Powers - Dickinson House, Nantucket, Massachusetts

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Title:
Powers - Dickinson House, Nantucket, Massachusetts
Physical Description:
Mixed Material
Language:
English
Creator:
Preservation Institute : Nantucket
Publisher:
Department of Architecure, University of Florida
Preservation Institute: Nantucket
Publication Date:

Subjects

Coordinates:
41.291577 x -70.10714

Notes

General Note:
AFA HP document 996

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All rights reserved by the source institution.
System ID:
AA00000572:00001

Full Text
























POWERS-DICKINSON HOUSE
5 GRANT AVENUE
NANTUCKET, MASSACHUSETTS






















TABLE OF CONTENTS


Introduction .............................................. 2

Historical Research ....................................... 4
Map References ......................................... 13

Measured Drawings........................................ 14
Interpretation and Maintenance Notations ...............20

Interpretation ........................................... 25

Maintenance .............................................. 34







INTRODUCTION


The Powers/Dickinson house at 5 Grant Street was
the subject of this research and documentation project
by students of the Preservation Institute; Nantucket,
under the supervision of F. Blair Reeves, FAIA, This
report includes measured drawings which will become
part of the Historic American Buildings Survey at the
Library of Congress, a history of the buildings owners,
an interpretation of its development, and a maintenance
study.
The following students participated in the project;
Paula Allen (Savannah College of Art and Design), Cynthia
Caterham (SUNY Buffalo), John Hixenbaugh (University
of Florida), and Claire Surovell (Eastern Michigan Univer-
sity).







ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


We wish to thank George and Jean Dickinson for their
endless patience throughout the ordeal, Walter Beinecke Jr.,
for straightening out confusing details, the staff of the
Register of Deeds office for letting us use their limited
table space, Hershel Shepard for bringing his flashlight
and showing us the difference a saw mark can make, John
McRae for pushing us to draw a straight line to indicate
a straight line, Mrs. Hussey at the Foulger Museum for find-
ing photographs, Bill Sevrens for local color, Dick Frank
for pointing out potential problems with the exterior, and,
of course, the staff of PI:N; F.Blair Reeves, FAIA, without
whom nothing would have been possible, Ronald Hasse, AIA,
who kept things rolling, Jay Reeves, for bridging gaps, and
Pam Hartley who kept things where we could find them, typed
weekly schedules, and performed all the invaluable services,
including making coffee, that kept us from falling apart.


George and Jean, thanks alot'


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The history of the Powers/Dickinson house is
a surprisingly simple one entwined in a web of
intra-family transactions. The house now owned
by George and Jean Dickinson and its neighbor
to the north have long been known to residents
of Nantucket as "The Dauchy Cottages". Both
houses were the long time summer residences of
various members of the families of Albert Ebenezer
Powers and his son-in-law, Charles Dauchy. Both
families were residents of Troy. New York, where
the Charles H. Dauchy Co. sold paints, oils and
window glass. However, prior to the subdivision
on the bluff into house lots, the entire area was
hot-potatoed from owner to owner with hardly enough
time for the ink to dry on the deed before it
changed hands.

The earliest record available regarding the bluff
and the site of the future Dickinson home is an
1835 deed from Isaac Gardner to Master Mariner
Hasadiah Coffin selling approximately four acres on
the bluff for $585. The deed also states that this
was the same property which Gardner had acquired from
Peleg Macy of Brooklyn, New York. Unfortunately the
date of that transaction is unknown.

Coffin sold the property to a Nantucket trader
named Charles B. L'Hommdier on March 3, 1847 for
an unknown amount. He evidently didn't care for the
property much because he sold it scarcely a year
later on May 12, 1848 to Shubach Clark for $300.
The severe drop in the value of the property is curious
as there was no change in the description of the land
or buildings.
Shubach Clark owned the property for the relatively
lengthy period of ten years. On December 27, 1858 he
sold it to Alfred F. Gardner. Whether the spirit of
the Christmas Season moved him or he was in need of quick
cash, something prompted him to sell for a mere $185.


Mr. Gardner made a $5 profit when he sold
two months later to George Dow on February 28,
1859. George Dow held on to the four acres un-
til March 19, 1866 when he sold it to Samuel H.
Dow for $242. The relationship between George
Dow and Samuel Dow is not known.


