basement relegated to lesser activities.b

In 1937, the CHurch decided to excavate the basement providing

for more headroom, a kitchen facilities, bathrooms, and other rooms.

Blue prints for the proposed work were prepared, showing several

modifications that were never carried out. The kitchen was built,

but toward the west end of the north side; the altar and pulpit were

also on the west. Mrs. King relates that at theft time, the basement vestry

was the scene of the 'famous six o'clock meals'.

Work continued through the 50' and 60's, when the basement was

further excavated under the direction of a local engineer, Mr. Joseph

Garmon. The foundations in the north, east, and west were

underbuilt and supported with brick, concrete block and some sections

of poured concrete. The south section was never finished; theeaaehh

in that section, being so hard it had to be loosened with pneumatic force,

Most of the excavations and masonry work was done by volunteers, on

their lunch-hours and holidays.

The temporary posts set up in 1837, were replaced in 1954,
with a system of steel sections an d composite wood beams. Two steel

sections run north-south from block piers, approximately '16 feet from"

the outer walls.


a section. of poured concrete
foundation beneath the west wall

the block piers support
the steel beams

Another steel section and two composite lood beams, runnihg eas't.west
frame into the steel beams, and the old wood beams rest on top.,
The steel and composite wood beams are boxed and finished off, allowing
the bottom half of the old beams to show beneath the ceiling.



steel sections help support
floor beams


The new Wesley Fellowship Hall was dedicated in March of 1970.

Although the work was nearly completed in the summer of 1969, plans

of the basement e not able to be included in the HABS documentation.

We have included a basement plan and framing plan in the drawings

accompanying this report.

Boxed-in steel and composite
wood beams are visible
in t e ceiling of the Hall


In examining the floor framing, flooring and pews, several questions

arose that did not seem to have ready answers. One, why are the plugs

in the floor boards of the north pews closer by a few inches,

still being regularly spaced, while the doors to those pews are the same

width as the center pew doors? Secondly, why were the two side aisles framed

out while the center aisle was not? And thirdly, what are the triangular

patches on the end of almost every pide pew? Why are none of the

center pews patched? None of these questions seemed related, until

we obtained an old diagram of the pews, drawn about 1844. This raised

!other question; why did tihey draw the side pews at an angle?

IA -t4 .

" / pew plan of c. 1844 N

The drawing is carefully laid out with a straight edge; all the pews are

neatly spaced and evenly aligned. Certainly,the angle could not be a

mere drafting error, Was it possible that the pews had been at an angle

when the Gh.rch was first built, and the secretary drawing up the document

for the document for the recording of pew ownership, assumed the configuration

would be the same after the reorientation of the interior?

an unanswered question;
Thb.y are three of the posts cut
back just above head height?

Attic graffiti

-3Y -

An anecdote concerning activities in the south gallery

"',.. We sat in the south gallery, and, as I remember, there were not

many in that part of the Church with us on that particular afternoon.

For some reason- of course we did not know why-, we saw that Zimir

Cleveland, one of the Church officials, from his pew below, was
KEEPING AN OCCASIONAL EYE ON US. Finally, he left his seat and

turned toward the door into the vestibule, from whence went the stairs

to the gallery. We devined at once that he was after us, so we made

a 'reak for 'liberty' and all but myself made good their escape, but I

was curght and taken into a pew on the lower floor, whera I remained,

a more quiet, if not a more interested attendant,to the close of the


the above taken from BriYf Historical Data
and memories of My Boyhood Days in Nantucket
writer. by Joseph E.C. FarnThm m

It is interesting to note, in the south gallery (and only in that gallery),

the back of ,'ry pew has been carved with rough figure, initials, and other

images.........perhaps by young boys bored with a Sunday afternoon service?
It is iterestig to nte, in he souh galley (and onl-nta alr)

Our intent in continuing the documentation of the Centre Street

United Methodist Church has been to fill the gaps and possibly clarify

the earlier appearance of the church. In the attic, we were successful

in drawing the layering of the two different roof systems and highlighting

the special condition of the roofing that makes this structure so architect

architecturally significant.

In the basement, we were able to, because of the one area, yet

unconcealed by modern construction, discover the secret of the changes

in pew heights and how the construction was done. We had originally wanted,

through the examination of thM floor framing and floor boards, to find

some clues as to the location and configuration of the first pulpit

when it had stood on the east. Due to the condition of the flooring

and a lack of descriptive record, this was impossible. We know no more

of the pulpit than when we began. However, we did discover many secrets

of the Nantucket United Methodist Church, which we have revealed in this


Even as this is being typed, we are continuing to learn. about the

mysteries, making connections that could never be made before. We have

spent rewarding weeks listening to the building, from its one remaining

dirt foundation wall saying it now needs help holding up the heavy

building, to the conversation between the two existing roofs which will

continue for many years to come. Our translation of what the building said

to us, combined with the written record of what it had said to others,

is what is disclosed. Maybe the addition of new ears, more sources

of information, or some dusty trunk containing answers being pried open,

more will be understood about the Church's life.


All of the notes in the body of the paper, where the dates are
referred to, coming from the Record books listed as Primary Sources in the
Bibliography, are noted with small letters. In cases where the date is not
mentioned, or additional information is stated, the footnote will follow the
regular sequence of numbering.

1. Trustees Record 1822 1889, May 23, 1839.

2. Lancaster, Clay, Nantucket in the 19th Century, plate 24, page 23, This is
the oldest photograph of Nantucket according to Mr. Lancaster.

3. Mrs. King recounted how her father and Mr. Jenny had decided to make the
enclosure to match the gallery front.


Primary Sources: Record Books of the Methodist Church

a. Trustees Record 1822 1889, in the archives of the Peter Folger
Museum, Nantucket, Mass.

b. Quarterly Conference Records, 1902 1911, in the possession of Charlotte
King, 14 Hussey Street, Nantucket, Mass.

c. Reports on the Basement Improvement, 1937 in the possession of Charlotte
King, 14 Hussey Street, Nantucket, Mass.

d. Official Board Minutes of Trustees, 1953 1970, in the possession of
Charlotte King, 14 Hussey Street, Nantucket, Mass.

e. Varous articles, pamphlets, and papers from collection of Church records
in the possession of Mrs. Charlotte King, 14 Hussey Street, including:

o transcriptions of Church Histories
o blueprints of 1937 basement alterations
o fund raising pamphlet issued in 1953
o church bulletins
o Pew records, deeds & hand drawn pew plan.

f. 'The Inquirer and Mirror', on microfilm at the Atheneum, Nantucket, Mass.