In 1871 Charles C. Mooers purchased the prop-
erty for $200 and put an end to the small time
profits to be made by the sale of open tracts of
land. Knowing a good thing when he saw one, Mr.
Mooers anticipated the growing tourist trade and
subdivided the entire four acres on June 18, 1872
into 42 miniscule house lots averaging 40 x 60
feet. (See Map #1)


On March 13, 1874 James H. Gibbs purchased
lot #3 and the small triangle or quarter circle
of land in its northwest corner which for reasons
which are long forgotten is not considered part
of that lot. A dwelling house is mentioned in
that deed and the awkward placement of the
current house on the edge of the lot line sug-
gests that the oldest part of the house is that
same building. The lot lines of 1872 seem to
have been drawn without regard to extant struc-
tures.

On April 29, 1879, Mr. Gibbs sold lot #3 and
its accompanying triangle to Jane W. Yardley,
wife of the Reverend H. A. Yardley. Mrs. Yardley
evidently found the 52 x 75 parcle too small
and quickly purchased lot #11 directly to the
rear (away from the bluff-) from Charles C. Mooers
on March 23, 1880. On June 10, 1881 an addition-
al 60 x 38 parcel extending over the edge of
the bluff was purchased from Mooers, adding
room to the front as well.







As the lot was being enlarged and added to
in pieces, so was the house. In the early 1870's
Albert Ebenezer Powers moved two houses up to the
bluff. One was for his wife Lucy, the other was
for his daughter, Esther Dauchy and her husband
Charles. It is the Dauchy house which concerns
us here. The Powers' came to Nantucket to be
near Mrs. Powers' brother, Joseph Allan, who
was a Unitarian Minister and on the staff of Har-
vard Divinity. He had been summering on the bluff
for several years and owned property nearby.

Clay Lancaster, whose many books on the sub-
ject of early American architecture include several
devoted exclusively to buildings on Nantucket, dates
the move of the Dauchy house at 1874. There seemsto
be no more reason for that exact year than any other
but it certainly causes no gross problems. Re-
gardless of the date, a house was moved up and
attached to the existing smaller one to form a
much larger residence. This moving and joining of
homes is not unusual as Nantucket has always had
a severe shortage of building materials and wood was
frequently salvaged and reused again and again.

Records show that Esther Dauchy did not pur-
chase the land from Jane Yardley until August
29, 1889 which creates an awkward situation of
her father moving a house for her onto a lot which
she does not own. It can only be assumed that
the property was leased prior to its purchase.

Shortly thereafter, on October 15, 1889,
a strip of land eight feet wide and running the
length of lots #3 and #11 was purchased from
the neighbors to the south, George and Augusta
Dahlgren, to keep the house from crossing over
the lot line. Some conflict exists as to the
configuration of the lot at this time. The
map which illustrates the sale of the Dahlgren
strip does not include the front extension
which had supposedly been part of the lot since
1880. (See map #2) Since it is over the edge
of the bluff and is not adjacent to the


land involved in the transfer it must have
been of little concern to the surveyor at the
time.

Questions arise with a deed that shows that
Albert E. Powers sold the property to William P.
Dauchy on November 28, 1898. William was the
manager of the Charles H. Dauchy Co. in Troy,..New
York. Somewhere the step from Esther Dauchy back
to her father was lost. William Dauchy further
complicates the picture by being the purchaser again
on September 18, 1905. A deed shows that he
bought the property from Joseph and Emma Powers.
Purchasing a property that you already own is some-
thing that Mr. Dauchy became quite familiar with
because in September 1939, he transferred title
of the house from himself to himself and his wife,
Elizabeth. Such a transfer of ownership would
make Mrs. Dauchy an owner of the property and there-
fore exempt from inheritance taxes in the event of
William Dauchy's death.

No deeds were recorded between 1939 and 1947.
During this period the house left the Dauchy/Powers
family and became the property of Helen R. Schafer
of Newport Rhode,Island. On May 20, 1947 Helen
Schafer sold the house to Walter and Jean Beinecke
of Trenton,New Jersey.

In 1956 the decision was made to finally put an
end to the complex description of the property and
the land was re-surveyed and is now referred to
simply as "Lot 2". (See map #3) At this point the
title was also cleared through the Massachusets Land
Court in Boston. This new Certificate of Title
#3919 is filed in the Register of Deeds in Nantucket.


Since 1960 the property has been owned by the
former Mrs. Beinecke who lives there with her
husband, George Dickinson.


Compiled by Claire Surovell 5











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Y..r LCE S-3. 41M .5-91574S


SUBDIVISION PLAN OF LAND IN NANTUCKET
Josiah S. Barrett, Engineer
July 20, 1956


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2 August 1976


Dear Mrs. Dickinson,

T._nk you for your note of July 28th. I enjoy finding out about old
houses.

I had meant to vrite to you before this. Last week I met irs. Helen
Powers, who lives n-ar you (4 32ech Avenue) and who told me that Albert
:benezer Powers moved an old house from thu south eind of :.antucket to
your lot for I'irs. Charles iauchy. Mrs. Powers ic in h-r -i. Lties, and
in the telephone book is listed a. iMrs. Albert -, and I believe the ir.
Powers she referred to was her 1 .te husband's father. irs. Powers,
under her maiden name (which I forget) is T-L authority on early American
glass.

The inf formation about the house being moved is puzzling, because the 1881
J. J. Stoner view shows a house th. t resembles yours there, the deeea. show
that Gibbs had a house on the lot before 1879, and A;ther A. Dauchy did
net acquire the property until 1889, with "buildings thereon." Inasmuch
ac there are two p.rts to your house, one must be before 1879 and the
other after 1889. If I find out anything more about the matter I'll let
you know.
Dest wishes,




The ex-Dauchy house now owned by Mrs. Dickinson is not in it. The house to the
right is the one known for many many years as Miss Briggs' and, I believe, is
now owned by a Mr. Paget. When it was built on the corner of Lincoln Avenue and the
Cobblestone Road (Beach Avenue!) I do not know. The middle house, now owned by the
Houghtons, was moved from south of town---or there abouts--to its present location
by Alfred E. Powers (Al's grandfather) some time in the 1870s (I think) as a summer
house for his family to escape the heat and humidity of Lansingburgh, N. Y. and more,
so his wife Lucy could be near her b-other and his family during vacations. Her
brother, Joseph Allen, a Unitarian minister and on the staff of Harvard Divinity--
came to Nantucket first in the late 1860s. In the early 1870s he bought the old
house and moved it from the south part of town or old south road up to the Cliff.
At the time there were no houses between it and the old Sea Cliff Inn. Later he
added the hip-roofed (?) excrescences (a the left) using the first floor room as
a study. When Marion Morgan bought the property from Al's mother she had the
addition detached and made into a cottage.
About t e same time A. E. P. I moved the house to the cliff for his wife he SSX
moved another for his daughter Esther Dauchy. That is the one Mrs. Dickinson now
owns. n


















































10








Four acres on the b
Isaac Gardner to
Hasadiah Coffin

Hasadiah Coffin to
Charles B. L'Hommdi

Charles B. L'Hommdi
Shubach Clark

Shubach Clark to
Alfred F. Gardner

Alfred F. Gardner t
George Dow

George Dow to
Samuel Dow

Samuel Dow to
Charles C. Mooers


luff

Book 34, p.314


er Book 47, p.9

er to
Book 47, p.493


Book 54, p.425

0o
Book 54, p.. 443


Book 59, p.64


Book 61, p.427


DEED REFERENCE


Jane W. Yardley to
Esther Dauchy Book 73, p. 321-322 Albert Ebenezer Powers to
William P. Dauchy Book 81, p.267-269


Joseph A. Powers to
William Dauchy


Book 86, p476-478


William Dauchy to
William Dauchy and Elizabeth Dauchy
Book 109, p116

Helen R. Schafer to
Walter Beinecke Jr. and Jean Beinecke
Book 111, p.406


Lot 3
Charles C. Mooers to
James Gibbs Book 63, p.59-60

James Gibbs to
Jane W. Yardley Book 65, p.332


Lot 11
Charles C. Mooers to
Jane W. Yardley Book 65, p.551


Front extension
Charles C. Mooers to
Jane W. Yardley Book 66, p.392


Charles Dahlgren to
Esther Dauchy Book 73, p. 412-413









BIBLIOGRAPHY


Assessor's Book. Town of Nantucket, Massachusetts. 1986.

Grantor-Grantee Indexes. Nantucket County Records.

Land Court Records. Volume 22: Certificate No. 3919. Nantucket County.

Nantucket County Records. Books 34, 47, 54, 59, 61, 63, 73, 81, 86, 109, 111.