Secondary Sources:

1. Farnham, Joseph, Ellis, Coffee, Brief Historical Data and Memories of my
Boyhood Days in Nantucket, Snow and Farnham, Providence, R.I., 1915.

2. Lancaster, Clay, Nantucket in The 19th Century, Dover Publications, Inc.,
New York, 1979.

3. Personal Interviews
a. Mr. Fred Cook, Current President Board of Trustees, participated in
basement excavations in 1960's.

b. Mrs. Charlotte King, daughter of Griffin who had been involved
with much of the construction in this century., also keeper of most
of the Church Records in a Sea Chest in her home at 14 Hussey Street.

c. Mr. Arnold Small, member of painting crew in 1949.

d. Mr. Reginald Reed, construction crew member in 1949, 1960's alterations.

-maintenance assay
the methodist church

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by: TEAM


The asphalt shingles (a) have not
been replaced since early 1950's
Where additions have been put through
(b), patching has been done.

the methodist church 0nantucket,ma.
maintenance assay
preservation institute: nantucket 1981

- if


interior exterior
basement foundation .
sanctuary wall
balcony roof
vestibule portico
attic elevation:( @)e w
Gutters running along the north and
south sides

Birds have built nests in and near.. .
the gutters causing possible blocks ir
water passage.

Gutters should be checked and cleaned to allow them to work properly.


the methodist church o nantucket,ma.
maintenance assay
preservation institute: nantucket 0 1981

by: s-


interior exterior

basement foundation
sanctuary wall
balcony roof
vestibule portico
at tic elevation: ()e w
Downspouts on north and south sides

The downspouts on the north side (a)
are not brought all the way to the
ground and water is wearing away
foundation paint and the brick.
On the south side, .the downspouts
are not connected to the pipes, one
being completely unattached (b).
This is causing the draining ..ater
to drain into the basement via the

[^ L

0___ :- : ..'... Q.L ".j



All downspouts need to be checked all around the building for connection
to the gutter and to the ground: both connections should be tight.
The sides of the spoc.ts should be tight also and well painted.
The cdbwinspout completely unattached and resting on the ground outside
the church should be repaired and put back into place also.

the methodist church 0nantucket,ma.
maintenance assay
preservation institute: nantucket o 1981

by:a EA


interior exterior
basement foundation
sanctuary J wall
balcony roof
vestibule portico
attic elevation:@-@e@
All existing shingles on the exterior

Many shingles are pulling (a) or(b'Y
breaking away, allowing water to
penetrate the building.




All broken shingles should be replaced and loose ones renailed in place.
All shingles should be checked periodically for need of replacement.


the methodist church nantucket,ma.
maintenance assay
preservation institute: nantucket o 1981

by: Te


interior exterior
Basement J foundation
sanctuary x wall
balcony roof
vestibule x portico
attic elevation: 0@9
All exterior painting

All paint is in extremely bad condi.
tion. Trim (a), doors (b), and the
east wall (c) chipping and peeling
is occuring. This is both dangerous
to the wood and human health.

N,- 11 -0

Clean all painted surfaces, scrape all loose paint and repaint all
surfaces including brick foundation, portico, east wall, trim and windows,



the methodist church o nantucket,ma.
maintenance assay
preservation institute: nantucket o 1981

bye TE:

I-~ 3-

interior exterior
p basement foundation
sanctuary wall
balcony roof
vestibule portico
attic elevation:(f )w
Exterior windows

Window putty is old and weathering
away, allowing for moisture penetra-


Windows need to be scraped, caulked and painted to prevent moisture



the methodist church 0 nantucket,ma.
maintenance assay
preservation institute: nantucket o1981

by: T&


interior exterior
basement foundation
sanctuary wall
balcony roof
vestibule portico
attic elevation:@s e w
The lower part of the brick foundation
wall on the north side

Brick is bulging and spelling in
places, especially the front section
between the portico and entrance
doors (a).
Mortar is also breaking away and
spelling. Brick by portico (b)
has been filled with caulking and
is not doing the job it should.



Brick needs patched of repointing, taking out the caulking and replacing
with mortar.
Lower foundation wall (a) should also be checked for need of reinforcing.

wb It

the methodist church o nantucket,ma.
maintenance assay
preservation institute: nantucket 1981

by TA


interior exterior
p basement foundation
sanctuary wall
balcony roof
vestibule 0 portico
attic elevation:@s e w
Threshold of main north entrance on
the east wall

Brownstone threshold is spelling,
due to weathering and traffic.

Eventual replacement may ultimately be necessary, but presently, the
problem can be curbed by completely drying out the brownstone and treat
the area with silicone. This method must be repeated every ten years.




the methodist church nantucket,ma.
maintenance assay
preservation institute: nantucket o 1981

by T,



interior exterior

basement foundation
sanctuary wall
LJ, balcony roof
x vestibule portico
V attic elevation: n s e w
The entire interior of the building


A fire hazard has been created through
out the church by accumulation of
clutter and dirt. The storage in the
basement, the collections in the
vestibule and in the balconies, as
wall as spare items lying in the atti(
all contribute.


A general cleaning is needed, discarding all unnecessary items.
In the attic, all electrical wires should be checked. The porcelain
nobs should be checked to make sure they are no longer recieving any
electrical current. Clutter in the attic adds to the weight, exerting
more pressure on the lath and plaster ceiling than is necessary.
Walkways in the attic should also be checked and resecured where needed.
The basement area should also be eleared as it collects moisture.



the methodist church honantucket,ma.
maintenance assay
preservation institute: nantucket o1981


interior exterior
S basement foundation
-X sanctuary wall
balcony roof
vestibule portico
attic elevation: n s e
door on south side of west wall

The lock on the exit door is rusted
closed, therefore inhibiting any exit
especially in case of fire when panic
has set in.
The doors, when opening, hit the



The lock must be opened, cleared of all rust and foriegn material
and lubricated to ease operation and prevent further rust.
Both doors on the west wall must also be tightened on the hinges
to allow the doors to open without hindrence.