Clay Lancaster to Jean Dickinson. Letter: 2 August 1976. (Private collection of Mrs.
Dickinson).

Clay Lancaster to Jean Dickinson. Letter: 9 August 1976. (Private collection of Mrs.
Dickinson).

Deed Abstract and Assorted Papers. (Private collection of Mrs. Dickinson).

McCalley, John W.. Nantucket: Yesterday and Today. Dover Publishers, Inc.: New York,
1981.

Sevrens, William. Interview. July 1986.










MAP REFERENCES


Map No. 1: Book 62, Page 80, Nantucket County Records: Nantucket MA.

Map No. 2: Book 43, Page 42, Nantucket County Records: Nantucket MA.

Map No. 3: Land Court Records, Volume 22: Plan 25673B Filed with Certificate No. 3919:
Nantucket MA.

Site Map (Drawings: Page 1): Taken from Sheet No. 29, Schofield Brothers Inc., Nantucket MA.
































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ERS DICNIKSN


HO UiS


THE POWER--PCKNW0N M4u:E WA( A/EMBLEP
FROM TWO SMALLER HOUStc IN t74 THE SOUTHWECT GEC-
TION PFEDATc 1'72. THE NOrTHIEAiT rFOTION FAClJ6 THE
fLUFf WA5 MOVED TO THE NITE IN 1674 LATK. ADPITIOI
INOLUPt A TWO- STOKY WIPENINWi OF THE KEAK FORTI7N,
ENCLOSED rlRCH, LAUNPFT AND dAKAAt THE HOIUtl WA?
O6UfIEP Bt THE DAUCHY / FOWeVt rAMILIt- FtM I 14 TO
\)1. JEAN PI6KINON IS THfE CUrfJT IWNE...
THIA PROJECT OF THE FKESKVATION INiTITUIT NANTU6KET
WAi PFUEArU PiRINA THE rUMMEK O l I'6 IN NANTUCKET,
MAAACHUVETT UNDEt. THE INFECTION OF F PLAIK KEEVE
FAIA AND KONALP W HAA'!F,AlA BY STUDENTS: P'AULA
ALLEN ( SAVANNAH COLLEGE OF ART AND DFiI6O), 6YNTHIA
6ATE HAM (SUNY BUFFALO), JOHN K HIrENAUI(H ( UNI-
VEKSITY OF FLOMKDA) AND CLAIRKF ;UKOVELL ( EASTtEN
MICHIHAN UNIVERSITY).


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The house at 5 Grant Avenue was originally two smaller houses, one of which was there prior to
1872 and one which was moved up from the south side of town by 1874. The 1881 J.J. Stoner map
shows the houses) as being connected and would have been drawn prior to 1881 to complete the
drawing. The northern portion of the house (closer to the cliff) was one and one-half story,
two rooms deep, with a simple gable roof. The other house, also one and one-half story, simple
gable, was added to the back of the first and the hipped roof was formed by the juncture of the
two homes. The front facade (which originally faced Bank Strret) had five bays, the door being
second from the left. Three dormers came off the front of the existing gable roof and a porch
covered the entire first floor front facade.2





25










From the photos taken in 1880 and 1884 a change
was made to the Bank Street facade. A gable was
added to the front, and a bay window extended up
to the top of the second-story roof peak,
replacing the three windows to the right of the
front door and the second-story dormers. Both
photos also show that a one-story shed roofed
addition was built to the west side of the back
half of the house. A striped pattern was rsed
on all the roofs to unify the entire house.
(By superimposing the present floor plans,
the current hall lines were formally the
exterior wall lines.)









Between 1884 and 1947 (when the Beineckes purchased
the house), the front porch was extended out,
rapping around either side of the house. This
can be seen in the 1905 photograph.5 When the
house was taken over by the new owners the back
half of the house had a full second floor, two
bedrooms and a bath had b en built above the first
floor shed roof addition. By going into the
attic to look at the roof framing it was found
that a new roof system was placed over the entire
back half of the house. This made it difficult
to see where the addition on the second floor
was built. Floor boards and wall thickness
are the only clues of a change from within the
house.



























The Beinecke's worked on the house soon after it was purchased. The right side of the front
porch was enclosed and french doors were built to open the front parlor to this new room.
The floor was extremely uneven, especially in the kitchen, so the whole house was re-leveled
and the foundation was restored by using new concrete block piers. A back laundry was added
as a connection between the house and a new garage. This garage was destroyed in the hurricane
of 1966 and had to be completely rebuilt.