; ...
;, ,",i :..1 I
i" "I

the methodist church 0 nantucket,ma.
maintenance assay
preservation institute: nantucket 0 1981

by: 'T

- 94



interior exterior
x basement foundation
L sanctuary wall
balcony roof
x vestibule portico
attic elevation:@)e
all EXIT doors:one on north, 2 on west
1 on east

Exit door do not meet code require-
ments as EXIT doors and are endanger-
ing human lives,

Meet the requirements of State
and building materials.

and Federal levels with panic hardware

Clear access way to each door, especially in the balconies.

the methodist church 0 nantucket,ma.
maintenance assay
preservation institute: nantucket o 1981




interior exterior
Basement foundation
sanctuary wall
balcony roof
vestibule portico
U attic elevation: n s e w

Kitbhen is cluttered.
Also there is an odor of escaping gas
in this area and throughout the

I Aiji

_____________________________________________________________________ I-____________________________________________________________________



Gas leak should immediately be checked and fixed.
Clutter should be cleared to avoid any chance of fire.


the methodist church nantucket,ma.
maintenance assay
preservation institute: nantucket o 1981

by: TE


-basement foundation
Fx sanctuary wall
balcony roof
vestibule portico
attic elevation: n s e w
Entire ceiling and west interior wall

The plaster on the ceiling is cracked
along the truss members above.
Causes are; (1) old age (a), the nail:
holding the lath to the joists are
pulling down due to the weight of the
plaster and the length of time the
plaster has been in place and (2) the
added weight of the gable has caused I
the trusses to deflect more, the plas.-
ter cracking from this alteration,
The plaster on the west wall is very
badly cracked (b), chipped and falling
away(c)Causes are many, but the main
ones include the two holes behind the
curtains on either side of the organ
(d). These holes were cut for brick
flues, now no longer in existence. In
installing these flues, the wall was
cut going right through studs and two
layers of lath. The lost support has
caused the wall to settle and crack

-7un p.LasJ-B',,

//i /

/j /3




l~~-z~ I,.

Now that the weight of the roofs has stabilized, the ceiling lath and
plaster must be replaced before it falls loose. The new plaster should
be continued on and down the west wall. The wall can not be replastered
though until each cut stud has been patched and the missing lath replaced.
The weight of the balcony will always cause a slight crack but the danger
in the continual settling of the wall must be noted. After the :.holes
have been patched, the cracking will be nominal.




the methodist church 0 nantucket,ma.
maintenance assay
preservation institute: nantucket o1981

by: ^




lo catlOn continued


x sanctuary


port ico
elevation: n s e w

Ceiling of Sanctuary and west wall



the methodist

church nantucket,ma.
institute: nantucket o 1981


-" "___ d


interior exterior
S basement foundation
-x sanctuary wall
W balcony roof
vestibule portico
L attic elevation: n s e w
Interior windows, shutters and walls

Paint is chipped and peeling through-
out the interior.
Shutters are peeling badly and are
very weathered, caused by exposure to
the direct sunlight.



Flaking paint should be scraped and painted.
be cleaned and repainted.

All surfaces should then


the methodist church o nantucket,ma.
maintenance assay
preservation institute: nantucket o 1981


'Fai -p

- 9

interior exterior
basement foundation
.x sanctuary wall
L balcony roof
vestibule portico
attic elevation: n s e w
Pews in the sanctuary and balconies

The doors to the pews in the sanctuary
are loose on their hinges. Parts of
the interior of the pews are loose anc
also have some areas of rough wood,
dangerous to people entering and sit-
ting on the pews,
Also, paint is flaking.


Pew doors and elements should be tightened and/or repaired.
Pew seats :AL-ld be sanded and repainted, after peeling paint has been
scraped andt-cledned.
A general maintenance check should be done.

the methodist church 0 nantucket,ma.
maintenance assay
preservation institute: nantucket 0 1981


interior exterior
X basement foundation
sanctuary wall
balcony roof
vestibule portico
at tic elevation: n s e w
Foundation running entire length of
south wall.

When excavating the basement and (a)
finishing off the majority for.Church
use, the sluth wall was left unfinishe'
Existing is the original brick founda-
tion, braced on a stone base. Under
the stone, is merely, dirt, approx.
5 feet deep (to floor level), with an
angle of repose of about 60 (b).
With action (c) on the street and in-
terior seepage of moisture (d), the
dirt is falling away. This area is in
immediate need of stabilization.






A temporary solution would be to stop parking on Liberty Street outside
the church. This would stop the added pounding on the dirt foundation
until the stabilization is implemented. However, stabilization must occur.
There are three options of stabilization:
(a) The most extensive is to shore the foundation and extend the foundation
wall straight down. This must be done in sections.
(b) To build a retaining wall for the dirt with a spread footing. Removal
of some dirt would be necessary.
(c) The easiest and least expensive way is to pour a concrete form over
the firmly packed dirt, achieving a final configuration of a retaining
wall and ledge extending northward into the basement area. An addition
footing is suggested. The floor slab must also be continued. Lose
of floor space would be inevitable.
See next page, SOLUTION section, for drawings.


the methodist church nantucket,ma.
maintenance assay
preservation institute: nantucket 1981


Lm-- 0 ---A








tk glw a


S-. .

location continued
interior exterior
basement foundation
sanctuary wall
balcony roof
vestibule portico
attic elevation: n s e w
Foundation running entire length of
south wall



the methodist church o nantucket,ma.
maintenance assay
preservation institute: nantucket o 1981

by=e T

interior exterior
Basement foundation
sanctuary wall
balcony roof
vestibule portico
attic elevation: n s e w
Side panel additions to the organ

Powderpost beetle residue is evident;
holes and dust visible on the surface.

Consult expert. Possible fumigation and/or removal,



the methodist church 0 nantucket,ma.
maintenance assay
preservation institute: nantucket01981



sect. chronological source material
3 the methodist church

Chronological Resource Material

The information inclosed in this section is the historical data, which

we have compiled from our sources. 'We felt that many of the writings were

difficult to read and to merely refer to these notes would be inadequate.

However,tthe type of information is select, and for a complete understanding

of the sources, a first hand reading is recommended.

Basic chronology of important dates

1823 construction of Methodist Chapel

1837 first vestry built inder the church

1840 Greek Revival alteration to exterior
first photo of Nantucket including the Methodist Church

1845 interior reorientation
pew diagram for records

1846 GREAT FIRE, causing little damage to the Methodist Church

1859 Appleton Organ placed in gallery

1874 removal of canter rear pews for stoves

1879 vestry refinished under church
trompe-l'oeil painted in niche behind altar

1886 ventilators cut in aisles

1893 lowering of the pulpit
organ moved from the gallery to the west wall
choir and pulpit platform built
vestry enlarged by one third and furnaces installed

1901 interior photographs of church
commerating memor al services for Pres. McKinley

1904 Upper Room constructed

1909 repairs to the south andwest sills and foundations

1935 organ converted to electric- remodeling of organ wings

1937 excavation is begun in basement uestry to lower floor level
and install kitchen

1949 choir enclosure built
stairs of gallery and into basement constructed
front porch rebuilt

1954 steel sections introduced into floor framing

1954-1970 basement renovations:
-further excavations and reinforcement of foundation
-renovation of kitchen and other rooms
-relocation of altar and platform from west to east of room

1969 Church documented by HABS team

1970 dedication of Wesley Fellowship Hall in basement

1981 further documentation of Church by PREservation Institute: Nantucket

Chronological organization of resource materials

1822 Spt 6

a Contract for the 1823 Church:

'foundation wall to be 65 x 75
start with good broad stones for the purpose of withstanding
the weight of the heavy buildingg
the trench is to be dug deep enough to fill up four inches
of sand to the bottom stone
a stone wall of eighteen inches deep and eighteen inches
thick, twenty inches on the north side, painted on
the outside six inches from the top with lime mortar
good bFick on,top, one foot thick with lime mortar
four windows to the east front, two below and two abhve
one pair of stairs out of light (wood) back
panel the front of the gallery, curled on the pulpit
front mahogany railing and bannister down the altar'


a Subscription:

1822 Oct 8

1823 Spt 30

'building is 62 x 76
120 pews on the floor, each eight feet by three feet
$100 per pew will be the average
gallery to be finished with free seats'

f "the cornerstone of the new Methodist Church in this place
was laid yesterday."

f dedicati on article

1823 Jan a incorporated

1823 Apr 23 a

'dispose of fence on east and north side and replace with as
many post as necessary'
contract Nathaniel Rand to inspect the foundation

1823 May 23 a contracted for roofs to be painted

1823 May 28 a contracted uprights painted

1823 Aug 6 a inside painted

1823 Aug 13 a

1823 Aug 20 a

'have steps similar to those attached to the South Congregation al
Church, except, add nailing at each end instead of steps
descending at eachend
varnish the mahogany
'to have such stoves as are in the Meeting House at Providenue'
fence in front

cost estimates for pipe and stove
contracted for eight hanging lamps and six post lamps

1823 Aug 20 a

1823 Aug 25 a

1823 Aug 27

1823 Spt 8

1823 Spt 26


1830 Spt 21

1830 Oct 13

1832 Feb 1

1832 Mar 7

1834 May 14

1834 Jun 6

Sfence on the south side to extend forty feet eastward
north extend 26 feet, both rounded to form a semicircke
and a gate opposite each door
the north and southggate to be five feet wide and the middle
6 feet wide
fence four feet high, and to have timber placed down on the
north end, east side, instead of a stone wall'

contract to buy 'as much land as is necessary? to fill in
'cushions in the pulpit covered with green damask silk'
'whitened ash'

'shorten the south side of fence 7 feet
make a table for altar, 5 collection boxes and 6 ---
oil canister lamp, cuarhin for the pulpit'
formed a deed for the pews

a 'front of gallery and pulpit painted and second time, if can
pews numbered

e 'The collections were so heavy the stewards had to use both
hands to carry the boxes. The next day they would take the
coppers to the bank to exchange them for lighter materials.'
a house on Fair Street used as vestry
a house on Fair Street used as vestry

a 'committee to rent the sellar under the Chapel'
formed committee to repair the stove drtms and painting the Chapel

a rented the cellar under the Chapel to Jared Coffin
'white lead aud-oil paint'
contracted a person to white lead sashes and paint steps
'paint uprights twice'

a Perez Jenkins agrees 'to put a vestry in the gallery for
public prayer meetings, singing, etc.'

a spouts need to be cleared
find expense of paving walway on south and east sides
of Chapel with brick

a 'necessary to cleanse the inside of the House and windows
whitewash wifidows
take down stovepipes and have cleaned'
renting the cellar

a 'to build a stone wall from the northeast corner of the Chapel
to south gate
repair the walkway without the gates
cane troughs made on porch to hold umbrellas

1834 Jun 17

1835 Oct 13

1836 Mar 16

1837 Oct 26

1837 Nov 6

1338 Apr 14

1838 Aug 27

1838 Spt 20

1838 Oct 22

1838 Nov 7 a

1838 Dec 10

1839 May 23

1839 Dec 18



a repair cushion in Chapel pulpit
tax pews to pay for whitewashing

a put blind doors to the Chapel
repairs of south spouts and vestry windows

a 'committee for cutting an aisle between the male and female
singers of the Chapel'
'remove the trees from the front yard
filling a gulley on the northside of the Chapel'
repair roof of the Chapel

a voted to move vestry to underneath the Chapel
'examine the north wwll and pillars and so forth...'

a 'best to enter the vestry on the east, north of the steps'
vestry to be finished '35 x 55'
7-1/2 feet from floor to underside of trimmers'
stovepipes painted, etc, in the vestry

a partial repairs on the roofs

a necessary to repair or build new steps'
repair and clean stovepipes
some new lights ( lamps)

a repair Chapel

a 'sell two stoves and buy one large one at the vestry'

have the chimney rebuilt at the west end to recieve the

a 'exchanged two small for one large at vestry'
chimneys erected

a cistern trough at south end steps

a changed to coal for the vestry

f '....the proprietors of the Methodist Episcopal Chapel of the
corner of Centre and Liberty Streets, we perceive, have lately
added to that -edifice a magnificent portico, supported by
a colanade of six ponderous Doric pillars, giving to the whole
structure and imposing and strikingly beautiful appearance.
They have also made corresponding alterati ons and improvements
in and around the enclosure at the entrance of the Chapel.
The design and execution of this, ork reflects great credit
to the architect, Mr. F.B. Coleman.'

e '(re-alterations) In 1840, under the leadership of Rev.