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Interpretation by Cynthia Caterham





























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1881 J.J. Stoner Map




Photogragh taken in 1880,
owned by Mrs. Dickinson.
























Photogragh taken in 1884,
owned by Mrs. Dickinson.







Photogragh taken in 1905,
owned by Mrs. Dickinson.


29







I-1 Two houses brought together to form original
house at 5 Grant Ave.
1-2 Thickness of wall shows where connection of
two houses occurred.
1-3 Fireplace in dining room is only a facade,
possibly used when the house was in town but
when it was moved no chimney came with it.
1-4 A gable front and a new bay window were
added between 1874 and 1880.
1-5 Hipped roof in front bedroom shows where
addition was built, back bedroom has no hip.
1-6 Roof slope shows in pantry where the one-
story shed roof once existed.
1-7 Porch was extended around ends of house.
1-8 Second floor was added on top of first floor
shed roof addition.
1-9 Built-in shelving from one bedroom overlaps the
other bedroom where the two roof slopes meet.

I-10 From the attic the existing back gable plane is
visible beneath the new rear roof structure.
I-11 The summer beam in the kitchen indicates the
connection of the original house and the addition.
1-12 Back laundryroom and garage were added in the
late 1940's.
1-13 Enclosed front porch and new french doors.


/


/


30








1-14 Wall markings from where an enclosed staircase
might have been.

1-15 A door stop is fixed to the wall where no door
has use. This would have been used as an
entrance door to the attic when the staircase
was enclosed.

1-16 A door was removed between the front bath
and the next bedroom.

1-17 A modern kitchen was installed in the late 1960's.


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.----MEMO









FOOTNOTES


1. Letter written from Clay Lancaster to Mrs. Dickinson, 2 August 1976.

2. 1881 J.J. Stoner Map.

3. Photograph taken in 1880, owned by Mrs. Dickinson.

4. Photograph taken in 1884, owned by Mrs. Dickinson.

5. Photograph taken in 1905, owned by Mrs. Dickinson.

6. Interview with Mrs. Dickinson, present owner.

7. Interview with Mrs. Dickinson, present owner.











































































































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The Dickinson house is very well maintained. This report is

to serve as a reference guide to point out existing maintenance problems.

Refer to the maintenance and interpretation drawings to locate the problem.

Photos which are included are provided on the appropriate page to match the

text.


Reported by Paula Allen






North East Elevation


Ml. Water infiltration from the porch roof is
apparent on the interior of the building.
Flashing should be placed on the ridge.




M2. The shallow valley on the roof should be
flashed.



M3. Water is draining near the foundation
and down the side of the window causing
the need for frequent painting. To correct
this problem an underground storm drainage
system should be installed to the bluff.


M4. The rotting lattice board under the porch
should be replaced. The rot is due to
moisture.


M5. The cement asbestos board under the
windows traps moisture underneath the
house and adds humidity to the interior.
Screened openings 8Ft. on center would
alleviate the problem and allow a
natural flow of air. Refer to photo Ml.


35






M6. Ivy has been allowed to attach itself to
the house on the wooden porch. To prevent
damage restrict the vines to lattice.



North West Elevation


M7. Water is draining near the foundation.
There should be an underground storm
drainage to the bluff for proper
elimination.


M8. Water is the problem. It
near the foundation. The
a splash block of plastic
grade should be raised on
house.


is draining
drain should
or concrete.
this side of


M9. The gutter corner piece is missing. There
is no end to the drain therefore water spills
out to the foundation. The drain should have
a positive slope.


36


have
The
the







M1O The gutter is too small for water runoff from the
roof. Install larger gutter.


M11. The rotting of the basement crawl access is
due to ground water and insect infestation.
Replace the wood.

M12. Peeling paint on the brick is due to
moisture from the drain. Create a splash
block or underground drainage system.


37







M13. The unfinished downspout should be directed
away from the foundation with a splash block
or underground drainage system.

South East Elevation


M14. The Southeast elevation has few maintanence
problems except for the drains that allow water
to drain to the foundation.


South West Elevation

M15. The drain on the garage should be sloped
away from the house so that water does not
saturate the foundation.

General Maintanence

M16. Shingles should be replaced to avoid leakage.

M17. The attic is dry and well ventilated.


38