1840 Apr 21

1840 Apr 27

1840 Apr 28

1840 May 20

1840 Jun 13

1841 Apr 14

1841 Oct 9

1843 Jun 23

1844 Ja? 30

1844 May 27

1844 May 28

1844 Aug 12

e continued...
E.W. Sticklaner, preacher in the charge, many alterations
were made. "The lofty pulpit was taken down. The roof was
changed from four pitch to two pitch and a large heavy Doric
portico with six pillars were placed in front." The total
cost of this, $2,200.00, $1,000.00 of which was raised by
the additional pews placed in the corner of the House.'

a 'the roofs need reshingling, the gutters also need to be re-
sidewalks on the soubh and east side, especially east, are
in bad condition
front fence needs to be renewed
recommended that north end of front yard be dug to admit
a pathway to the vestry, level from the east sidewalk'
mention of other repairs needed of minor importance

a 'sdiewalks on the south and east need to be flagged'

a purchase shingles

a committee formed to find estimates for major repairs

a 'requested by Church member to go ahead
to alter the house on the outside and finish it in the
same style as the Atheneum...'

a voted 'chains be procured and placed at each end of the steps
of the Chapel to prevent falling...'

a authorized chimney repairs

a 'The Book of Records established, will contain the preamble
and resolution with the number of every pew and the original

a I to cause to be made and put up to the gallery stairs
in the Chapel

a the subject of the alteration of the altar in the Chapel

a 'The plan of changes to the altar impractical without
other changes in the Chapel'

a alteration of the pulpit:
'can be placed in the west end of the house
the west gallery taken out
the pews turned to face the west
the floor made level by lowering the west end
four or more pews added to the present number
cost to be about $600.00'

1845 Feb 3 a approved alterations








1846 Nov 16



Jan 16

Mar 21




1856 Jun 14

1856 Jly31

1858 Jun 17

1858 Jun 19

1859 Mar 10

1863 May 18

1866 Mar 27



Nov 8

Mar 6

1870 May 12

a paint the outside and the Hall

a attend to necessary repairs caused by the fire, 'about$245.37'

a 'to make the roofs of the Chapel accessible in case of
fire by placing a walk on the ridge'

a 'adjust a claim against the Town as per land taken as
streetway in front of the Chapel'
'to use the money for the expense of moving the fence'

a purchase lamps and 'place at best advantage to light the house'

a whitewash church 'and so forth'
fix gutters an d remove the waste

a examine the lines from which the lamps are hung

a still eal.iing the lines
repair the pillar under the north column

a painted the outside

a 'leading the jambing and the spouts
cleaning, painting and blinding the inside and fitting it for
burning gas

a 'clean and paint all the white, isid

a repair the columns in the froLt of the House because 'in a
decayed and weary state'

a 'ascertain for stone bases for the columns

a Organ committee'asks leave to put an organ in the House'
permitted as long as no cost to the proprietor's

a two new coats of paint on front
steps to be repaired of made new

a 'clean the Chapel, take up carpet, wash paint on the inside of
aisle pews'

a meet to discuss'stove pipes, spouts, and so forth repairs'

a 'will light with gas the front of Chapel and suitable matts'
repair stovepipes

a repairs and painting:
'front gable end- two coats
underneath the gable- one coat
pillars- one coat


1870 May 12 a continued...
column bases- south- two coats
trimmings-all two coats
west end- prime the bare wood and paint one coat
north end- one coat (primer)
and steps- one coat

1872 Dec 20 a 'also the removal of the chimney of said building, now of
no use'

1874 Spt 3 a clean and repair stoves

1874 Spt 17 a approved purchase two new stoves
'take out twelve of the body pews and put the stoves inside'

1877 Aug 10 a expense for labor,material, and shingling Chapel- $558.00

1879 May 23 a cleaning and painting the entry
also an account of repairs made on the vestry

1881 Spt 16 a repaired stove pipes

1884 Jly 12 a stove pipe repair on the vestry

1886 Apr 26 a vestry to be cleaned and walls calsomised

1886 Nov 16 a 'allow two ventilators to be cut and wimdows to be fitted
to let down on...'

1893 May 27 f Article discussing improvements being made to the Church

1893 Jun 1 from the Church Aid Society Minutes:
"The Society promised to jry and get a new carpet for the
Church and agreed the the dollar promised by some members be used
for that purchase.'

1893 Jly 22 f 'The walls and ceilings of the Methodist Church are being tinted.'

1893 Spt 30 f article about repairs and changes made on the Church

1894 Spt 22 a Sec. of Trustees is to write to Deighton Furniture Co. in
regard to the condition and possible removal and sale of
the furnaces of the Church


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Trangc;ption: of Church Histories- notes taken by o, King's mother, Mrs. OjUfin
II June 1037 "Second time- New England Conference meet here
'All camet-from New Bedford- B Tuesday in the boat
and marched up to the"Wbapel."
Whaft'wacroiet&ed c thousands and streets lined-
doors and windows of houses filled c people- who
gathered to see the Conference move up. It was a great
day for the history of the Island.'

Slavery question debated at Conference-
More bitter than should have been shown-p@t"nf ;
Conference- galleries filled 5 spectators
Bishop Hedding in replying to Bro. Scott first delivered
his families "Golden Rule" on the Slavery question

Rev. Lord Suspended
Rev. John Lord- proceeding year- man eminent piety
and superior talents- and great usefulness- but-
factors had developed (re- his administration) at
Conference. Bro. Lord suspended for one year
Rev. J.T. Burr&ll- appointed- Bro Lord:s successor

Fair Street reopened
During the following year- some of the most pious and
useful members of the Church withdrew fram the Chapel and
under the leadership of Bro. Lord, the old Fair Street
Meeting House was repaired and another Methodist Episcopal
Church was formed and once more as in the dats of Beauchamp
Difficulties and Soule- the old walls resounded c by of worship -
@ Fair Street Difficulities developed and Bro. Lord left and formed the
Baptist Church Baptist Church on Summer Street.
formed 1839 @ next session of Conference- Bro Lord expelled from Conference

III June 8 1842 Third time Conference held here- but now New England
Southern Conference- Peaceful session
Brother Dan&el Fillmore- was stationed here- and during
the course of the year a most extensive and powerful
revival of religion occurred which the island
had ever witnessed. Prayer Meetings in Vestry were
crowded and classes were seasor? power.
One hundred members recieved that year and membership
showed 414 enrolled. Fair Street similarly blessed- 207
mwabers there.
Total Meth Members. Total Methodist membership 621.

Great Fire 1846 and California Gold Rush 1848
no ministers "TtgPii iMa^h y' ,.',s prv ~ie i1
but produced zAlthough Nantucket Church produced- no minister
preachers produced- local preadhers
Dr. Oliver C. Bartlett, M.D. united 5 this church
staunch member 50 years- felt call to preach
1819 Licensed as Exhorter- then local preadher- and in
1825 ordained Deacon by Bishop Roberts and in 1825 an
to EldW r) by Bishop Hedding
1827 He lived in large house on Fair Street moved by
Obed Starbuck. In the third story of that house, then
in an unfinished state, the church mete for prayer
and priase and it was used as a vestry for a long time.


Freeman Sherman


,under Bro.
Ruite 1904
1905 desk


Bro RayqVL9
1905 to 1911
Special act
of Legislature

July 29, 1906
Old Mortgage

Bro Raynor

SMortgage burned

Five hundred persons are supposed to have been crowdee in
there at a time.

Great displays of power occurred in that Upper Room.
He removed fro m here to New York state. His home was
always open to the itinerant- died 185?
Son of John Sherman- Recieved into the church 1809-
one of the 19 who first formed a class on the island-
Was licensed as a local preacher and excereised the office
till his death- For several years preached regularly at Polpis

New Vestry (Upper Room) built- cost less than $1000,00
Lowers Vestry- used for socials, etc.

The Juniors have bought a roll top desk for the pastro's
Study from Aunt Mary Flg
A valuable clock was presented to the church this year by
a MR fease in memory of his mother.

Church and parsonage in poor repair and for? but ; legal
Board of Trustees to transact business)
After a time New Corporation formed and by a special act
of Legislature 1906 the sur... trustees of the old corporation
were enpowered to transfer the church property to the
new corporation- which they did 7/29/06
Debt of $277*00 on church for repairs and improvements
during Rev. Rutter's pastorate and old mortgage of $3??
After much investigation and consideration. Official BA
decided not to sell property

Parsonage improved- Roof shingled- whole outside repaired
and painted- new foundation under East Side- # 3 unsafe
chimneys taken down and two new one a put up- Inside
thoroughly repaired and painted and papered-
House connected to sewer B modern improvements
Total costl1147.00
Church- $1726.26 improvements on Church
New chimney built- and new hot air heater for Lecture Room
Church roof ahingled- the auditorium thoroughly repaired
walls and ceiling calcimined
wood work painted
new carpet for platform
pew cushions newly covered
organ repaired and cleaned and tuned
New Welchback burners for whole church)
Foundation under a part of south s(ide) and west end-
taken down and relayed
New sill under southside- c
Repairs to Vestry
Put church property in good condition except) Vestry and
parsonage cellar, both in bad
Increase in membership and interest in Worsh(ip)
and Sunday School Epworth League- etc.-
Mortgage of $350.00 taken out 3/28/1896
burned 3/28/1911

Toilet put in church and hire fence built at Parsonage
1911 cost $58.00


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Quarterly Conference Records 1902 Mrs. Charlotte King

from pastor's report to the quarterly Conference held Mar 5 1904,
"Now perhaps it will not be out of place to give an account of the repairs
and improvements, as carried on by the building Committee as elected, and
working under the authority of the Quarterly Confernece, and sanctioned and
approved by the trustees The first part of the work consisted in repairing
the front of the Church, the columns and their base, with the brick work
being in a perfectly dilapidated state, the putting up of the new gutters,
the old ones being completely rotted out, the painting of all this work,
and the front of the church and entering the sewer, cost $937.00 without
discounts; the work itself made work which had to be done, making it $1000.00
"The second part of the work, was to make a room for the Sunday School
and social services in the front second story this has been the most
laborious and expensive. It is pleasing,however, to report a splendid lecture
room has been built, increasing the value of the Church Property, and also
the facilities for carrying out the Lord's work..."
,*..cost of the room as completed- $833.00."

July 7 1906 Pastor's report to First Quarterly Confernce
"Repairs and improvements on the church and the parsonage are paogressing

June 7 1907- First Quarterly Confernce Pastor's report

Some quite extended and necessary repairs on the church are contemplated if
sufficient money can be raised..."

Sept 27, 1907 Third quarterly Conference minutes
"The report of the shingling committee was relieved and accepted as a report
of progress.
A motion wade and carroed that the committee chosen to raise funds for
shingling be the committee to have charge of the work, that thay procede
with the shingling as soon as they can without incurrung debt."

Sept 27 1907 Pastor's report
"...and- we have in cash and pledges$399.50 toward shingling the church roof."

Dec 21 1907 Pastor's report
"The repairs and improvements in the church and parsonage property have
been progerssing. We have moved slow, but have endeavored to go wisely.
The audience room has been thoroughly rennovated, the ceiling and walls
calcimined, the wood work painted, a new carpet for the platform and 14
Welsbach burners in the place of the very old near useless ones, all at a
cash cost of $270.10 and 385 hours of work given besides cleaning the
church, making and putting down the carpet."

Tune 27 1908 M.E. Church to BF Rainor Dr
to money paid for repairs and improvements
18 ibs. nails .72

put hot air heater in the church cost $110.00
flue stopper and nails *16. total $126.42

IV Repairs and improvements on church property has progressed.
A part of the south lide and west end of the church has been resolled
and the foundations relayed (misspelled in text) where the old sill had
decayed the church had settled and we found it necessary to raise it and in d
doing sothe the plastering in side the auditorium room was cracked and
necessitated repairing at the has been done. The vestry vestibule floor
has been repaired and 53 of the church cushions have been newly covered, The
cash cost of the above with some other better things, $147.15
the above taken from pastors report Fourth quarterly Conference Mar 17 1909

Reports on Basement Improvement

1937 Feb 3 ...we proceed to clean up the basement onfthe church, tear down
plaster and set temporary posts

Feb 15 ...the job of excavating at the church be given to JHGiffin

Mar 3 ,..that we make the hall in the basement from the west wall to
the beam carrying the balcony so voted.

Mar ...that we put the kitchen on the Rose Lane side in the center t o
be about 15 x 18 feet so voted

1938 Jan 31 ...Special committee.., to determine the location of the kitchen
and proceed with the installation of the reatinging walls so voted

- 2.1-




Plans for

entre Street 4AtiThoit ffunrdg

All photos by Fidelis Harrer

Up this center aisle in by-gone days walked the whaling
captains with their wives, children, and neighbors to take
their seats in the family box pews. Since 1823 Nantucket-
ers and visitors have worshiped in the reverent atmos-
phere of this ancient Church. Today we still come'under
the spell of its beauty.
And the secret of its beauty lies in its sturdy sim-
plicity. That quality is seen in the deep panelling of the
balconies, the single wide board that forms the pew back.
and the mahogany top-rail that has no intricate carving
but ends in a graceful swirl design. The panelled doors of
each pew, so quaintly reminiscent of another era, originally
served the practical purpose of holding in the heat of the
foot-warmers provided by each pew-holder. The own-
ers also had individually designed hymn book racks and
arm rests installed in their pews.
Throughout the Church the simplicity and strength of
the design reflect the sturdy character and masculine rev-
erence of the sea-faring men who built it. To prove worthy
of our heritage, we are launching out on a significant pro-
gram of restoration and expansion.

A O-4.



The Organ

The tracor action organ was purchased in
1859. Capt. Henry Pinkham brought it from
Bcston on the packet "W. 0. Nettleton". It
bears the date 1831 and the name of a pioneer
American pipe-organ builder, Thomas Apple-
ton. The design of the mahogany case is
identical with that of. English organs of the
Revolutionary War period.
The women of the Church worked hard to
earn the purchase price of $925. They sold
candy and post cards, had a whaling lecture
and a play, and put out special donation
boxes, but still they lacked sufficient funds.
Despair was turned to joy when an unexpected
gift arrived from a stranger who sixty years
previously had sung in the choir-in the orig-
inal Methodist Church on Fair Street.
Since then, for nearly ninety years, the or-
gan has added its beauty of design and tone
to the services. Though originally pumped by
hand (at the rate of ten cents for Sundays
and twenty-five cents for Saturday night choir
rehearsals), it has been powered by electricity
since 1935. Now it needs to be thoroughly
overhauled to carry on its part in the worship
of the sanctuary.


1. Reshingling the South side of the Church.
2. Replacing window frames and sashes.
3. Strengthening the foundation.
4. Placing wooden guard rails on porch
and hand rai!s on front steps.
5. Building wooden fence around lawn.
6. Pointing the bricks at base of columns.
7. Lining the gutters with copper.
8. Painting Church front and trim.

Practical considerations are not being ne-
glected by the descendants of the men whose
lives depended on a sound ship. First the
foundation must be strengthened completely
around the building, for if the foundation be
not secure, how shall the building stand? With

the greatly increased use that the Church will
have, this becomes imperative.
The "beautiful trusswork" (as one carpen-
ter calls the roof supports) is a piece of con-
struction that could not be duplicated today.
The smallest cross beams are 12 x 12 timbers
63 feet long without splicing, and held at the
joining by wooden pegs. So the building itself
is still a compliment to its sturdy builders.
However, the sashes and shingles that have
withstood Nantucket winds and storms and
Nature's own sandblasting for more than' a
century need to be replaced. Other exterior
repairs will help to restore the beauty of this
Church of whaling days.



Sanctuary Restoration

Nantucket Methodism is nearly 150 years
old for the first Society was organized in 1799.
We take justifiable pride in its past. And for
us many sacred memories cluster about this
Centre Street Church-the babes baptized at
its altar, the last prayers said for our sacred
dead, the family pew where parents and grand-
parents always sat.

In gratitude to those who made it great and
those who made it rich in memories for us,
we are moved to do as they always did-to
love our Church, to keep it true to Christ,
and to make it as beautiful and serviceable
as we can.

We plan to restore thewhite panelled pulpit
and remodel the platform into a chance! that
will be in harmony with the original styling of
the Church and with the ancient traditions of
Methodism. The lighting needs redesigning
to the period of the interior. The vestibule
doors should be replaced with panelled ones
in harmony with the white panelled pews and
balcony. Stairs from the balconies are neces-
sary to meet fire law requirements. This will
make the maximum seating capacity of the
Church available to serve the community.

The plans for restoring and improving our
Church are the work of a man who specializes
in Church architecture, Mr. Charles Collins of
Boston. And Mr. Everett U. Crosby has ac-
cepted an invitation to serve as Consultant on
Nantucket styling. We will remain true to the
traditions of the great whaling days as we
make our Church more adequately for the pres-
ent day.



Redecorating the sanctuary.
Remodelling the platform and pulpit.
Building choir pews.
Supplying proper communion table.
Furnishing cross and candle set.
Restoring the organ.
Constructing stairs from the balconies.
Redesigning the lighting.
Providing new carpeting.
Recovering the cushions.
Providing kneeling benches.
Restoring panelled vestibule doors.

Our Need For A Chapel
All winter the congregation suffers because
it is forced to use one room for Sunday School,
recreation, bean suppers, and divine worship.
The confusion attendant upon getting children
into their snowsuits, materials put away, and
chairs re-arranged does not put anyone into a
mood for worship. Playing "Forfeits" and
"Spin the Bottle" in the room they should
respect as a sacred place is poor training for
the young people.
A Chapel would provide a place where all
departments of the Sunday School and the
Youth Fellowship, as well as the Sunday con-
gregations, could hold their worship services.
It would furnish a setting where persons wish-
ing a small wedding could still have it in the
Church, where private baptisms could be per-
formed, and the last services for departed
loved ones conducted. The Chapel could also
serve these needs for anyone in the commun-
ity desiring to use it.

0 0 0 0 0

Upper Room Alterations
The alterations as planned will convert the
room which has been adapted to many needs
into a room designed for one purpose:-
worship. Pews instead of chairs will immed-
iately set the mood of a sanctuary. The re-
modelling of the platform will make it a wor-
shipful chancel. Choir stalls and an electric
organ will give music the prominent place it
deserves. A minor change, but one which will
give the Chapel complete unity, is putting a
wall with three windows in place of the pres-
ent glass partition. Thus the Upper Room,
freed from all secular uses and designed for a
sanctuary, will deepen the religious life of all
who may worship there.

"To the Qlory of Qod

and in Loving Memory."

While many of the projects are for the res-
toration of the original building, construct-
ing and equipping the new chapel and educa-
tional rooms offer opportunity for specific
gifts in memory of loved ones. For a list of
suggested memorials and further information
contact Mr. Harvey A. Young, Chairman of
the Restoration Committee.

Social-Educational Plant

The whalers built a Church that served
their needs. The present congregation and
growing Church School needs more adequate
facilities for Church-centered activities. There-
fore, our plans all for a social-educational plant
in the basement-a plant that will also serve
various community groups.
It will provide accommodations long needed.
There will be a social hall large enough to seat
250, with a stage for plays and concerts. The
Church Parlor will provide a smaller meeting
place for the Women's Society, the young
people. Sunday School classes, committees
and other groups. The kitchen is planned for
convenient service to both the Hall and ihe
Parlor and will be efficiently equipped to serve
large or small gatherings. A choir room and
classrooms, coat rooms and toilets are
conveniently planned.
Providing such complete facilities for parish
activities is a big undertaking, but they are
needed by both Church and community. Fur-
thermore, the alterations which will convert
the all-purpose Upper Room into a Chapel can-
not be made until the new basement rooms
are constructed.



A hall for social activities of Church and
community, rooms for a Christian education
program, exterior repairs, a chapel, and a re-
modelled and redecorated sanctuary- these
are the projects for restoring and improving
Centre Street Methodist Church. The total
cost will be $36,000.
For so ambitious a project we must call for
help from the citizens of Nantucket and from
summer residents. Of course the members of
the Church are doing all they can. However,
just as the population of Nantucket has de-
clined since the whaling days, so has the mem-
bership of the Church been reduced.

So we are appealing for help-from you who
love Nantucket and its beautiful old buildings
-from you who ,appreciate the important
place of Christain Churches in a democracy-
so that a Church'worthy of its founders of a
century and a half ago may go on serving God
and the people of Nantucket.

Your gift will be deeply appreciated. If
desired, a particular project may be made a
Memorial Gift of a loved one. Checks may be
sent to the Treasurer of the Restoration Com-
mittee, Mrs. Edgar Orpin, Back Street, Nan-
tucket Island, Massachusetts.


1659 .... : 1959
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0A 09

FROM 1799 to 1959

Methodism on Nantucket traces its origin to the year George Washington
left the presidency, 1796. Jesse Lee, a great pioneering Methodist, came to
the island in April, 1797, and preached sixteen sermons in eighteen days.
The following year the Reverend Joseph Snelling came from Martha's Vine-
yard and, for lack of a sufficiently large room, he held open air meetings on
Mill Hill. Many were converted. The Reverend Mr. Selling was followed by
the Reverend William Beauchamp who organized the first Methodist Society
on July 25, 1799, with nineteen charter members. Several months later, on
January first, 1800, he dedicated the first Methodist Episcopal Church on
Fair Street.
Increasing membership during the succeeding years made the erection
of a new building imperative. Accordingly, the present building was erected
in 1823, with the sanctuary seating 1,000 persons. Extensive improvements
were made in 1840 when the high pulpit, standing in the front of the church,
was translocated to the rear where it now stands, and the pews turned to
face it. A new gable roof was built right over the old one, and a portico
impressive with six Ionic pillars, was constructed.
An interesting episode in connection with the history of this church
occurred during the Great Fire of 1846 in which one third of the town was
swept away. While the fire was furiously advancing toward the church
orders had been given to dynamite the building in order to check the fire.
As the kegs of powder were being brought, Maria Mitchell heard of the
plan and ascended the steps of the church and, facing the group of men with
folded arms, defied them to carry out their plan. At that instant, the wind
changed its course and the church with the rest of the town was saved.
Maria, of course, became a heroine.
The simplicity and strength of the design reflect the study character and
masculine reverence of the sea-faring men who built the church. The ceiling
is supported by 12 x 12 timbers 60 feet long. The secret of its beauty lies in
its sturdy simplicity. That quality is seen in the deep paneling of the bal-
conies, the single wide board that forms the pew back, and the mahogany
top-rail that has no intricate carving but ends in" a graceful swirl design.
The paneled door of each pew, so quaintly reminiscent of another era, orig-
inally served the practical purpose of holding in the heat of the foot warmers
provided by each pew-holder. The owners also had individually designed
hymn book racks and arm rests installed in their pews.

During the summer of 1949 the church observed its 150th anniversary.
For this occasion extensive improvements were made. The entire interior of
the sanctuary was redecorated, and a new carpeting was laid. The "Upper
Room" was also repainted, which is now a beautiful place in which to worship.